Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What Does That Mean?

My daughter is in second grade.  She participates in basketball (#7 in the picture), softball, and gymnastics.  I use the word participates because her main goal is participation.  Why?  She loves the interaction with the other children.  There are times when she just runs with the group.  There's no purpose in her running.  She isn't trying to get open for a pass and she certainly doesn't track down a fly ball in the outfield, but she loves participating.  She's what I would call a 'people-watcher.'  Many times my wife and I have to remind her not to stare at other people.  She isn't being rude, she's observing.

Today, her teacher wrote a note in her homework assignment book which read, "Energy level very high this week!"  My wife and I didn't see this until after church.  Now, I know what you're thinking.  You're both in education, you should have seen this right after school when you sat down for homework.  Well, we didn't.

After discussing her behavior and our expectations, we got her in bed, tucked her in, kissed her good night, and told her we love her.  As I stewed over these six words and my daughter's behavior, I couldn't help thinking, "My daughter isn't high energy all the time.  I know the behavior was out of the ordinary."  I'm not questioning the teacher's observation of the negative behavior, I'm simply wondering, "What does that mean?"

If my daughter is acting out in class, not following instructions, disrespecting adults, disrespecting students, disrespecting the class, etc., I would like to know.  Each of those require a different approach when discussing the behavior with your child.  How can I help my child if I don't know what that means?

Parents do care how their child behaves at school.  We need all the information about the inappropriate behavior so we can teach our children the expectations at school.  If you're going to send notes home about behavior (phone calls are much more effective and personal) be specific about what happened.  It will go a long way to build the kind of parent-teacher relationship we need in schools.


  1. Don't know the circumstances but observing when kids "get in trouble" in class, lots of times it is because they have been glued to a desk for too long a period or not allowed to interact (talk) to peers. How many adults can sit and be quiet for hours? Another thing is that kids need to know why you are doing something---rationale for lesson. So, let's break away from the 19th century school model and join the real world!

  2. Muggs,
    The 'problem' rests solely with my daughter. The teacher in no way is in the wrong here. I know I can't sit for that long and it must be torture for some students to sit and be quiet for long periods of time. I totally agree that students need to know the 'whys' of what they're doing. And simply saying, "Because I said so," or "This is developing your work ethic," doesn't cut it.