Friday, December 11, 2009

Call Early and Often

I was a little perturbed by a well-meaning post at Education on the Plate. Here's a teacher who seems afraid to call homes when kids misbehave. The kids have all sorts of reasons why:

“I get yelled at.”

“I get slapped and yelled at.”

“My mom spanks me with a belt.”

“I get beat and locked in my room.”

“I get grounded for a month… and I get hit a lot.”

I don't buy it. If I got a call, there would be consequences for my kid too. I don't hit my kid, but she would live to rue the day she got that call. My classes function well because problems in my classes follow the kids home. Of course they don't like it. They aren't supposed to. But the alternative is utter chaos in my classroom. I'm too old for that. I used to be too young for that, and it's unacceptable under any circumstances.

The idea of home contact is to keep undesirable behavior from being repeated, and also to give the kid a shot at improving. You are not doing anyone any favors by giving kids breaks. When kids test you, as they do all the time, you need to let them know that nonsense is simply unacceptable.

If you aren't comfortable calling, here are a few tips. Be brave, be fearless, be active, and call, call, call.

And lest you think I'm a grinch, I called a father yesterday to tell him his daughter was doing consistently excellent work, that she participated on a regular basis, and that she'd be receiving a grade of 95 on her next report card.
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