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Kindergarten is Rough!

  1. leahlefler profile image99
    leahleflerposted 5 years ago

    My son brought home a lot of schoolwork from kindergarten (obviously a worksheet packet that had been completed over the past week). Several of the sheets were marked with statements like "you need to try your best!" or "not acceptable!" I looked at his work and the work is all complete and correct - but he didn't follow instructions to the letter (he colored in the circles instead of simply circling the similar items, for example).

    The teacher's criticisms seem rather harsh to me, but I'm not sure if I'm simply being an over-protective mother on this one...


    I just hate seeing my son get so discouraged when he is only five years old! Is this the norm for kindergarten these days?

    1. Robin profile image
      Robinposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      My advice would be to set up an appointment and go in and talk to the teacher about it face to face.  Go with an open mind and ask for her side of the story before coming to any conclusions.  It is so hard with our own children, I know, but if you can, keep an open mind.  My feeling is your son was bored and used his time to color in the circles.  Perhaps ask her if he can have a book at his desk or other material to do when he's done with the task.  The response "try your best" is acceptable - maybe she sees a lot of potential in him and he's not doing everything she thinks he can.  The other, "not acceptable," is a poor choice of words on her part.  You can give her tips that you have found work for him to help get the most out of him. 

      I would like to give the teacher the benefit of the doubt, but after your conference if you don't feel like his placement is the right one, you can talk to your principle about a switch.  A switch after being a part of the classroom can be difficult for kids though, so it should be a last resort.  Our kids have been in school for almost two months, so it would be quite a disruption for them.  Best of luck to you.  Let us know how it turns out.

  2. 2uesday profile image89
    2uesdayposted 5 years ago

    Well I would be inclined to say to myself that the explanation of what to do and how to do it might be  partly to blame. He is 5 and a lot of his attention is probably going on working out why he is there and what he is meant to do.

    I bet if you ask him to point out which ones belonged together he could do it.
    He will be OK with a mum who cares to give him confidence. smile

  3. Lisa HW profile image83
    Lisa HWposted 5 years ago

    Whoa.  I don't think it's you.  That teacher seems like a jerk to me.  It's October.  I think I'd request a switch to a another teacher and tell the school why.  There are other ways to let a little kid know he "missed the mark" when it comes to what he did on his paper.  If there's one regret I've always had it was with my first son who ran into problems with a jerk for a kindergarten teacher.  He was my first.  I didn't feel confident enough (in my own "stand" regarding some things) to just get him away from that teacher.  If I could go back and do it over again I'd get him away from that teacher and that particular school) as soon as an "issue" began to develop in October.
    At the time, I thought, "Well, maybe I'm wrong."  With benefit of hindsight I can now see that I wasn't at all wrong and should have been more confident.  My two younger kids had kindergarten in a different school.  I sent the same kind of kid into kindergarten all three times.  The two younger ones were years ahead of their grade level throughout school.  My first son, every bit as similar as his siblings, got off to that bad start; and that kindergarten teacher and a few of the other losers in that public school just amounted to disaster for him.

    If there's one thing I've seen (and for the most part, and when it comes to my other kids at the other school I didn't have any big issues with any of them), it's when a teacher does something that makes her/him seem like a jerk the chances are the person IS a jerk.   mad

    1. leahlefler profile image99
      leahleflerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I'm definitely frustrated with this - Matt is actually testing at a second grade level in math, so my gut says that he got bored and started to color in the busy work. I want to give the teacher the benefit of the doubt, though - he's my first child, so I haven't really experienced the public school system until now.

      I guess I'll send in a note asking why the work was unacceptable. It is possible that Matt scribbled all over everything, the teacher told him it was unacceptable, and then Matt went back to circle the answers... but I want to know what happened. This is on more than one sheet of paper (including another sheet where he was supposed to circle the correct number to represent the objects on the page, and he wrote addition problems over the sheet instead).

  4. leahlefler profile image99
    leahleflerposted 5 years ago

    Actually, his answers are all correct. The only reason I can gather for the "not acceptable!" is that he colored in the circles...

  5. Gordon Hamilton profile image96
    Gordon Hamiltonposted 5 years ago

    I'm neither a parent nor am I familiar with the US education system but one thing strikes me straight away - very few 5 year olds can understand the written meaning of the phrase, "Not acceptable."

    If I were you, I would send the note to the teacher, in laborious, childish writing - and be sure to colour it in and circle it!! lol

  6. rebekahELLE profile image91
    rebekahELLEposted 5 years ago

    I would set up a phone conference with the teacher so you can find out exactly how a 5 year old is to know what is acceptable. Can he even read what it says? Does he know what is unacceptable? I can't believe a kindergarten teacher would mark a paper like this. Many of them can't read yet!

    If you're not satisfied with the response, I would go up the chain. You don't want your child being discouraged by the very one who should be encouraging him!

    Good advice from Robin. +

    Good luck.

  7. leahlefler profile image99
    leahleflerposted 5 years ago

    I am going to send in a note to ask about the paperwork - Matt can read, but I doubt he could decode "unacceptable." He can read beginner reader books, but not longer words like the one on his paper. We'll see what the teacher says... I'm keeping an open mind (Robin has excellent advice). I tend to get very "mama bear" when I see things like this. I'm taking a deep breath and approaching this with an open mind.

    1. Robin profile image
      Robinposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      We all get Mama Bear, and you wouldn't be a good mom if you didn't!  During the second week of kindergarten this year my daughter's teacher called her out in front of parents and kids to pay attention, and I could just see her little spirit being crushed.  It was difficult for me to keep my mouth closed, but I have to say she is always paying attention in line now!  I hope that it all works out for you.  Please let us know!  wink

    2. rebekahELLE profile image91
      rebekahELLEposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      The word 'acceptable' isn't a kindergarten word. My concern is who did she write this for, the child or the parent? I agree that it's important to not rush to judgment, but I would also make sure your child and the teacher are a good match.
      I can't for the life of me understand how a teacher of 5 year olds would mark a  paper like a high school teacher.

      I realize at the beginning of a school year, many teachers put an emphasis on setting the classroom environment and expectations and it's really quite necessary, but inexperienced or 'past tenure' teachers can be either too strict or too lenient. I'm not advocating being a helicopter parent, but certainly have open, concerned communication with his teachers. The same respect teachers expect from students/parents should likewise be given to students/parents.

      http://www.education.com/reference/arti … igns_Good/
      Top 10 Signs of a Good Kindergarten Classroom by NAEYC

  8. Ms Chievous profile image81
    Ms Chievousposted 5 years ago

    That teacher needs to lighten up!  Looks like your son put a lot of work into it!  She gets a frowny face from me! sad  Best call her and set up an appointment like everyone else said!

  9. leahlefler profile image99
    leahleflerposted 5 years ago

    I did write a note to Matt's teacher to find out what the "Not Acceptable" was about, since I wasn't entirely sure. I had surmised that perhaps the extra 'doodling' was unacceptable, but the teacher wrote back to fill me in with the rest of the story.

    Apparently, the class had been instructed to circle the like items and then color "with their best work." Matt just scribbled over the pictures and declared himself done, so the teacher had a conversation with him and marked his paper as "not acceptable."

    At least I know that Matt was shirking a bit and not being penalized for doing doodles.

    Kindergarten is definitely much more rigorous then when I was in school - Matt is already doing place value, greater than/less than, and have reading groups. It almost makes my head spin with the amount that they do in kindergarten! smile

    1. Robin profile image
      Robinposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks for letting us know.  Sometimes our kids need a little push and your son sounds like he is more than capable to do the work.  I'm glad that you talked to the teacher.  You never know, she may be a great teacher for Matt - seeing that he has a lot of potential and pushing him to meet it!  I know that my kids need that every once in a while, too!  Cheers!  big_smile

  10. leahlefler profile image99
    leahleflerposted 5 years ago

    His teacher did write that Matt has been working to his potential now that he got called out for taking the lazy way out - so I am grateful that he is pushing Matt to do his best. Sometimes the mama bear has to put those claws away and take a deep breath, lol!

    1. Robin profile image
      Robinposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      You're a great mom, Leah!  Your kids are very, very lucky!  big_smile

  11. seamist profile image82
    seamistposted 5 years ago

    I don't have any kids, but now wonder "Johnny can't read" nowadays if they're having them do all that in kindergarden.

  12. leahlefler profile image99
    leahleflerposted 5 years ago

    Thanks, Robin - I try (but sometimes wish there was an instruction manual that came along with the kids)! big_smile

    Seamist, 2 of the kids in my son's class are already reading (my son is one of them). Kindergarten is tough now because there is such a wide range of developmental readiness and the standards are pretty high. Some kids won't be reading at the end of the year, and it has to do with the developmental level of the child - by the age of seven, they'll all be reading. At least, in our school they'll all be reading (seriously, our elementary school is amazing).

  13. MissE profile image80
    MissEposted 5 years ago

    We go to an awesome charter school because the districts just weren't cuttin' it.  The teacher are great.  My son gets a list of possible homework by topic (Mat, English, Work Work and Science) then he picks which assignment he want to do from the list.  Sometimes it worksheets vs. writing vs. a cool learning website.  It's the bomb y'all.

  14. leahlefler profile image99
    leahleflerposted 5 years ago

    I'm glad you have access to a charter school if your local district isn't cutting it. We live in a fairly rural area and our local central school (elementary, middle, and high school are on one campus) is great. The swimming pool is located in the elementary school, so kids all take swimming lessons starting in the second grade (the high schoolers come down to the elementary school for swim team).

    Our school still has gym, music, and art education, which is wonderful (since so many schools have cut these "specials" from the curriculum). Our class sizes are generally about 18 kids per class, and the quality of the education is excellent.

    I just had a panic attack when I saw that "Not Acceptable!" on my five year old son's paper.

    1. MissE profile image80
      MissEposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      That sounds awesome!

  15. rebekahELLE profile image91
    rebekahELLEposted 5 years ago

    Glad to hear you had positive communication with his teacher! As long as your son understands and is doing well, that's what counts. A male teacher, very cool for Kindergarteners!  big_smile Stay in communication with his teacher, it helps!

  16. leahlefler profile image99
    leahleflerposted 5 years ago

    There are two male kindergarten teachers this year - I love it! Most of the teachers in our local school district are wonderful.

    My little one's pre-kindergarten teacher is absolutely amazing (I'm going to be sad when my "baby" leaves her class) - she knows how to get the most out of the kids in a kind, loving atmosphere.

    1. rebekahELLE profile image91
      rebekahELLEposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      That's very nice to hear. Male teachers with the young ones is fantastic. They have a great energy that often is perfect for the energetic 5/6 year olds, especially the little boys. I'm sure your son will have a great year.

      Pre-K is a wonderful age group to teach. They're so curious and eager to learn.
      I think all adults would benefit from an occasional conversation with a 4/5 year old. They have a lot to say and often it's quite profound. smile

  17. donotfear profile image89
    donotfearposted 5 years ago

    I'm having the same type issues with my 5 yr old grandson. (Only thing is, he has ADHD).

    As for your situation: They want them to follow instructions by listening. He listened, but only halfway.  That was his way of doing his work correctly.  If she continues to focus on the negative, like "wrong answer" instead of "you understood but I asked to circle instead of color over", then she can expect counter-productive results from her students.

    I advise every teacher and parent to learn the 'Teaching Family Model of Behavior Modification'.  It stresses praise and rewards with no negativity.  It works. You won't get results by dwelling on 'you're wrong'.  You will get results by 'good job for listening...next time listen more carefully and follow instructions the way we teach you".

    1. donotfear profile image89
      donotfearposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      It's almost like they don't want kids to develop critical thinking skills and solve problems outside the box. But there is a point to following instructions exactly as instructed.

  18. leahlefler profile image99
    leahleflerposted 5 years ago

    At first I thought Matt had been penalized for not following the instructions, but in truth he listened to the instructions, and then decided to scribble on the sheet to get "done" with the assignment faster. I still think the giant red "Not Acceptable!" was a little harsh for a kindergartener, but at least I know that the teacher discussed the situation with him and wants him to work to his potential.

    We have a unique situation because Matt is testing (academically) at a rather high level, but his maturity level is obviously still that of a five year old. He got bored with the 'busy work,' so we're working on giving him better fitting work. He's starting to do addition with carrying, so the general consensus is that he's simply bored.

  19. Greek One profile image80
    Greek Oneposted 5 years ago

    i would send him back with a picture for the teacher something in the nature of the below..


    1. leahlefler profile image99
      leahleflerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      LOL! I can't show him this, because he'd probably copy it! big_smile

      1. gmwilliams profile image85
        gmwilliamsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Had a teacher similar to this teacher.  In the 1st grade, there was an obsessive teacher did not permit erasures.  Now, this is FIRST GRADE and children are bound to erase.  This insane teacher DIDN'T want children to make mistakes nor erase.  She wanted ROBOTS.