Remember my last column? About how putting my “baby” on the bus was more traumatic for me than I thought it would be? Yeah, I got over that really quick.
The first week of school was only three days long, and I now refer to these three days as our honeymoon period. You see, he got green all three days. If you aren’t familiar, most elementary schools have a color system that helps keeps kids focused on behaving. Blue is best, green is good, yellow is a warning, and red is not good at all. When he started school, we were expecting yellow or red, because he is stubborn and head strong. So, when he got three green colors in a row, we thought, “Hey, maybe this won’t be so bad!”
The following week started out with a yellow, then blue, then two more yellows, then I got a call from the teacher. You see, last Friday I had a feeling things were not going to go well. When I took the boys to the bus, my kindergartener refused to get on. He was fine right up until the bus came, and then he just busted out the tears and would not get on the bus. I walked him home and asked him why, and he said, “You don’t get to play at all in school!!!”
Surely this isn’t true. There is recess and lunch, but I suppose these aren’t enough for someone coming from a fun pre-school. I asked him what he did like about school and he said he enjoyed buying lunch.
I explained that he could only do that at school, and we should get in the car and get going if he wanted to make it in time to buy lunch. He got in the car and got out at school without any problem. My mind was at rest and I went home to enjoy my day with just two out of four kids. Then the phone rang.
It was his teacher, letting me know that he was not having a good day, and she was going to have to send him to the principal’s office if he did not shape up. I was given the opportunity to talk to him and let him know he needed to start listening and doing as he was told, or things would not be good for him the coming weekend. We take away privileges and treats when the kids get red at school, and especially when they visit the principal. He said he understood and would behave.
I didn’t hear from the school again, so I had high hopes that he turned it around, but an email from the teacher at the end of the school day dashed those hopes. Yes, he had indeed been sent to see the principal. I would need to sign something when he got home.
Some may feel that sending a kindergartener to the principal is too harsh. I am not one of those people. First off, I know my son and I know how stubborn and head strong he can be with authority. I did not raise him like that on purpose. This is something that is ingrained in him and will come in handy when he is older, but right now it is hurting him. He is the kind of child who needs to be given harsh punishment to understand he has pushed as far as he can with me (or the teacher in this case). Second, thanks to my sister being a teacher, I have gotten some good insight into just how trying a day can be for them. My son is taking away attention the teacher could be giving another student to learn to read and write. She cannot devote her whole day to disciplining my son, and it wouldn’t be fair to the other kids if she did.
I support her, and I told her so. They have such a hard job and such an important job. The more we support our children’s teachers, the better their work environment and the better education our kids will get. I am happy to report that after a long weekend without his favorite things, he returned to school on Tuesday and got a blue!
Beth writes from her home in between diaper changes and snack requests. She lives with her husband and four small children. Read more of her writing at www.thellamasdrama.blogspot.com.