Appropriate Kindergarten Discipline

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Kteacher29, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. Kteacher29

    Kteacher29 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 8, 2009

    Hello All!

    I have a question. Here's a little background. A friend of mine has a child in Kindergarten and she has been very upset all year. She does not deny that even at 5 years old her son is quite chatty and can be the class clown so to speak. He has a late birthday and is a little immature. But here is the dilemma. She feels as though the teacher has been picking on her son all year. (On a side note, I know this teacher and have no doubt that this is true. She is not the type of person that should be working with young students.) If there are two children involved in an incident her son is always the one punished instead of the other child. This teacher has her favorites and apparently this boy isn't one of them.

    Now to the incident at hand... Her son had been coming home for nearly a month saying that his desk was by itself facing the corner. (At this point it was futile because the child no longer cared at that point.) What really irritated my friend was that when she came in to chaperone on class trip day, the desk was moved back. She felt as though it was sneaky and underhanded on the part of the teacher. Almost as if she didn't want the parent to know that the child had been sitting in the corner for a month.

    Now her husband would like to bring this to the principal's attention. She asked me if there were any laws or discipline codes that would have notes on seclusion in a corner. I really don't know, but I figured this might be the best place to ask. He just wants an example to take with him stating why this is wrong. I have seen (although never done) a single desk moved by itself away from groups if the child has a behavior problem, but never in a corner facing a wall.

    Anyone have any knowledge of this being an accepted practice for a behavior issue? And if so how long can it go on? Any advice or links would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2.  
  3. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 8, 2009

    Wow - I'm sorry the child (and parents) are having to go through this. Although I am not aware of any laws and guidelines for discipline vary from school to school but my first thought is...how is the child learning to properly interact with the children? I had some experience with a child who was having similar issues (acting out in his case more to get attention) and the teacher isolated him from the others. Well, guess what, he got less attention and acted out more. When he came to my class we talked a lot about what he could have done instead and more redirected the behavior. Guess what, it stopped. And how is he getting the benefit of the lessons sitting facing the wall all day?

    If the consequence is supposed to be a "timeout" then it's one minute per age they are - so in his case 5 minutes. If he was displaying some sort of aggressive behavior or hurting others, then I could see being more isolated, but that's not the case here. Anyway, I do hope your friend does take the issue to the principal and gets some resolution to this issue.
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    17,362
    Likes Received:
    46

    Jun 8, 2009

    I would caution going to the principal before talking to the teacher. Talk to her first, and discuss what your friend's son has said and see what the teacher says about it. If your friend is still not convinced, then go to the principal.

    On the other hand, I have separated students from the group before, but for no longer than a day. They choose when they move back (as long as they can work with the rules) and if they do not move back in the same day, then I move them back after the students leave.
     
  5. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    466

    Jun 8, 2009

    I had a mom of one of my former preschoolers have this same problem with her little boy a couple of years ago. She said she never did come into the room and find his desk in the corner because the teacher would get buzzed when she was on her way down to the room in order to give the teacher time to move his desk back. She did get some evidence when she saw marks on the rug where his desk had recently been moved.

    I hate that for the child and parents.
     
  6. Kteacher06

    Kteacher06 Companion

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 9, 2009

    I have moved students to work separately if they are unable to get work done, are fooling around, not using materials appropriately, etc. However, I usually move them back after the activity and we do discuss the behavior and behavior alternatives.

    Sounds like this child may need to be put on a behavior plan. I think the mom or dad should address the teacher directly. If a parent comes to our principal about a teacher complaint, the first thing she says is, "did you discuss this with the teacher, first?"
     
  7. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    1,909
    Likes Received:
    29

    Jun 9, 2009

    Even if I would feel the need to isolate a child for a while, it would never be facing the wall. When my children are in timeout, they are always facing the front of the room. The child will never learn facing a different direction.
     
  8. love_reading

    love_reading Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    420
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 9, 2009

    This past year I had a student that I had to move by himself, except during work stations and cooperative learning activities. He absolutely could not stay focused on his work and leave other children alone during times that it was important for him to do so--independent practice during math, etc. This was used as a sort of intervention though, not as a "punishment". I have used isolation as punishment, but only for a short amount of time.
     
  9. KinderMissN

    KinderMissN Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 9, 2009

    I had a student that needed individual space, and the tables I had in my room just did not allow for it. I put his desk in a more quiet space to complete work only. He ate breakfast and did social activities at a table. He worked quite well for a few weeks at the desk, then we talked about if he was ready to go do work at a table again. He was ready to share space again, and it worked until the end of the year. I didn't use this isolation as a punishment, it was how this child could work best and complete his work. My "Isolation" is time out, which is limited to 5-7 minutes.
     
  10. tiffharmon2001

    tiffharmon2001 Comrade

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    257
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 9, 2009

    I really don't understand why parents always feel the need to go to the principal without talking to the teacher first. So many times, especially with small children, there is just a misunderstanding or miscommunication. It could be that the teacher moves his desk back each day and the child ends up having to be moved again. Perhaps the teacher wasn't trying to hide the desk being moved from the parent. If it was a field trip day, there were probably other parents coming also. Maybe the teacher didn't want the other parents to see this child's desk in the corner. When I have a child who is in time out or otherwise being disciplined, I do not do it in front of parents. It's not their business who's child is "in trouble" in my classroom.
    Also, where is the child's responsibility for his behavior?

    "If there are two children involved in an incident her son is always the one punished instead of the other child. This teacher has her favorites and apparently this boy isn't one of them"

    Could this be because when there are two children involved in an incident, he is ALWAYS one of the two? Some children are leaders who tend to get other children to follow them into doing the wrong thing. If we are honest, all of us who teach have our favorites and those who we pray will be absent for just one day...If this teacher is spending all of her time disciplining this one child, he probably is not on her list of favorites. I don't think any teacher has the time to "pick on" any child. They have better things to do.

    It sounds more like this child is "picking on" the teacher and the parents are taking the responsibility off the child for his behavior and putting it on the teacher who is having to deal with it while trying to teach the rest of the class.
     
  11. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    66

    Jun 9, 2009

    I would question how the parents know the other child is never punished. I personally don't talk about discipline issues with parents outside of their own children.
     
  12. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    233

    Jun 9, 2009

    Because parents do not trust the teacher. You may think this horrible, but parents rarely have much input into who teaches their child. Parents are essentially putting their children into the care of a stranger (admittedly, a stranger who's gone though background checks and whose livelihood depends on not doing anything illegal, but a stranger nonetheless). What this parent knows is that her child has been punished for a month and the only reason she knows is because her child told her.

    Also, if you think lack of trust is such a bad thing, consider that you distrust this parent already, when the only evidence you have is a posting on a website by a third party. I don't entirely blame you; it's possible that it's the way you describe. But you have nothing at stake here, while the parent has the most important thing in their entire life at stake. I have coworkers who I'm friendly with who I wouldn't trust with my children, but I'm asked to trust them with a teacher on a daily basis.

    As far as mischaracterizations, while it often occurs any justification given by a teacher results in something of a dilemna -- does the parent trust the teacher's spin on events, or the child's? It's not easily resolvable for many of the issues that come up.

    I hadn't realized -- that's another problem with punishment generally. So, when parents are there do the children have free license, or do you discipline them later? I think both have issues, unfortunately, and it certainly puts you in a tight spot.

    I disagree. They have time to fit that in, especially since it doesn't exclude other legitimate tasks. There is very little to stop a teacher from picking on a child, which is why some parents have resorted to secreting voice recorders in their children's backpacks. Some of these, in fact, have turned up some pretty egregious cases of bullying. I don't think there's any reason to be sure that these are picking up all the cases, which means a lot of cases could be flying under the radar.

    What does all this mean? At the root level, it means that teachers who want to have smooth relations with parents have to reach out to engender trust. A lot of communication helps, and if teachers can show they have a deep understanding and appreciation for a child's good points, parents will have greater faith in the teacher's objectivity (though realistically, no parent really wants an objective teacher either -- they want a teacher who's actively rooting for their child, even when they have to use discipline on occasion). It is much, much easier to create trust before any issues have arisen. It is also easier if the teacher shows personal reliability in almost any way. Broadcast out that you're going to update your website once a week on Sunday evening between 8 and 10 pm, and if you stick to it it will help. Start a daily behavior sheet that you fill out once a day and ask the parent to sign, and if you do it religiously it will help (conversely, if you start it and then stop, and then complain about behaviors the sheet was set up to control, you lose a lot of credibility).
     
  13. tiffharmon2001

    tiffharmon2001 Comrade

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    257
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 9, 2009

    Amen!!!
     
  14. tiffharmon2001

    tiffharmon2001 Comrade

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    257
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 9, 2009

    I have children of my own also, so I do understand about having to trust the teacher. My children have had some AWESOME teachers and we've had some not so great ones. As a parent, it is my responsibility to build that relationship:hugs: with my child's teacher-not just the teacher's job. My schools have always had "meet your teacher" night, curriculum night, teacher conferences, book fairs, etc and I make sure to attend so that I can see the teacher face to face. I want to know who's teaching my kids, so I make sure that I put forth the effort to establish a relationship with the teacher.

    And why, then, are principals trusted so much more than teachers? I've had more than one principal that had no clue what was even going on in the building. :confused:

    Here's another problem. Why did these parents allow this to continue for a month? I have had the unpleasant experience of having to go and talk to my child's teacher about some issues that she was allowing in her classroom with my daughter. I felt that she was being unclear in her expectations and that my daughter was being penalized unfairly for not understanding. I most certainly didn't wait an entire month before addressing the issue. Again, it is the PARENT'S responsibility to talk to the teacher if they feel there is a problem.

    They most certainly do not have free license when parents are there. However, if there was a behavior problem that was occurring when a parent was present, I would most likely redirect the child at that moment and then address the issue further when the parent had gone.

    I have heard some of these recordings and have been shocked by some things I have heard. I have also noticed that the part of the recordings that get played are the parts that the parents WANT to get played that make it out to sound like their child is standing there innocently with their halo shining while the teacher has a tantrum. We've all said things to children that we wish we hadn't and that could be misunderstood when taken out of context. I'm not saying that there aren't bad teachers out there. There are. I'm just saying that the parents need to address the issue with the teacher FIRST then continue to the principal if the matter isn't resolved, rather than immediately going to the principal because they want to see the teacher get in trouble when they don't know the full story.

    I think this applies to parents as much as teachers. If
    then they need to show concern and interest in the child's school life before there becomes a problem.

    Sorry for such a long post, but I felt like I was being personally attacked and needed to respond.
     
  15. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    233

    Jun 9, 2009

    First, I did not intend any kind of attack, personal or otherwise. You're certainly representing a potentially valid point of view, and indeed brought up the general issue of parents often* going to the principal first in a useful way. If it helps at all, I see the ideas as butting against each other, not the people.

    I think the kinds of events you describe make it difficult to build trust in the teacher, at least from what I've seen. Meet the teacher nights have been oddly impersonal from my perspective (the teachers are told not to discuss any specific students, for example), and teacher conferences always have the icy edge of evaluation to them. I was trying to focus on things that would help a teacher to create an atmosphere where the parents would not want to go to the principal.

    I would say it's fairly rare that parents are going to the principal sheerly out of a desire to see the teacher get in trouble. Especially in kindergarten, a parent has high hopes for their child to have a wonderful experience. The only time I've done it is when the teacher was violating the law and the teacher wasn't available at the time (and I needed it addressed quickly). I suspect it's usually more an interest in effectiveness, and a lack of trust that going to the teacher would accomplish anything. If it's more efficient to go through the principal, that's what parents will do. If they can get problems regularly resolved that way, they won't even consider it a problem necessarily, and may not even hold any personal acrimony towards the teacher.


    * actually, you use "always" -- but I'm assuming you mean, "often"
     
  16. Kteacher29

    Kteacher29 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 9, 2009

    OK. Maybe more information is needed here. What I was asking for really was a copy of a code for appropriate discipline in general. Maybe something that would rule out prolonged isolation, especially facing a wall, and for a 5 year old.

    But on another note. I know this teacher and have worked with her. I have no doubt that she is picking on this child and may be doing underhanded things to avoid parent confrontation. This year alone there have been so many parent complaints that she's had three students moved out of her classroom at parent request. All this even though she was on maternity leave for almost half the year. She is the teacher (and every school has one) that you don't want your child to get. But again, this teacher is tenured and therefore, 25 or so little ones are going to get her every year.

    I understand that talking to the teacher first is the proper chain of command, and as a teacher would expect a parent to follow that. But here is a parent that is so fed up with talking to the teacher over different issues and not getting anywhere all year. She has never been to administration before. The bottom line is, she is not comfortable talking to the teacher and you're right, she doesn't trust her. She and her husband feel as though the teacher was very sneaky by moving the desk when she knew there would be parents coming in.

    I personally discipline my students the same way whether parents are present or not. I am not intimidated by parent confrontation, and I feel as though by always being consistent then my students do not feel as though they can "get away with things" just because "mom's here." Maybe I am biased, but I feel in moving the desk back, subconsciously she knows that this is not appropriate discipline and wouldn't want another parent to question it.

    I do not know the child; only the parent. It is very possible that he is a ringleader and always the other child in an incident. But this teacher has made no attempt at a behavior mod for this child. There is no positive reinforcement for doing the right thing and making smart choices. Everything in the classroom seems to focus on the negative where discipline is concerned.

    It is the end of the year and I think these parents just want to make administration aware since they have been beating a dead horse when it comes to the teacher. So again, if anyone can find appropriate school discipline codes that I could take a look at, please let me know.

    Thanks again for all of the input.
     
  17. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    17,362
    Likes Received:
    46

    Jun 9, 2009

    I don't think you'll find a code like that as each school has a different behavior system and each teacher is different in the way they handle behavior in their room. What the parents can do, is find a study on the negative impact isolation has on young children and use that as their basis. If the parents have already talked to the teacher on several occasions then I don't think they would be wrong in going to admin.
     
  18. runnerss

    runnerss Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 9, 2009

    I don't have anything to offer on this topic but I did want to say one thing. Kindergarten teachers, you are my hero!!!! I teach 5th grade during the year. During the summer I work at a summer preschool and I have K. Yall are awesome to do it all year. How are yall not completely exhausted. The kids are so sweet, but they drain you physically. I just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU for teaching them and yall do it with such enthusiasm .
     
  19. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Messages:
    2,518
    Likes Received:
    9

    Jun 11, 2009

    A month facing the wall is not appropriate for any age.

    I had a 7 year old student who had to be separated from the group pretty regularly because he just could not stop talking and traveling around the room, thereby keeping everyone else off task also. I got a roll of corrugated paper and we called it Hawaii. When he was having trouble calming down, I would ask him if it was time to go to Hawaii. I always explained that this was not punishment, but something to help him calm down and focus. He was very happy with it! I would just roll it around his desk and he had some quiet and no distractions. This worked for him, but not for other students.

    I also use the "city, country, Siberia" rule at times. In the city, everyone is close together and it is fun. If you can't handle being in the city, you get moved to the country - away from the group, sort of a time out. If you keep interrupting or messing around, then you go to Siberia - the back of the room in an area where the student can't see any other students but can see the teacher.

    I always try to give the child a second chance during the day to join the group. I think I had one child who spent 2 days in Siberia, then we talked and he was ready to join the group. A month facing a wall? Absolutely not.

    I would ask for a meeting with the Principal and the teacher, since there have been other issues. And, if I had a child's desk in Siberia and it was time for parents to come in the room, I would move the desk back to the group for the reason suggested already - it is not the business of all the parents that little Johnny is in trouble. I try to protect my kids' reputations.
     
  20. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    20

    Jun 13, 2009

    I would look at this child as maybe a challenge for this teacher. She might not know how to handle a child of his sorts. She is probably one of those teachers who everyone cringes when they hear their name, but to say a teacher intentionally "picks" on a child? I would hesitate to do that. I don't know many adults who's main focus day in and day out is to "pick" on a particular child (including those with poor classroom management skills-they are trying to survive in the face of a challenge). It seems like she needs a stronger administrator who would provide some observing, mentoring, and advising. It should be obvious to anyone that the leadership team is not helping to develop this teacher's classroom management abilities. I do understand that some teachers won't accept help, but at least when the administrator meets with the parents and the teacher they have documentation that something has been done to help the situation.

    I agree if you are looking for something to back up the said isolation a study would be way better than a code of conduct document. And a parent's best line of defense when meeting with an administrator is to be able to say, I've meet with my child's teacher and I've done all I feel possibly capable of doing that's why I'm here with you.

    Hope all the advise you've gotten in this thread has helped.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. miss-m
Total: 254 (members: 3, guests: 221, robots: 30)
test