what to do you do when a child changes the story at home

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by PEteacher07, Oct 18, 2007.

  1. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    Oct 18, 2007

    how do you handle a situation when you have addressed a student or group of students and then one goes home and changes the story around makes you look like the most evil person on earth?

    i was absent from school when it happened and my co-worker fixed the situation with the parent. (i read the email that the parent send us.) the student pretty much told her parents that she was going to be punished b/c she has asthma and doesn't run very well.

    we would NEVER punish a asthmatic child. in fact, some of the best athletes in school have asthma b/c they are determined to excel and not let it hold them back. in the 3 years i have had this child, she has never shown asthmatic symptoms during strenuous exercise and doesn't even have an inhaler or other treatment at school which is an indicator that her case is probably mild. our serious asthmatics have breathing treatments and inhalers in the nurses office in case of an emergency.

    i am glad my co-worker talked to the parent and clarified whatever was said, but it bothers me when a some parent's believe every single word that comes from their children's mouth. at least this parent came up to school and gave them a chance to set the story straight.
     
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  3. Victoriateacher

    Victoriateacher Rookie

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    Oct 18, 2007

    I learned the importance of telling parents in a casual & friendly way at parent teacher night when we are still forming first impressions of eachother to make a deal that I'll believe 50% of what I hear about home, and they believe 50% of what they hear goes on at school. It kind of reminds them that their kids tell us a lot about them too, and we don't just blindly believe it all.
     
  4. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    Oct 18, 2007

    If I find out that something like this happens, I call a conference with mom/dad and child. The truth is coming out.

    From then on, if that child is disciplined, THEY write the note home to mom and dad, we both sign it and I keep a copy in their file.
     
  5. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Oct 19, 2007

    The key is to beat the kid home...any situation that arises, call the parent immediately if possible, or asap after school. The first version is usually what the parent believes (notice I said usually!)
     
  6. teacherlissa

    teacherlissa Comrade

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    Oct 19, 2007

    I have learned from this in the past and now I always, always, always, have a talk with the student and we agree on why they have gotten in trouble. I write it down in my behavior log and in their planner. I have never gotten to the point where we were not able to agree on what actually took place.
     
  7. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Oct 19, 2007

    I tell the parent(s) exactly what I saw, and 9 times out of 10, they support what I tell them. I always have a talk with the student immediately or send them to where they need to get over the issue.
     
  8. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Oct 19, 2007

    First, don't take it personally. A lot of kids might be more sensitive to punishment than you expect, and are looking to escape through lying.

    If you can, avoid classifying it as outright lying by the child. Suggest that it's clarification. Any parent with half a brain will know their child lied, and you don't really want to start a confrontational situation with the other parents.

    Remember that it's a rare parent, and not necessarily a good one, who remains objective about their child. Also keep in mind that every parent has heard horror stories about teachers. It's not particularly hard to believe a teacher may misstate things from time to time, lose papers, hold prejudices, etc., given that there are teachers (albeit, not many) who sexually abuse their students.

    Also, parents generally will have to approach you (or the admin) with the first story they hear, even if they don't believe it 100%. Just because they come to you and state it as fact doesn't mean they're not open to a denial.

    If the parents don't approach you, it's true that they don't give you the chance to explain yourselves. So I think Victoriateacher's prophylactic practice is prudent, though I might phrase it differently (50 percent seems like an awful lot of lying -- I'd just go with "Sometimes kids exaggerate things that happen or get them completely wrong accidentally")

    Incidentally, even if you did punish the child for having asthma, that wouldn't make you the most evil person on Earth.
     
  9. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    Oct 20, 2007

    i do tend to take things personally. it's just kind of my personality. you are right about that.

    i talked to my co-worker yesterday about it and he said that he called the dad and talked about what happened. i am glad he stepped in and did that.

    i didn't think she was lying. i just think she misunderstood and her class didn't even come on friday! plus, she has never been any sort of problem in our class previously.
     
  10. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Oct 20, 2007

    I have recently had to deal with a similar situation. One of my 3rd graders has attempted to cheat on tests THREE times within the last week (a third grader!?$#&)%$???). The first time he did it, on the advice of my cooperating teacher (and against my own principles) I wrote a note on his test and took 5 points off of the grade. The second time, I sent a note home to mom and gave him an F on the test (whenever a student in our class earns an F on anything, regardless of the score, they are given a 65, which is the highest available F score, and is much easier to come back from than say, a 0). The next day, I received a note from mom in which she stated that her child would never cheat, that we must have been mistaken, and that she KNOWS her child would never act in the way that has been described in the behavioral notes we send home! To say the least, I became steaming mad. I also experienced a creative streak, and developed a form to be filled out any time a student tries to cheat and is caught.

    It kind of goes like this: I, (student name), attempted to cheat on (name of assignment) on (date of assignment), in spite of several warnings. I realize that cheating is wrong, and that I will receive an F on this assignment. In addition to the above, the form has three spaces for signatures: one for the student, one for the parent, and one for the teacher. The way it is set up, there are two forms per 8.5x11 sheet of paper, so the one on top is the parent copy, and the one on bottom is the teacher's copy.

    The aforementioned student tried one more time to cheat (and got caught -- you'd think he'd get the idea!), by using a calculator on a math quiz! I whipped out my little form, completed it, had him sign it after I did the same, stapled it to his quiz paper, which had been marked with an F, and sent it home to mom! I am waiting for it to return to school to see how mom handles it. I actually had to use several of them this past Friday! I (luckily) really didn't have any cheating, but I had several students who insisted on carrying on conversations during tests! I have told them with EVERY test since the school year began, that talking during a test would be treated like cheating, and apparently, they didn't believe me! One of the students actually ended up getting caught twice!!! I changed the form to mention that they were caught talking during the test (instead of cheating), and that their grades would be docked one letter grade for each offense. I hope that, because the student has signed it, these forms will help to curb the truth distance between school and home.
     
  11. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    Oct 21, 2007

    don't you just love parents like that!!
     

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