Trouble at School

She’s only three, and I’m already getting called into parent/teacher meetings. Truth be told, it’s not really that formal, but it is pretty serious. Ruthie has been a challenge in her preschool class, but the teacher has dealt with her wonderfully. For instance, when she lays on the floor under the table, instead of fighting with her on it, the teacher tells everyone else to lie under the table, which takes all the controversy out of it for Ruthie so she ends up cooperating in the end.

But last week Ruthie freaked out, threw a fit, and kicked the teacher, who said she’s never seen such behavior in her years of teaching. By the time I came back to sit for the last half of the class, I observed her scrawling her crayon angrily across her coloring page, throwing said crayon, and flicking her paper on the floor – all while her teacher tried to encourage her to color the picture, and the other kids looked on apprehensively.

I was horrified.

Because the teacher cannot properly discipline for behavior such as the kicking (when did time-outs become such a cruel and unusual punishment?), it affects her authority in the eyes of the other children as they see Ruthie acting this way. For this reason, I was told that if it happened again she would have to ask Ruthie to not return to class. It was a very sad day for me, though I suspected it would eventually happen as she grew comfortable enough to challenge her boundaries in class.

I sat with her in class yesterday, just to see how things would go. And they did not go well. Her teacher spent a lot of energy trying to engage her, but she continued to flop on the floor, lie under the table, and refuse to cooperate.

What can I do? Is she aggressing against me? Is she bored in class? Does she hate school?

I was honest with her teacher about my own struggle with anger, because I thought it would give her insight into Ruthie’s behavior. It was the first time I admitted my issues to anyone outside of my circle of friends, and the first time I’ve seen it affect Ruthie in other areas besides home. She definitely sympathized, and told me to give her a signed permission note allowing her to give Ruthie a time out (again, what’s the big deal?) so she can at least remove her from the situation if Ruthie throws another fit.

I appreciate her teacher and all the effort she makes to engage Ruthie – she has been very patient. I just never expected this kind of problem so early on, and I’m hoping it was an isolated incident.

3 thoughts on “Trouble at School”

  1. I am with you on the “what happened to time outs” so there can be no discipline at all in the class. Have we stooped that low in wanting to encourage self esteem that there can’t be stern/firm discipline in the classroom anymore? HMMM, somthing to think about I guess. Sounds about as annoying as us having to get pre-approval before taking a trip, taking our son out of class (kindergarten mind you) for anything else except illness…so I guess that means no more spontaneous vacations. What is happening to the school systems?

  2. The first time I attempted to do my Certificate 3 in Children’s Service (I finally completed it during the second round), one of the subject titles was “Guiding the Children’s Behaviour.” In regards to that particular subject, it was explained to us that if little junior began to disrupt or upset the other children at the playdough table, we were then to remove him and then direct to another area of play.

    Sometime during the course I asked the teacher “What about discipline?” and her response to that was “I don’t believe in discipline.” And on that note I think I just sat there in silent disbelief.

  3. When I was working with K-2, I had several parents approach me and tell me I was not to use the word “no” with their children, as they didn’t believe in that word… I’m scared for our future and our children’s future.

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