It's NOT sinking in!!!

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by teachingforlife, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. teachingforlife

    teachingforlife Rookie

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    Jan 23, 2007

    I direct a preschool and child care center, and have been struggling for the past few months with a couple of my employees. They are both very strict, and often too loud with the children. It is common for me to hear yelling across the room to the children to stop something rather than going up to the child and reminding them of an appropriate behavior. I have also seen children being excluded from activities (such as playing with a certain set of toys) because of "behavior problems". Note the quotation marks, because to me the behavior problems are nothing but age appropriate actions, such as a three year old dumping a bin of toys out. The other one has had problems with a certain child and has made comments that she does NOT want that child to move up into her class when it is time. Meanwhile, these issues have been addressed through evaluations, conferences with the employees, and through memos. The owner of our facility wants to know everything that is going on, and often prevents me from disciplining employees the way that I feel that it should be done. Were it completely my choice to make, these two employees would no longer be working for me. I can make the decision, but the owner goes over my head and reverses my decisions or says that I am being too picky. I am the one who is present at the center 40+ hours per week though. There have been several times where I have thought that I would not bring my child here if I had a child (none yet). I have even gone so far as to tell the owner that and my reasons. I do not feel that appropriate discipline is being used. The children are humiliated, degraded, etc. for making a mistake, or doing something that is normal for a child to do. HELP!!!

    Any suggestions?
     
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  3. tm91784

    tm91784 Comrade

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    Jan 23, 2007

    I'm so sorry that you have to go through all this. The only solution I can think of is to report this to your state licensing agent. I know that in my state they have regulations about discipline in child care/preschool. Does the owner have any training/experience in early childhood education? If not, could you provide articles or books to enlighten him/her?
     
  4. teachingforlife

    teachingforlife Rookie

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    Jan 24, 2007

    Thank you for your input. The owner of my center has no college whatsoever, but does attend several training classes a year. I am finding that even when I give her the information that I have or look up new information, she still doesn't back me up. I think her problem is that she is very non-confrontational, so she would rather avoid issues. Obviously, that is not effective for change! An example, just so you can see what I am talking about, happened just a week and a half ago. One of my teachers brought a special snack in for the preschool class, because it was a child's birthday. They were acting up a little (again, normal behavior), and the teacher kept threatening that no one would get the special snack. The teacher then proceeded to eat the snack right in front of the children and didn't give them any because they were not acting right. She then took the rest of the snack to another classroom and gave it to them, while making her preschoolers watch the other children eat it. Threatening children with food is not ok in my eyes, but the owner, when she addressed the situation, she just asked her view of what happened, didn't give any other suggestions, and nothing was solved really. Frustrating! I have also seen teachers grab a child by the shirt to in my eyes, drag them to an area to clean up. My job is wearing on me, and I don't know how much longer I will be able to work there, because I feel as though the center doesn't reflect my values. Ideas?
     
  5. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Jan 24, 2007

    Do you have hiring/firing advantages? If so, I would be writing them up and let them know first a verbal warning, then a written, then a termination if the problems are not solved. Perhaps you should sit down with the owner to write up a policy like this so it is cut and dry and there is no "ho-humming" around the situations. A few of the punishments I can see...like the not letting kids play with the toys after dumping them. Children need to learn how to respect the toys. It's hard sometimes to look past different discipline techniques, but each teacher has their own method and sometimes we just have to respect that. But the other examples you have were not healthy situations or choices. ESPECIALLY the yelling and dragging kids by their shirts! Some of it seems borderline abusive and degrading. Have you seen all this or are other employees coming to you?

    As far as the teacher who has problems with a certain child...is that child a serious behavior issue? If so, maybe something should be done about those issues if they are being ignored. I think all teachers can say we've had one that we dread coming into our classroom due to issues. It's reality. As a former director and current owner of a childcare, I work with the teachers in getting the behaviors solved because it's not fair to the teachers to put up with it. Not saying that is the case, but it's important to hear the teacher's side.

    Just remember...when you say "I am at the center 40 plus hours a week and not the owner", the teachers are also the ones in the classroom all week with those kids, you are not. I'm not trying to sound harsh, but think about what you said and put those words into how the teachers feel as well. I have had to remind myself of this in past situations. KWIM?

    If these two teachers are truly as bad as you say, perhaps making a phone call to your licensor to make an assessment would be appropriate. You can tell him/her the situation and invite the licensor to come out and observe, preferably without the teachers knowing. Is there any one-way glass he/she could view from? That would be ideal.

    I hope you can get the situations straightened out. I know how stressful these situations can be. I have fired a few teachers in the past. It's not easy, or pretty. Some people just shouldn't be in the classroom and do not have any skills with children. It's too bad that those people don't see what others see sometimes. Good luck.
     
  6. teachingforlife

    teachingforlife Rookie

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    Jan 25, 2007

    JenPooh, I do have hiring and firing advantages...however, the owner often goes over my head to change my decision. During the course of deciding to fire someone, of course I go through a series of observations, document my findings and discuss problems with the employee. When changes are not made after several attempts to correct, I get more serious about it. The owner is very non-confrontational and would rather not create waves. The thing with dumping the toys that concerns me is that children who might make a mess are restricted from toys. My concern is that it is age appropriate for them to dump toys, and they won't learn to clean up if they are never allowed to make a mess. I gave you one example of what happens everyday (I have two pages of documentation!!). The other forms of punishment such as yelling, degrading, and pulling by the shirt I have both seen and documented, and others have come to me regarding it.

    The teacher who has problems with a certain child has very high expectations of the children, often way too high. She expects her children in her class to behave perfectly, and doesn't give them room for error. She is clear that she doesn't like this child. The child has some behavior problems but also comes from a very tough background. While I know that it is natural to sometimes dread a child moving into your class (there were times that I did when I was still teaching), I feel that it is unacceptable for a teacher, who should be a professional, to allow the child and the other children to see and hear negative comments and behavior regarding the child.

    The comment that I made regarding the owner not being present very often, it was only to punctuate that she doesn't see the behavior. If she doesn't see it for herself, she doesn't do anything about it or back up my decisions. It was in no means a put down (I respect her greatly), rather just a way to illustrate how things are going at my center. As far as putting those words into the teachers situations, I can certainly understand that. Actually, I am in the classroom all of the time (literally, my office is at one end of a classroom due to spacial issues, and it happens to be in the room with the child who has some behavior problems, so I see first hand what is going on.) While I understand feeling stressed/frustrated with a particular child, I do not think it is ok to let your dislike of a child be known, especially to the child. Since my desk is in the classroom, the children come to me with problems, wanting to play, etc. I don't mind this, but i do mind that they are coming to me because their teacher sits at her desk all day. They simply aren't being supervised by their teacher.

    Thanks for your wishes of luck though. I handed out the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct to all of my employees about three weeks ago, and met with each one individually regarding the responsibilities to children, including "Above all, we shall not harm" this includes emotionally damagind, degrading and humiliating children...only it didn't sink in. It worked for about three days. I, too, have fired people in the past, when it is evident that they aren't equipped to work in the classroom. Right now though, my biggest challenge is that I need the owner to back me up. As the owner of a center, what are your thoughts on ways to get her (my owner) to help me out?
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jan 25, 2007

    Consider holding a positive behavior management training seminar. Use specific concrete examples that you commonly see and strategies to help with that. (Don't use specific scenarios, just common situations). Do role plays, etc. Sometimes just telling someone or giving them written material doesn't click. Give them the tools in a different way. Then you've covered another base.
     
  8. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jan 25, 2007

    Another idea is give them an easy way to contact you when they feel frustrated with a child's behavior. Then letting you deal with it will give the kid a different approach and give the teacher a break from the possibly escalating situation.
     
  9. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Jan 25, 2007

    To be honest, if someone else directed my center, I would never even think to treat you like that. It's probably a good thing she doesn't direct her own center if she doesn't like confrontation like that, because as a director, it is crucial you confront the issues at hand. I don't know if she has trust issues or whatnot, but when an owner doesn't back up a director, it makes me ask the question "why is she not directing it herself then?" if she's not going to let you follow through with your decisions. Is she afraid of paying unemployment??? Sadly, I have worked for one like that who never wanted to fire anyone because of paying unemployment.

    If you have all that documentation, have you shown that to her? I'm guessing you have based on your posts. If I were you, I would probably sit down with her and lay it all out. Tell her how you feel and tell her that if something more drastic isn't done then you (being manadated by the state), need to call in your licensor to observe the two girls. Maybe if she realizes how serious it is, she will wake up a bit.

    I have had horrible employees in the past that remind me of this situation. Teachers who don't nec. cross the line, but are walking on thin ice so badly that they just should not be in a classroom. I don't know why people like that get into teaching, I truly don't. Good luck with your situation. If she still doesn't listen to you, I'm not sure if I could keep working in a stressful environment like that where I have no back-up from my administration.

     
  10. bettyb

    bettyb Companion

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    Jan 25, 2007

    I am surprised that none of the parents have complained. Are any of them aware of the situation? They might be able to make the owner think differently about these employees. I agree with you that they should not be working with children.
     
  11. teachingforlife

    teachingforlife Rookie

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    Jan 25, 2007

    DeafinlySmart, thanks for the ideas...I often step in to relieve my teachers if they are having a rough day or if the situation is too frustrating. I will definitely check into doing a role play training regarding common behavior problems.

    JenPooh, I really don't know if there are trust issues...I have worked for this company for six years, have a great track record and hear positive feedback as far as job performance from the owner. To be completely honest, I think she wants to direct her own center, only she is not qualified as defined by licensing. I know that she doesn't want to pay unemployment, as that has been said to me clearly before. I hate to think that dollar signs determine our course of action. I have, as you suspected, shown my documentation to the owner. I agree that the next step is contacting licensing. In your opinion, should I warn my boss, or just do it? I am a little worried of repercussions if I call licensing to report it. Sad isn't it? I am most definitely at the point where I cannot work where the environment is so stressful. Then again, I think that if the next person in my position doesn't have a back bone, where will the children be? The word stress has taken on a new meaning for me here lately!

    There have been several parent complaints recently. The owner finally started to see the problem after the parents complained about tone of voice problems and their child coming home saying that her teacher grabbed her shirt. My ethics definitely feel compromised in my current position. :(
     
  12. teachingforlife

    teachingforlife Rookie

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    Jan 25, 2007

    By the way, JenPooh, thanks for your input...I think these ladies are not only treading on thin ice, but the ice is starting to crack...I am honestly scared that something will happen that shouldn't. Thanks for the good luck wishes though.
     
  13. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Jan 25, 2007

    You could always talk to your licensor and explain the situation. When she/he comes to observe ask her to make it look like a surprise visit. If you have a good reputation with the licensors they will more than likely work with you on the situation if they know you want what is best for the center. If your owner isn't there much, perhaps you can pick a day when she's not around so you can keep your confidentiality with your licensor until further action needs to take place.
     
  14. teachingforlife

    teachingforlife Rookie

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    Jan 26, 2007

    I have a great relationship with our licensing consultant, and I think that she would understand the situation. The ownere is literally only at the center 4-8 hours per week. Great suggestions, thanks!
     

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