For the most part, I have an amazing classroom of parents. They are supportive, kind, willing to donate items, and the list goes on. However, every now and again, I am reminded of the differences between parenting and teaching - at least my teaching style. And this is not just happening in my room, but all across the board with my fellow colleagues as well.
When a child misbehaves, it is not necessary to convince them that good behavior will bring them rewards, such as a new toy. It is not necessary to negotiate with them on getting what they want ONLY if they behave well. What is necessary is that parents stop doing this to us teachers! We teach the children classroom expectations, which include social skills and morals. If a child chooses to hit another child, he or she will have time out. If a child screams at me for asking them to do their work, they will not get to go first in line. There are real consequences for your actions in life. I am trying very hard to teach the children this at an early age, so it becomes automatic behavior - to do the right thing.
Recently, I sent a note home about bad behavior. It was then negotiated with that child from his parents, that for each good day of behavior and doing his work, he'd get a new toy. Are you kidding me? AAAHHHH. Then, another rough day occurred. I raised my voice b/c it was repetitive negative behaviors, including hurting others. So, he is now playing the "I don't want to go to school b/c my teacher screams at me" routine to get the parents feeling for him. First of all, that kid has never heard me "scream". Secondly, I will NOT pamper a child for behaviors that are harmful and for which he has control of. As a special education person, I know the difference between controlling and non-controlling behaviors and trust me, these ones could have been controlled very easily.
I had a talk with the student and explained that at school, he doesn't get to be line leader, special helper, get new toys, etc. for just doing what is expected. I pointed out that all of his other friends are doing what is asked of them, just because they know it is the right thing to do. Now, I am not saying I've never negotiated with a student before. Heck, I do all the time. But, I will not reward for negativity and just downright naughty. I will help to reinforce why those behaviors are not good choices and assist in making better choices. Sometimes, I really consider teaching a parenting class entitled: "What your teacher wishes you knew, but is not allowed to say." Do you think I'd get anyone to come? ;)