Teacher refused to allow aide to redirect difficult child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I picked difficult child up from school yesterday afternoon. The teacher that we have trouble with was there. I was later than usual, so there were only a few kids left in the classroom, but I can gaurantee you that wouldn't have mattered.
    I walked in and saw difficult child sitting in a chair beside his teacher, apparently in time out. The teacher, from her chair across the room, started telling me how terrible he had been all day, how he had made one bad choice after another, how she had probably made the aide mad, but told her to sit back down and ignore him when she got up to go to him, and then how he had gotten "sassy" and had to be kept in from playing outside and held.
    I asked what he did. She told me he made bad choices. Then she said she had gotten it worked out of him for the day so we'd probably go home and have a wonderful evening. She said it doesn't matter if he likes her or not, he NEEDS to do this. She also said "he can do this" over and over, "he just chooses not to", "he just needs consistency".
    By this point, I was fuming about the aide not being allowed to step in and help. I wanted to ask this woman, now that difficult child has been in her class for the past 18 months, just how this "consistency" thing is working out for her - cause he's worse now at school than when he started, and he got DRASTICALLY worse this summer when this woman was his primary teacher.
    I asked difficult child on the way home what happened. He said he wasn't sitting right and got in time out for it. He said he wanted to ask the aide to take him to the quiet spot, but the teacher wouldn't let him.
    So I confirmed the story with the aide. Who knows if difficult child was really going to ask for help or not (he often does, tho), but the aide WAS heading to difficult child to redirect him and was told by the teacher to leave him alone and ignore it. Subsequently, difficult child escalated and started yelling profanities at the teacher. By some unknown force, difficult child didn't escalate it further, and both the aide and I were suprised at this - she said most of the time when he gets like this, he has to be physically moved from one spot to another, but yesterday, he moved himself - so he must have had some semblance of control thru it, which must have been why we didn't end up with flying furniture again. But I don't call this progress.
    His primary teacher is out again, so he will have this "problem" teacher again today. I will be scheduling a meeting with the school director about this. If he can't receive help and redirection from the aide (who is frequently able to head off outbursts like this), there's no point in sending him there.
  2. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I forget, Shari, is difficult child in a public or private school?
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Montessori. Which has several REALLY GOOD teachers that work with him, and then this one....
  4. Pookybear66

    Pookybear66 New Member

    Shari-I would call it progress! Your ds showed restraint in a tough situation BY HIMSELF! He was able to realize that battle with this teacher was not worth the hassle and consequences. Bravo!
    Re: the teacher-I would gift wrap a copy of The Explosive Child for her and then say "You have been so helpful and wonderful when working with my child. I'm sure you don't need to learn any more about successful teaching. However, I thought I would give you this gift. I agree with you that DS can behave wonderfully in your class. However, I think this book will give you a little insight on why that might not be possible at this time." Or something like that. Be very sweet, but dig the knife in where it will get to the root of the problem so to speak.
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Pooky, you're right, he didn't escalate it...but I guess I shoud clarify that I think he didn't more because it was one of his better days when he is more "on" than true progress coming from this teacher's way of handling him. But yeah, there is a silver lining in that he didn't throw the chairs.
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    What an egomaniac nut!
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, dear.

    But it sounds like your difficult child is making improvements!

    So sorry about the aide not being allowed to ... be an aide.
  8. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    It is soo frustrating how many people that "know" how to deal with our kids better then we do, so so sorry. Poor guy, thumbs up for him realizing she just doesn't get it.
  9. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

  10. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Whether it was one of your son's better days or not, he kept it from escalating. I'd be pretty proud of him.

    To be chastised because you're not sitting properly is ridiculous (unless he was hanging upside down). If I can find a way to do it (charis with arms are a problem), I'm sitting in lotus position about 95% of the time. I did this in school, too, unless I was wearing a skirt. At work, it is usually with one leg curled under me. If he was paying attention and/or trying to do his work, what possible difference does it make how he was sitting? Most teachers of 6 YOs are thrilled if the kids are just staying in their seats. They don't worry how they are sitting.

    As to not letting the aide help, I'm glad you're the parent in this one and not me. I think I'd be pushing the teacher into a wall as I reamed her the riot act. If the school and I agree that my son needs an aide and the aide sees a need to help my child, there is no way on this good earth that the teacher would be able to override that decision.

    Anyway, your son deserves kudos for holding it together as much as he did. The teacher deserves something (and I won't say what cause I'd be banned from this board).
  11. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I'm with the others in that I think wee difficult child did a good job of keeping himself in hand by not throwing furniture. I'd be pretty proud of him too.

    As for the teacher, Witz expressed it perfectly, an egmoaniac nut. I hope the meeting with the school director goes well, and that this teacher gets the help SHE needs (or gets pulled from dealing with wee difficult child at all).
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    This is happening in MONTESSORI?? That is bizarre.

    Personally, I'd be calling another Planning Team meeting ASAP and at the same time keeping difficult child home from school (with schoolwork at home, of course) while this woman is likely to be his primary teacher. She is making things as worse as could be imagined by treating the interactions as a battle and conflict instead of an opportunity to help this child learn. By constantly nitpicking like this and setting up an escalation, she is NOT helping.

    Kudos to difficult child for staying in control.

    Also, the trachers' language/behaviour on your arrival concerns me. She never really gave you specifics, did she? Instead, she kept harping on about his "choices" without saying what the bad choices were, specifically. She didn't give a good enough explanation as to why the aide was not permitted to do her job. ANd then her attitude to you - "take him home, you'll probably have a good evening" and that she "had got it worked out of him for now".

    The description of events - he wasn't sitting properly (whatever that means), he needed to be taken to his quiet place but the teacher prevented, difficult child got mouthy (but did not throw chairs) and so this needed further punishment - I have a strict policy here; if difficult child's behaviour is escalating as a result of what I'm trying to do to discipline previous behaviour, I do not punish the escalation. You can't punish a kid for reacting to your own bad choices! OK, you don't have to accept bad behaviour either, but at least recognise your own (or the teacher's own, in this case) role in the escalation.

    We had a situation like this with difficult child 3, in his last week of mainstream (it was one of the triggers for us removing him - because it indicated that the problems were not going to go away, with teachers not understanding him). difficult child 3 had been told by his class teacher to put his Communication Book on the teacher's desk (first mistake - they should never have made the child responsible in any way for the Communication Book). Then in the absence of class teacher, Teacher 2 took charge to march the students to the school hall. difficult child 3 said to Teacher 2, "But I have to put this book on Main Teacher's desk!"
    Teacher 2 said. "No, you must now go to the hall."
    difficult child 3 had two conflicting instructions in his head. The sensible thing to do should have been to let him complete task 1, then he would have been compliant with task 2.
    Instead, by forcing her own will, Teacher 2 triggered a major meltdown which ended with the students having to wait outside the school hall where difficult child 3 was throwing chairs.
    To their credit, difficult child 3 was not punished for the escalation because the principal and class teacher (when they were finally summoned) recognised that the escalation was triggered by Teacher 2 not allowing difficult child 3 to comply with instructions given him by Class Teacher.
    With any other child with no similar problems, this would have led to suspension. In difficult child 3's case the school was understanding and also explained to the rest of the staff what to do in the event of future problems of a similar nature. Everything that school was doing, was focussed on dealing with the primary problem and not getting into issues of escalation. I wish we'd been able to keep him there - but there were too many reasons to pull him out. Separate issue.

    I suggest you put in place a Ross Greene Basket list for this teacher, in her dealings with difficult child 3. At the Learning Team meeting, ask her what behaviours she feels MUST be tackled even at risk of triggering a meltdown (Basket A). Then ask her for a list of behaviours you want to work on but will back away from a meltdown if one is looming as a result (Basket B). Then the list of behaviours she is willing to ignore for now (Basket C).
    I'm betting - she will have a HUGE Basket A list and empty Basket C, probably empty Basket B. Because "with these problem kids, you have to teach them who's boss, you can't let them get away with ANY disrespect or you lose the respect of the other kids."
    She will be in shock when she discovers that this works best through Basket B, and in keeping it manageable. Basket A is for emergencies only, if the classroom is on fire you will risk a meltdown to grab the kid and toss him out the window to safety if necessary, work out the consequences later. Basket B, kept not too full, is where the spadework is done. To disrupt the rest of the class over a kid "not sitting right" when at least he wasn't throwing chairs, calling out or swearing at her, was kind of stupid and asking for trouble. To not allow the aide to remove him - it was about power. "I'm the boss, not the aide. You will put up with my face staring at you, you cannot use your disability to hide behind and sneak away for fun and games just because I have challenged you, you little snot."

    The teacher needs to realise that VERY quickly, her behaviour as it eventuated will lose her respect of the other students faster than almost anything else. Maybe if she had had a fit of hysterics in front of the class, coupled with sitting on the floor rocking, the class could have lost respect for her faster. But kids do not respect teachers who use their position of power to control.

    When I look back at my schooling, the teachers who stick out in my mind as good teachers who I respected, were the ones who taught well. The students chose to behave better (and to control the worst students ourselves if they misbehaved) because we valued these teachers. They kept us interested, they RESPECTED us and genuinely wanted to help us. It wasn't the shouters, the belittlers, the demeaners that we valued. Even the strict disciplinarians were valued, as long as they respected us. We therefore respected them. But the teacher is the adult, they need to do this first.

    I remember bad students, who disliked and disrespected the teachers on principle because they were teachers. They still had little to complain about, in the good teachers and had little opportunity to misbehave. Often the difficult students would be in the minority and would find themselves ostracised by a class of kids who didn't like to see a favoured teacher disrespected.

    But the teacher you describe - unless your son was really being a major problem before she did anything, I doubt her actions have earned her (or saved her) any respect from other kids. And without that respect, her efficiency as a teacher is now much less.

    I also use the Ross Greene methods myself, on teachers and schools. It works. I think about what I am prepared to push for with the school, even at risk of triggering a meltdown from them. And I then have a small list of what things I want the school to change, but I won't push them to meltdown point if I can avoid it. I will also work with them where possible to facilitate them giving me what I want.
    And again, I have my "Basket C" with what I want from the school. A no-uniform policy is in Basket C, because it doesn't seem to make any difference to how they teach my child. I have higher priorities.

    Good luck with this one. She doesn't sound like Montessori material to me.

  13. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    In that it's a private school, I don't have much to offer.

    Hope the meeting goes well, and the principal/director can help you. Even some education for the teacher might be helpful if you take it to principal and it's tendered to the teacher by someone other than you.

    Good for difficult child on not escalating!

    Otherwise it sounds like you have a great group of educators at the school.
  14. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I second this statement as well.

    I think Marg is right that this teacher would be stunned to see how many of the behaviours she would likely put in Basket A just don't belong there.

    Hope that difficult child doesn't have to deal with this teacher much longer, and that your call to the Director yields quick and fruitful results.
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    LOL, Mstng!

    Shari, would the teacher actually read The Explosive Child? I suspect she may toss it in the circular file.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's why I suggested presenting it to the Learning team meeting as a tutorial and having the steps written in specifically. Maybe getting the Learning Team to describe the Baskets (you plan ahead and present your suggestions) and have it all written in to the IEP.

    The teacher can't toss the IEP into the round file!

  17. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I am printing out the "nutshell" version of the Explosive Child to give to the school, as well as a copy of the actual book (going at lunch to buy it). He doesn't have an IEP at this school because its private, but we do have a working agreement that at least 4 of the teachers follow. Only this one is a problem, but she is a BIG problem.
    I have not been able to catch the director. I was hoping to today, but I still think she is out (her father is very ill). I had to get to work today, I've kept difficult child home since Wed, so I sent him, and am praying its not a terrible day. He was crying when I left, but he didn't have to be restrained for me to leave.
    Thank you all for the support. As usual.