Parent problem! Please help!

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by jaszmyn, May 26, 2006.

  1. jaszmyn

    jaszmyn Comrade

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    May 26, 2006

    I really need help with a situation that just recently occured with a parent. First let me start out by saying that this was my first year teaching and besides this incident I had a great year with the students and parents overall.

    The day before school lets out we have a kindergarten picninc instead of a formal program this year. The picnic was great after the picnic we return in the classrooms to distirbute kindergarten certificates and awards.

    The other teachers on the grade level were not doing any extra awards, just the certificates, but I went and got my kids some extra awards. For example Great reader, super helper, citizenship, math award, super friend. thats it!!!

    I had a parent approach me after finishing calling out the awards and ask why her son did not recieve one of the "extra" awards. On the last day of school, the student came in with a letter from the parent and it was very mean. In the letter she even accused me of not caring about her child all year.

    He is very smart and well behaved (sometimes). He is above average, but lacks self motivation sometimes. He did not stick out in my mind as I was writing the wards out (at the last minute). He may have been just an oversight, but honestly the other children stuck out more in mind.

    Should I respond at all or let it go, cuase the school year has ended.
     
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  3. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    May 26, 2006

    Did everyone in the class except this student receive an award? If so then I'd mail off something like a "Super Kindergartner" award with a super polite "Oh I'm so sorry it was an oversight" note (kill the meany mommy with kindness). Find something that you can be really genuine about. If not everyone got an award I'd let it go unless the mom persists. Then I'd let her know that not everyone got an award and leave it at that. This mom is probably reacting out of jealously under the ruse of being protective of her child's feelings. K graduation is a very emotional/hyped up day for kids and parents for many reasons. I personally would rather keep it an extremely equitable. I'm not sure I would recommend the extra awards again. But it's your program you need to do what you feel is important. Don't let one dumb mom ruin it for you. The end of the year is very emotional for teachers too. Focus on the fact that you had a great year and don't look back!
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2006
  4. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    May 26, 2006

    jaszmyn - I think that society in general has come to a point where they believe everyone should be treated so equally that the outstanding events have to go unrewarded. For instance, every child is given a place on the team - no tryouts. Every child gets a trophy - regardless of effort or ability.
    No wonder kids lack motivation now-a-days. They don't have to work hard in order to achieve.
    Sorry - that was a rant.
    My advice is that you let it go. This parent was just upset because her "baby" was upset. Unfortunate as it may be, not every child will win a reward every single time. They have to know that it is ok not to win every time. I try to tell my Kindergarten son that if he won every award, then no one else would be able to. He learns empathy and compassion when he understands how others might feel if they were in his shoes.
    If the parent makes a big enough deal, then yes, get the child a little token award for brightest smile or best dressed or something. It's not worth the hard feelings or problems that it might cause you!
    Best of luck, no matter what you decide.
     
  5. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    May 26, 2006

    kid at heart- I hear ya! It is too easy for kids, but in this case, I kind of feel like the kid who didn't get the birthday invitation . It's hard for a K child to understand.
    Don't let it upset you. I think you should send something home with the kid like someone else suggested. Just to end the year on a good note.

    You did what you thought was right. Don't sweat it. You are still a great teacher:)
     
  6. Mrs.Beatty

    Mrs.Beatty Rookie

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    May 26, 2006

    award backlash

    As a parent, I feel for the child who did not receive an extra award. Children are different people when they are at school than when they are at home. Perhaps the mother is responding out of frustration because her son has been upset about not being included in something. My older son is in K. On awards day they all get the certificate from the school, but then his teacher gives out awards for things like you mentioned, but EVERYONE gets something.
    As a teacher, we are told that every student has a gift for something. Perhaps you could have used this opportunity to nurture something in an "ordinary" student.
    I wouldn't respond to the parent, but don't dismiss her either. She does have a small point.
     
  7. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    May 26, 2006

    Did you have a super shoe tying award? I always have a kid tie shoes when I'm busy.
     
  8. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    May 26, 2006

    Perhaps this is why the other teachers didnt' do the extra awards? I agree that while this parent may have been upset and shouldn't have done this, I do agree that at this age it is important to recognize gifts in all the children. It has nothing to do with competition at this age, rather helping children see that they are capable and have something important to contribute to the kindergarten community. I think to give an award just to give one is ridiculous, but if you give all of them one that really captures something positive about their individual selves, that is great. I personally can't leave things hanging........I'd need to clear the air, at least on my end. Send home a note and perhaps with all of those who didn't get an award , you could send a "summer award" wishing them a great summer. You could include a "Thanks for making my first year a great one" award. (OK..................so that wasn't so great.........but you get the idea!)
    I think you would feel more at peace if you did this.............those kinds of things tend to hang onto us, and you don't deserve to worry about it. Clear it up, and let it go! :) Congrats on finishing your first year! Sounds like it was a good one for you! :love:
     
  9. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    May 26, 2006

    The "everyone getes an award" thing reminds me of the years I've helped with my church's summer camp... all the campers, 2nd-8th, get an "award" at the end of the week, and every award is totally different. The counselors get together starting about halfway through and assign awards, then spend any chance we get making them up. We did things like "The Watermelon and American Cheese Award" for a kid who was an incredibly picky eater, "Most Likely To Be a Counselor," "best Shoes," "Sweetest Smile" etc.. it gets REALLY hard to think of something that we can put a positive spin on for the kids that annoy the heck out of you, but it's something the returning campersl ook forward to all week. It's fun finding something unique and special about each kid. :)

    OK, sorry to threadjack, jsut wanted to share. ;)
     
  10. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    May 27, 2006

    She can't. The last day of school has come and gone...
    Thread starter:
     
  11. swsmith63

    swsmith63 Rookie

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    May 27, 2006

    My own opinoin is that an extra award for all the children would have been more fair. Even if a child doesn't stand out in your mind, there is the idea that a single award can help that child claim the attribute with which he is awarded. Surely, he did something over the course of the year that he could be considered "best" in. Plus, parents want to be proud of their kids, and kids don't want to look like failures to their parents...even in kindergarten. Sometimes, the award is really an award for the parent and not the child at all. Since he didn't stand out much, maybe he had the best quiet voice, or was patient, calm, or considerate. Maybe he tied his shoes really fast...in any event...finding one talent and commenting on it even if it is a small success, will help that child to build on his successes. You sound like a thoughtful, caring person. I'm sure you didn't mean to set this student apart. Perhaps you could send something by mail, or deliver it to the house.
     
  12. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    May 27, 2006

    When everybody gets an award, none of the awards really mean anything.
     
  13. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    May 27, 2006

    But an award can mean nothing too. I constantly got honor roll awards in junior high. I got bored with the "My child is an honor student at..." bumper stickers I got every quarter. I remember when my best friend was talking about grades coming up and being excited and embarrassed about the prospect of her mom sticking her first bumper sticker on her car. I didn't understand the hype. She wanted to be proud of her achievement but didn't want to be a nerd. I couldn't relate at all. Honestly I don't think kindergartners really understand that an award loses it's value when everyone gets one. Besides everyone in K gets the 'diploma' but it doesn't diminish the hype.
     
  14. swsmith63

    swsmith63 Rookie

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    May 27, 2006

    True...very. But we are talking Kindergarden here, where confidence begins. The kids all know they got an award...but it is the trait for which their award honors that is commented upon. I think, yeah, when they get older, it becomes trite. But during Kindergarden, they need confidence that only a teacher can bring them, and that is commentary on a job (however small) done well.
     
  15. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    I read that............................and yes she can. The US mail service delivers.;)
     
  16. frodolass

    frodolass Comrade

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    May 27, 2006

    That may be true for older students, but this is Kindergarten. When they completed Kindergarten, my boys both received awards based upon something special about them. They are teenagers now and still treasure the little plaque they received. Perhaps it isn't truly an "award," but "recognition" for something special about that child.
     
  17. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    That is exactly how I feel frodolass. Early childhood is obviously quite different from upper elementary/middle school/high school. It is a unique age where children are still figuring out about school. They absolutely need to feel success rather then failure. I never hand out awards in kindergarten for this very reason. My celebration focuses on what EACH child accomplished (I put together folders comparing what they did in Sept. to what they can do now......they go through folders with mom/dad and show them what they can do and how much they've learned. Each folder is individualized for the child). Their "award" if you could call it that, is sharing all they learned and how much they've grown, with the ones they love. It is not at all about what he/she did better then anyone else. There are many years ahead of them for that kind of recognition.
     
  18. jaszmyn

    jaszmyn Comrade

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    May 27, 2006

    Thank you for all your great advice. Honestly, I fee as though I need to do something to put it to rest, than to just let it go... becuase I do not want her to think that I don't care about him.

    You all are soooo right
    I should have given an "exta award " to all the students and found something special about each one of them. But as a first year teacher, that was my mistake and my oversight. As a team we purchased the kindergarten awards and the day before the picnic I was at the dollar store and saw these really cute awards for reading and math and just picked them up. I put down the first three students that popped into my head for each and ran with it!!

    I really should have planned it more---much like you said... But I will know for next year.. but I would like to make this situation right this year.

    Maybe I will send something home. Any good ideas... Should I take all the blame or should I treat it as an oversight or let the parent know about his lack of self motivation and some of the erason that the other students recieved awards.

    I will definatley lay out my criteria better for next year. But I really don't want to dismiss it. Becuase I do love and care about the student.

    And no every child did not recieve an award. But every child got a kindergarten diploma.

    Thank you all sooooo much for your advice.
     
  19. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    May 27, 2006

    I think you should treat it as an oversight. Briefly explain it in a note, and send an award home to the child. Attach a little lollipop or eraser as an extra treat for the kid!!
     
  20. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    May 27, 2006

    I teach 5th and each year, at the end of the year I give each child an award in the room (we have awards day in the auditorium with the whole school for honor roll, perfect attendance, etc). Some kids are never going to get those awards. By 4th or 5th grade those kids are already reaching a point of unmotivation because they know. The awards in the room are just for morale boosters. I personalize them for each child (they have ranged from best knock knock joke, to best zoo keeper, to best story teller). It's just a small certificate, but it's a way for them to have the chance to get an award, for many, it's the first in school ever. I send little "hugs" home throughout the year. I got a set a couple of years ago from the highlight sign up. For example, I had a child who was basically failing spelling. We worked on it at school, changed how she studied (and her homework in spelling) and she started making B's. I sent a hug for that (they must be a couple of years old because they have the Hugs Kisses on them). Our 5th graders leave us and go to the Jr High. I am taking seriously the responsibility to have them leave me with some positive thoughts about school.
    I would send the certificate with a note thanking the mother for bringing it to your attention (like suggested above, kill 'em with kindness). The parents had no business writing a note like that, but you are doing it for the child, not them.
    Congrats on making it through your first year! The hard one is down, now the fun begins!! :D
     
  21. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    May 27, 2006

    Jaszmyn, we've ALL been there! It is by our mistakes and oversights we grow as teachers. I learn something every year. I don't think we would be very good teachers if we didn't grow and learn from those mistakes and bumps in the road. I can tell you must be such a caring teacher...........and that little guy was lucky to have you! :) That mom should be embarrassed................but chalk it up as knowing you will do it differently next year. Don't be so hard on yourself. Send a certificate with a little note wishing him a wonderful summer. You could admit to your oversight, but focus it on him........and not mom. I just want to reiterate..............don't let it get you down, and don't worry about it. I'm in my 13th year and I still have things come up that after the fact, I think I should have done differently. But hindsight is 20/20 after all! ;)
     
  22. 2ndTimeArnd

    2ndTimeArnd Companion

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    May 27, 2006

    I got 2 packages of "Certificates of Excellence" at Dollar Tree, and sent them home with kids on the last day (rolled up like a scroll, and tied with a ribbon). I personalized each one ... like "for amazing improvement in reading" or "knowing all math facts", along with "and completing 2nd grade" on each one. I had a hard time with one boy, who didn't come until mid-April and was truly a nightmare child, with very bad behavior. He completely disrupted the class the last 6 weeks. But I had to put SOMEthing on his, so I think I wrote "for fitting so well into the classroom community" (NOT!) on it. I had originally planned to write each kid a note but ran out of time ... and in retrospect, this did the job more easily. Dollar Tree, by the way, has great school supplies --- diecuts, pencils, stickers ... I even found a weather chart and a "Today is ____ " and "Tomorrow is ______" chart for next year ... and of course, only a buck.
     

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