Younger Son has had just a grueling year in 4th grade. 3rd grade was academically challenging but in a good way. This year, nothing is going right. He's been getting mostly "Ns" in work habits and citzenship each marking period.
With about three weeks left to go, I'm just over it. We get a review sheet home every week in his Tuesday folder, showing his "marks" (things not done right). Things like talking out of turn, missed/incomplete homeowrk assignments. I think all year he's had may 2 weeks without an issue.
I'm sort of done trying to figure out what the issue is. And at this point, what's the point?
I sent this e-mail to his teachers and copied the principal:
I took the yellow sheet out of Younger Son's Tuesday folder.
It seems pointless to belabor this effort, since it seems he is destined for N’s in Work Habits and Citizenship. Acknowledged. No reason to keep sending home all the negative feedback. It has been a tough year. I get it – N’s all around.
If there is some glimmer of hope that his grades in these areas will improve, by all means send me any positive feedback. Otherwise, I think the yellow sheet has become sort of obsolete and painfully redundant at this point.
I give up :)
Possibly a bit overdramtic, but .... seriously.
No, no...I feel the same way. Fourth grade for B was also tough, and I feel like I've been standing over him with a whip at times, to try to keep him on track these last few months. We are trying a different school in the fall, but I suspect that it won't actually be that different. I'm hoping it will, but I suspect that it won't.
If last year was challenging but fine behavior-wise, then something was different this year. Maybe he didn't quite click with the teacher. Maybe his classmates were rough on him. You made your point (a valid one!) clear and you just want to finish out this year and move on to 5th, where hopefully he'll be able to focus properly and get better marks.
I agree with you wholeheartedly that only noting the negative comments is a real downer for kids. Really, no way to mark down positive things? He's probably feeling horrible about himself. Not saying that kids need to be overly praised, because that has failed for kids the last 10 years or so, but at least a good balance.
I hope he realizes what a good kid he is and that he's had a rough year but should continue to make his best effort into 5th grade.
Yea, I took one look at that darn yellow sheet with yet another set of negative comments and I was like.. OH COME ON!! Throw the kid a bone. His behavior was much better last week, and all we could do was find the few negatives ... like "word study incomplete"? I just am not going to allow him to see that anymore. We've long since lost any opportunity to turn this around, now we're just running out the clock.
Yes, grades are okay this year (not as good as last year, but not awful either) but seriously challenging behavior. Last year grades were better and behavior was good (a few blips, but nothing out of the ordinary for a 3rd grader).
I find this kind of feedback frustrating from teachers. If a child's behavior is developmentally normal, even if it is "undesirable" what exactly is a parent supposed to do about it?
Smudge's teacher called up yesterday to say he was in trouble for conspiring to write fuck on a paper airplane. She's prissy about language in general, she gets mad at a group of 5-6 year old boys for thinking fart and poop jokes are funny. In my book, you explain why this is inappropriate, don't make a big deal of it, and go on with your life. You don't call to have a conversation about it (granted, he also did something else more serious and worthy of a conversation yesterday). I just keep explaining to him that if his teacher prefers he not use this kind of language, wouldn't be easier and more sensitive to his teacher's feelings for him to not use this kind of language at school? But, I'm sorry, adults pay money to go see Adam Sandler movies, which are basically 90 minute fart jokes. I'm not getting bent out of shape about it and arguing that there's something inherently wrong with making a poop joke is hard for me to support.
It is developmentally normal for a fourth grader to be crap at being organized and self motivated. Sure, work on it, but if you are working on it, what the hell else can you do? You can't magically give them the executive function of a grown-up. If you're doing the best you can, you're doing the best you can. Something about the environment your kid is in isn't working, but a square peg doesn't fit into a round hole, no matter how many yellow sheets you use to sand it. I think you have it right, fourth grade is a wash, keep believing in your kid, know that these aren't fixed traits: he's not lazy, he's not rude, and that with your support he can grow out of it (as normal kids do).
HELL yes. I had to do this for mutliple things over the years, including my 2nd graders spelling homework.
She's dyslexic. Her teacher kept insisting we just had to practice. Just a little! I'm like "Lady, we've been practicing faithfully for four months, 3-4 times a week. We have a list of "words to work on" that is about to top 100. No. No more spelling. She can read Popular Mechanics with comprehension. I cannot bring myself to keep destroying her self-esteem with spelling."
Good for you for that note. And yeah, that's just not cool. I've seen teachers form negative opinions and then just be unable to see ANYTHING good about a child, and while I guess that's human, it kind of sucks. :( I really hope next year is better.
I HATED 4th grade with #1 son - it felt like I spent the whole year pushing. Fifth grade was worse - it was about April when I sent an email to his teachers that four hours of homework was unhealthy and I was not going to let him do more than three (!). There were some significant changes in staffing by the time #2 came along and we had a GREAT year - he worked hard but the expectations were much more reasonable.
I later found out that the email that I and others sent (copying the principal) played a roll in those changes so stand firm!
See, this is why my kid is in Montessori school (no homework). All of the studies I've read indicate that other than math, homework does not do any good in helping kids retain information. Knowing this, I would be very hard pressed to have my son spend his evenings doing any homework (with the exception, of course, of math). His teachers would probably hate me.
Well, even without homework (and I'm not a big stickler) for homework, he also gets marks for talking out of turn, being disrespectful, yayayayaya.
I told Younger Son today what I did, and he's not happy. "I won't get Freedom Friday if I don't turn it in!!!!!" But, he doesn't get Freedom Friday because he can't get through a week without getting marks. He's toally indoctrinated.
So I told him to be a hippie and "stick it to the man" and refuse to be sucked into their exploitation by being a pawn in their Freedom Friday scheme.
I know, right? My parenting sucks ;)
Kat, are you fomenting rebellion? ; )
Wait, they have to EARN their freedom?
Need I say it?
Kat, are you fomenting rebellion? ; )