How to Work with a Teacher to Solve Problems

How to Work with a Teacher to Solve Problems

Giving-Props-to-theThose of you who have been around my blog a while know that I had a few issues with kindergarten last year, namely kindergarten homework. Sydney, age 6, is in first grade this year and things are going well. However, Sydney came home sad the other day, not for the first time, about how another child was treating her.

As I listened to my little girl describe the situation, which seemed like one child being mean to another, I struggled with the correct, “perfect” mom response. Of course I wanted to help my daughter. Yet, I didn’t want to overreact, hover over her, or fix her problems so completely that she couldn’t handle disagreements or disappointments in life. There is that gray area, that fine line, isn’t there? Several thoughts went through my mind:

  • Do I intervene and tell the teacher?
  • Do I encourage my child to act differently? How?
  • If I make the wrong move in handling this issue with my daughter, does it matter in the big scheme of things?
  • If I make the wrong move in handling this issue with the teacher, does it matter in the big scheme of things?

Ultimately, I consulted with Sydney and decided that it was okay to email her teacher. Here’s what I wrote one night this week:

Dear Teacher,

Sydney was in tears after school and was telling me it was because she had a couple run ins with Anonymous Friend. This is not the first time she has seemed sad about something that happened with Anonymous Friend. Specifically, she said Anonymous Friend told another child that Sydney was “bad” at lunch and then Anonymous Friend tried to cut in line at recess. I fully realize these girls are 6 (!) and I know I am only hearing Sydney’s side of the story. There could be much more to the story. I am using these times when she’s upset to teach her that not everyone will like you in life and also help her try and vocalize her feelings to the other girl. I just wanted to communicate with you about today because she was upset.

Thanks for listening,

Then I waited. Okay, it was only overnight. But have you ever sent an email and gone crazy waiting, anticipating the response? Was the teacher going to come down hard on me for intervening? Was there more to the story? With the 8, 372 things the teacher has to do, was this situation even on her radar?

Here’s the response I got the next morning:

Hi Katy,

Thanks for the email.  I appreciate the information.  I will talk quietly with Sydney today.  I have talked with the class many times about treating others like you want to be treated.  So, we will continue to work on it.  Also, if you can talk with Sydney about letting me know when these things happen, so I can take care of it right away.  I know sometimes it seems like you are tattling or you don’t want others to get in trouble but it helps me if I know so I can help the kids work through it when it is fresh in their minds.  Plus, I do not want her to be sad.

Thanks again for the email.  I really appreciate the communication.  Please keep in touch.

Talk to you soon.

I love that response! I feel heard, appreciated, and empowered to help Sydney speak up when something like this happens again. I don’t feel like an overprotective, busy-body mom, whatever that looks like. I couldn’t have asked for a better reply from the first grade teacher.

Sydney has reported that the Anonymous Friend has been treating her better since we spoke up, too.

What about you? Have you ever struggled with how involved to get in your child’s problems?

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