Backing up for a minute, GG's problems have been with talking during class. Her teacher and I discussed this during our conference earlier in the month. About a week after the conference I received an email saying that GG's talking was out of control. If it didn't stop, a discipline report would have to be written. Now I don't know exactly what that is, but I assume it's not good. I emailed the teacher back explaining that I would talk to GG and there would be consequences for her actions. I made sure to mention that there would be consequences because this teacher told another parent that kids these days do not have consequences for their poor behavior.
Anyway, in this email I also asked a question. I asked if she (the teacher) had any idea as to why GG was talking so much. Is she looking for attention? Or, on some level, does she realize that she can goof off and still get her work done on time and it is all correct? I know GG is a smart kid. She pulls out her homework and blows right through it. And its all correct 99.9% of the time. I was worried she was not being challenged enough. The reply I got was "Thank you." I thought maybe I had offended the teacher by criticizing her teaching abilities. That was not my intention. Or at least it wasn't until today.
I was talking to another parent and the subject of Accelerated Reading came up. This is where kids read books and take quizzes on them. Every student who participates gets a prize, but the kids with the most points get a little something extra. GG loves to read and I am a huge supporter of this program. The other parent had asked the teacher about these quizzes and why there doesn't seem to be a push for the kids to take them - especially the kids, like hers and mine, who also do some enrichment work for reading. The teacher's response - the class is a bunch of underachievers. Excuse me?!? If a teacher thinks that her students are not meeting their potential, isn't it his or her job to motivate the kids to do better? I went to school for elementary education, but maybe I was taught the wrong information.
I also have this theory as to why all the kids talk too much. Yes, it's a problem with the whole class. Their teacher is not a warm person at all. I get the impression that there is a huge lack in positive reinforcement in the classroom. For example, if the teacher tells Johnny that he is doing is really good job at writing today. And she says something similar on another occasion, then Johnny will want to continue to write well so he will get that praise from the teacher in the future. If these kids hear nothing but sit down, don't talk, do your work all day, then they will continue to do what they do. It may not be positive attention, but it is attention nonetheless.
I understand that a teacher cannot devote all of their time to one student. That task is virtually impossible, even with the small class sizes that we have here. But to group them all together as a bunch of dumb kids? That's just wrong!
What really bothers me now that I see the whole picture is that there's really nothing that can be done. It's April. Even if all the parents grouped together to try and change how things were done, it's late in the school year. Another thing to consider is that this teacher is retiring. Yes it has been confirmed and yes I am excited about this. Here's how I know...
A few parents were in the hall chit-chatting while waiting on the bus for a field trip last week. GG's teacher and the other 2nd grade teacher came out in the hall with the parents. The other teacher said the bus was late for a previous field trip. She began to explain what had happened for the previous trip and GG's teacher turned around and walked away. Mid-sentence!!! The parents were floored that she just walked away. The other teacher explained that she had 2 months to go so she just doesn't care. This teacher is obviously a problem when her peers are catching on to what she does. Or doesn't do.
For now, I guess I will continue to make sure GG does well in school and remind her to not talk so much. And be glad that Little Dude won't have to deal with her in a few years.
Until next time....