Friday, October 17, 2008

Need some advice

I was a little early for my teacher conference yesterday, and while I was standing in the hall waiting a little head poked up into the glass window of the room door - one of my girl scouts was inside while her parents were doing their conference. So I checked the hallway to make sure there was no else around, and then proceeded to engage in a lively bob-and-weave peekaboo game with her and her younger brother. We were making faces at each other and giggling when I realized I was busted - not only were the adults in the classroom laughing at us, there was a woman who had quietly emerged from the office and into the hallway and was standing near me, amused. "Are you encouraging them?" She asked me, laughing. "I'm keeping them busy." I answered defensively. Oops.

So Bella's teacher and I sat down, and once settled in (she said a pleasant hello, I returned her greeting and apologized for the copious amounts of smelly baby spit-up on my shirt that I didn't have time to change) she got right to the point. She said that Bella is academically strong, indeed there are no areas that she is having problems in. She said the Bella talks too much, and she does need to work on that, but her talking is almost charming because she's generally so excited about what they are learning that she just wants to talk about it. She said Bella finds so much joy in everything that she is one of those children that reminds her why she got into teaching in the first place. Bella is well behaved, well mannered, works well with others, and has a good heart and a sweet disposition. We talked about the items I was concerned with - some homework issues and whatnot. My mind was put at ease, and I feel better about the whole situation now. However....

There is still a problem, and that problem is at home. Specifically, with me, and how she behaves with me. It's funny - I have had a nagging feeling lately that there was some sort of problem, and there was, but not at school. And a very good friend of mine had the courage and the honesty to tell me that Bella doesn't take me seriously, doesn't listen to me, and doesn't do what I tell her to do. It was hard to hear but at the same time was good to hear, in fact I think it was what I needed to hear because it made me acknowledge what has been a growing problem. So we will just have to buckle down and tighten up at home. I think I've been a little adrift and over my head from a combination of things - managing an increasingly mobile Bubba, my increase in hours at work, losing my sister-in-law, my husband's schedule change....and I have let things get away from me. I've been taking the path of least resistance, and it shows in her behavior at home. Now, at school she's apparently great. And when we were out at dinner the other night, a couple stopped us to tell us how well-behaved our children are (I actually had to look around to make sure they were talking to us). So at least I know she can be good, she just chooses not to be at home.

So I need some advice. I don't care what you are - a parent, a teacher, a cat lover, whatever, chime in: I need to know how I can curb her talking at school. Earlier this year we tried a long-term plan, telling her we would check back in with her teacher in two weeks and if she had not stopped talking too much that she would lose her Wii privileges. It apparently worked - when we checked back in with her teacher, her teacher said that Bella had made an improvement. Should I just do the same thing again? Any other suggestions? Because I will drive her teacher crazy writing her notes every two weeks asking about her talking. I'm out of ideas. Any thoughts?

1 comment:

Aimee said...

If taking away the Wii privileges worked in the past, then do it again (or something similar).

That's what we do with Fiver: we pick his most favorite thing and then ban it if he doesn't behave at school. Some people don't like to take something so special away, but my philosophy is get them where it hurts. Sounds harsh, but they end up being better off for it. Plus, when they do as they are supposed to, the reward is that much better. It goes both ways.

If you explain to the teacher that you are trying to curb in-class talking with a system of punishments/rewards at home, then I think she'll be more kindly disposed to the back and forth notes. After all, you are working to make her class time better, right? (at least, that's how it should work in theory)

As far as her not listening to you at home, I should probably not say anything as I am in no way an expert ;) Can you try the same kind of thing at home as far as privileges for special things? Maybe just sit her down and tell her that things at home are as respectful and helpful as they should be, and that as her mother you are in charge. Period. It sounds dumb, but sometimes kids just need to be flat out told that they are not the boss. Set up some guidelines for thigs you want to work on, and go from there.

Hope this makes some kind of sense! Good luck!

(and that was a really school report, btw)