This showed up in my email today: November 11, 2008 Dear Parents, I am writing to ask for your help. Yesterday and today have been extremely difficult days for our class. I have had great difficulty teaching due to the students' excessive talking and interruptions. These are not isolated situations. If they were, I would speak to those few students individually. As a matter of fact, I can think of only two students that have not been participating in the "talk fest." I wish that I could present each of you a video so that you could understand my dilemma. Talking does not just occur between two people in a whisper. The students have a bad habit of calling out, blurting out, questioning me, and seeking to have their questions answered immediately at all times of the day. I may be in the middle of working with a student one-on-one, teaching to the entire class, or they may be taking a test or quiz. It doesn't matter. They ask whatever comes to their mind at exactly that moment. In addition, these questions are hurled at me in loud voices so that the entire class is disturbed. This has typically resulted in several students arguing over who has the best answer to the question that was asked of me. I am sure, if you were present you would be mortified by their show of disrespect towards me and their fellow classmates. I have repeatedly spoken to the class about these bad habits. Unfortunately today, many of them made bad choices during our hour-long math review session. This coupled with the lack of use of the individual review time I gave the students yesterday, many were still very unsure of their GCF and LCM methods for tomorrow's test. I postponed this test from last Friday to give them more time to study. I gave them ample opportunity to seek help from me both yesterday and today. In addition, we took a mock quiz and went over every problem in class. I will be very curious to see their math scores tomorrow. Their inattention and desire to verbally "one-up" their classmate will begin to take a toll on their grades. Tomorrow is the last of our ecosystem fieldtrips. I anticipate a crisp and beautiful day. It will be perfect for a walk through the N Trail. However, I will explain to the children before we leave that if their behavior begins to resemble the behavior of the last two days we will have to come back to campus without completing the day or the water testing. In addition, future fieldtrips, special activities and privileges will have to be reviewed. I do not take my comments to you throughout this email lightly. And I will repeat that these are not isolated incidents, but the overall behavior of everyone in the class. We need to work together to improve this situation. My job is to teach your children and provide for them the best learning environment possible. I want each of them to reach their potential and be pushed this year. This week I have not been able to do my job, and I find that unacceptable, as I am sure you do. We will be focusing on the 5 B's for the rest of the week and marking period: Be on task, on Time, Prepared and Respectful. Please have a serious discussion with your child regarding their current behavior and the imminent consequences that are sure to follow if improvements are not made. I believe in these children. I know they can do it. They are smart, enthusiastic and are good children. I am positive that we can help teach them valuable life lessons if we work together. Please do not hesitate to call or email me if you have any questions. Best regards, **** I responded with-sympathy and apologies, as I know one of difficult child's new habits is excessive talking. Last yr he hardly talked at all. I offered to pop into class unexpectedly and help out, which would embarrass difficult child, which would be a good thing. I'll wait and see what she says. Meanwhile, back to no TV on weeknights for difficult child. Sigh.