am I being unreasonable about a writing assignment

perlanga2005November 9, 2006

Last week my shy and quiet 2nd grade son, came up to me and told me his hand hurt, because his teacher made him write 500x "i will never talk when (teachers name) is talking, because it is rude and disrespectful.''My son is quiet and shy and I'm positive he wasn't talking (the teacher even tells me at conferences she can't get him to read with the other students). I became very angry when I noticed my son was writing this and told him to stop because it's a waste of time and unfair. I called his teacher and said my son was not going to do this so she could forget it, she said all students were talking and everyone had to do the assignment. I told her not to expect my son to turn anything in, am I being unreasonable (maybe other parents and teachers can help).

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First off, I can understand why you are angry. You can't change the way you reacted. Try to work with the teacher to get you son to feel comfortable with his peers so that he is participating in all classroom activities. Talk with guidance to make sure that next year your son is placed with a teacher who will be able to address your son's weaknesses. Also, ask guidance to work with you and this year's teacher to address your son's social issues. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 11:39AM
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Dirtdivarocks gave you some good advice. I think the punishment was inappropriate and a waste of your child's time. However, you need to work closely with the teacher to keep a positive relationship as you share the common goal of helping your son learn. Anger and ultimatums from you will not help.

There probably isn't a student on this earth who has not been talking when the teacher was talking, but there are many better ways of handling these situations than the writing assignment.

You need to find out if this was an isolated event or has been continuing and the teacher finally gave him the assignment in frustration.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 5:29PM
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AH, so your son is better than the other students in the class...that's what you're telling him. that is why there sare problems in schools, and problems with authority. It's an assignment, tell him to suck it up, give his hand a break then come back to it. Finish the assignment. Next time, don't talk when the teacher is talking!!!


    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 1:18PM
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I had forgotten about this post for months, until the same incident happened yesterday. Again when he came home writing sentences, I asked what hapenned and he said the exact same thing as before. The thing that I don't understand is that if my son hardly talks at all, then why the helk does he have to do these assignments. It's not 100 sentences, but 500, really long ones at that. I called again yesterday and didn't yell or anything like that, so we have a meeting set up to discuss the issue. I'm trying to figure out what's to discuss. My son is not doing this absurd crap and she can stop giving him these assignments. The only way I will make my son do this, is if she admits that she saw his mouth move at the time and if she lessens the amount of sentences to 100 or so. Is my position wrong because I truly feel like it's not. Teachers maybe you can fill me in on what's going on in her head.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 7:58PM
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Writing should be a joy. Turning it into a punishment is destructive. Obviously this teacher is frustrated by the disrepect she gets from her class, but she needs to come up with more creative ways which will earn respect, not just foster anger and destoy the kids natural love of learning.

Any number of sentences written is not a logical consequence of talking, and so can be seen only as a punishment. Once the teacher becomes the policeman, it is very diffcult to return to the role of teacher and mentor.

You can't solve her classroom discipline problems, but I applaud you in your attempt to mitigate the damage to your son. Perhaps a chat with the principal is in order, if the one with the teacher doesn't go well.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 10:42AM
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Students should not be punished by being required to write. Perhaps that's one of many reasons that people tend not to like to write. Additionally, writing 500 sentences as a punishment for 2nd graders seems excessive. I would find out more about what is happening in the class. Does the teacher talk a lot with little opportunity for student interaction? Then she should consider providing opportunities for small group collaboration. Are the students talking because they're bored? Then she needs to experiment with different ways of apporaching instruction to find out what will engage her students. Student talking is the result of an underlying issue. Rather than trying to bully students into submission, she should try to discover and address the underlying issue.

I'm not trying to sound judgmental. I am a former teacher who has sucessfully taught in innercity schools. [I am no longer in the classroom because I train teachers now.] When I first started teaching, I used to punish students for inappropriate behavior. I spent a lot of time putting out behavioral fires. Once I realized that student behaviors are the result of classroom, community, and/or home conditions, I focused on addressing the underlying issues. After that, I had few behavioral problems with my students and student achievement soared.

I also agree with a previous poster that telling your son that he is an exception to what the teacher has said is counterproductive. He may come to believe that school rules only apply if his mother says that they do and it undermines the teacher's authority.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 9:12AM
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I don't know if I agree with the whole "undermining" the teacher's authority argument for making your child do an assignment.

Sometimes, things go so far the other way that children put more stock in the teacher's authority than in their own parents' and won't go to a parent for help, thinking that the parent is helpless against the school system. That's not good either.

While I don't agree with special treatment for anyone in the class, I do remember plenty of incidents in elementary school where a handful of students got the entire class into trouble. I was certainly not a talker in elementary school (social anxiety, shy, and often teased), and it would not have been fair for me to be writing lengthy pages of punishment because of someone else.

The teacher needs to come up with a different way to handle this.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 11:46AM
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500 is way way too many for a 2nd grader
You need to discuss this with the principal
teacher needs to find a better way to control her class room

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 12:18PM
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maybe you should offer to work in the classroom. i did with my kids...class sizes may be too large or she's just can't control her class...anyway, volunteering is a great way to see the real he said - she said...

wait till they get to hs....i so wish i'd turned in the tape recording (my dd2 made and i heard) of the chaos of one class...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 12:29AM
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Sounds like your son has a tough second grade teacher. You have to remember that children and teenagers act different around their parents verses when they are with their peers. Your son may have became good friends with a kid in class and as a lot of second graders are they cannot control their mouth and they do not know when itÂs time to be quiet. I am sure youÂre your childÂs teacher must have gave warnings but he probably refused to listen. Maybe he is shy reading to the entire class verses having a conversation with one kid. He should do the assignment because by you telling him that he does not have to do it makes it seem ok for your son to act out. ThatÂs why there is so much disciplinary problems in school. Your son may be starting to test the rules. As he gets older he will try to push the limits with you and your job as a parent is to set your foot down. Talk to your childÂs teacher and ask her to explain exactly what happened and how it happened. Maybe after you have a conversation with the teacher the situation will be more clear to you.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 8:22PM
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In my dd's school (she is also 2nd grade) there are some teachers who use a system whereby if ANYBODY in the class misbehaves, then the whole class suffers. The punishment is nothing severe - maybe she won't read the next chapter in the book they are dying to hear, or they have to put their heads down and be silent for a few minutes. The kid who broke the rules feels guilty for making the whole class suffer, and the kids themselves try to re-inforce the rules ("Nick, don't lean back in your chair! I want to hear the story!")

500 lines is way too much. I know the school year is probably out now, but this is a good time to think about who ds's teacher will be next year and to have a talk about disciplinary measures right at the start.

Good luck. I feel sorry for your little boy.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 5:50PM
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