Friday, January 08, 2010

Introducing Mr. Name Caller

Yesterday I wrote about Goddess and the kicking incident at school. This morning I had the opposite reaction to my other child's teacher telling me about "bad behavior".

I bring my son to school and the aid motions for me to come over. Goddess is in the car so I tell her it has to be quick. She proceeds to tell me that the teacher received a call this morning from a parent saying that a classmate stayed out of school yesterday because of Handsome's name calling.

Huh! So what I am hearing is that a child was so upset by my son's name calling that his mother actually kept him out of school.

She then tells me to go inside and speak to the teacher. I ask her to watch Goddess and run in.

Picture 641

As I step in I hear "Handsome, I heard something about you today and I am very upset." Handsome is standing on line after just walking in the door with his classmates and a bunch of 5th graders walking up and down the stairs. His class is on the 2nd floor so they usually stand their after coming off the bus or a parent's car until they are all there then the teacher brings them up.

She sees me and says, "Oh good you are here".

I tell her that the aid sent me in but is has to be quick because Goddess is in the car and needs to get to school.

She says, "I have been hearing from a bunch of parents that there has been some problems on the bus in the morning." (Wait didn't the aid just say that it was a call from A PARENT? Now it is a bunch of parents? Was this an honest mistake or was she trying to make a mountain out of a molehill? Saying one parent wasn't big enough in her eyes?)

I say, "The Morning?" (Handsome doesn't take the bus in the morning, I drive him.)

She says, "Oh I mean the afternoon and in the lunch room too.

So I say, "Oh from _________ mom (the name is being left out to protect the innocent).

She says, "He has been calling kids names and kids are getting upset. When kids get off the bus he calls them names".

I say, "Oh like "poopy head, fart face, someone here smells like diaper? Yes, this has been a problem at home. He learned these names from a boy at school and we have been dealing with it since October."

She says, "I know he isn't being mean-spirited or malicious, I think he just thinks he is funny."

I say, "Yes, he wants to be like the other boys and he does think it is funny. I will talk to him about this when he gets home."

She then says, "I wasn't aware of this but today I will go to lunch and watch. This has to be addressed."

I say, "Obviously. His father and I will talk to him, but I have to go I have the baby in the car."

I tell the aid thank you and leave the parking lot.

As I drive, the anger sets in.

Why was I lied to?
Why was the teacher making a mountain out of a molehill?
Why was he addressed before he even got to his class?
Why was he addressed in front of his classmates?
Is he ok?

After I dropped Goddess off, I spoke to her preschool teachers (Handsome's teachers last year). They felt like I did. This is appropriate behavior for this age. It isn't nice but they are all talking like this. If you want to make a little boy or a man for that sake talk about farts and poop.

I drove home and thought, wait a minute...this is bullshit in plain English. If I was the teacher and I knew a child wasn't being mean spirited or malicious I would have waited until we got to the classroom. Started the morning and when everyone was doing their thing, pulled Handsome aside for his side of the story. Then I would have addressed the class as a whole. Telling them that sometimes names hurt and that calling each other names is not OK. I would have talked about feelings and kindness and then maybe at story time picked a story talking about name calling or hurt feelings. After all this is Kindergarten and the kids are very young.

My anger increased as the morning went on. It just seemed that things weren't handled correctly. There was no reason to make a mountain out of a mole hill and how dare someone start my son's day in such a negative way about something so ridiculous.

Was he OK? Was he sad? Was he wondering why she "wasn't happy with him?" He didn't even know he did something wrong. It just seemed so unfair.

We are our child's advocates and I felt that this should have been handled much differently.

Goddess gets picked up at lunch time so I emailed the teacher with a simple sentence, "I will be picking Handsome up in a half hour."

When I got to his school, my desire was to talk to his teacher and tell her that the reason I was pulling him early was because I needed to talk to him. I needed to know that he was OK.

As parents we put our children into the hands of teachers, bureaucrats, moms, aids, other children, office workers, everyone with their own life, background, agenda and more. I need to know that my child is safe, in mind, body and spirit.

Like a mother bear I simply needed to talk to my child and know he was OK, that he felt safe, and that he understood what was happening.

When I got him home, I spoke with him in private which is more than his teacher did for him in the morning. He is OK! I address the problem and we will be working on this full time.

We did 10 pages in a workbook and then I let him be for now.

How would you have handled this if you were the teacher? Do you understand why I felt like I needed to sign him out early? Feel free to be honest, you don't have to agree with me. I love hearing how others parents.


  1. I agree with you.

    It sounds like the teacher says one thing and acts differently. She knew Handsome was not malicious, yet she made a point to single him out that way.

    She seems to be acting like a "poopy head".
    (Did I just write that?!)

    Only us parents can protect our kids. It's not up to the school regardless. They aren't their livelihood, we are. The parents. The caregivers. The providers.

    Keep on keepin' on sista!

  2. I think the teacher should have let you know what was going on and let you handle it at home first. Then if the behavior continued she could have had him stay in from recess or something to talk to him privately and not in front of his peers.

  3. It's ok to feel however you want to feel.

    Teachers have to make decisions for the welfare of all the children and many times that is under the pressure of the principle, other parents, other teachers, etc. If you feel the teacher made a mistake it's your right. However, you can never go wrong being gracious to others. Teachers are overworked and underpaid and more often than not, really do care about all their students.

    Your son probably did not take it as sensitively as you did but you are a good parent for being concerned about how your child feels.

  4. I'm not saying this because you are one of my best friends, but that teacher was being an ass! Maybe she had already had a bad morning or something, but to take it out on a kindergardner was SO wrong.
    You are exactly right in the way it should have been handled. Talk to him privately, then discus feelings with the whole class, and read an appropriate story.
    I also think picking him up early to make sure he was OK was exactly the right thing to do. I think the one-on-one time with you probably made him feel much better.
    Being the mother of boys, poopie and fart humor NEVER goes away... my boys still do it with their step-dad and they are "grown-up".
    YOU should be a teacher, you have such a great way with kids. You have the luckiest children on the planet!!

  5. I think maybe the teacher was trying to embarrass Handsome by expressing her disappointment in him in front of his friends (which is silly, because that usually just gets the child MORE attention and makes things worse) but I don't think she meant too much harm, especially when she made it a point to say he was not being malicious. That being said, it is hard not to take it personally when someone is criticizing your child for doing something so common as name calling and potty talk. I think you did what your instincts told you to do and addressed things and hopefully this will be a passing phase you won't have to ever deal with again!


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