Reply To: How old is too old for a "tattle book"?

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I rarely comment on things like this but I feel parents need to know what it’s like to be in the teacher’s shoes. The behavior reports are typically REQUIRED by the school or the district in compliance with documentation regulations for keeping parents aware of daily interactions. Can you imagine how long it takes a teacher to personally complete these each day for every student? And usually it’s required to be done during the 20 min “break” period where she also must stand in line for her only bathroom break of the day, make any phone calls, grade papers, enter grades, complete and submit lesson plans, make copies and tend to the 75 items on her checklist issued by the school or district. Some schedules don’t even allow for a teacher to get any opportunity for a “break” for such things. There are strict requirements for parental communication and documentation procedures for every single form of interaction between the teacher and parents—and that’s for ALL students they teach.

Personally I struggle with my own ADD diagnosis and symptoms. Ive taught various elementary grades during my 12 years working as an public educator. I have a Master’s degree and an additional certification for my studies related to adhd and related learning disabilities. I also served on a teacher support team that provided assistance to teachers concerning IEPs and related behavior/academic improvement plans. All of that to say—- I have experience on both ends of this topic and it’s ridiculous for anyone to comment that any teacher isn’t doing something correctly when as a parent the commentators agree that they cannot get better results from their child at home, in a one on one setting.

Imagine teaching 27 children with 7 or more having an IEP for disabilities and another 2-3 who also show a need for individualized instruction but do not have an IEP yet. If you haven’t done your job as a parent to get your child an IEP or 504 ruling that they could qualify for then you are essentially tying the teacher’s hands. Many times those “tattle” reports are what keep children getting the accommodations they need. I agree that there should be an effort on the teacher’s part to send home communication about positive behavior as well; however, it’s physically unrealistic to expect a teacher to make magic happen without supportive parents. Additionally, some things like allowing a fidget spinner aren’t the best ways to approach managing distractions or aren’t allowed by administrators.

I would suggest some of the critics above to request to observe for half a day in your child’s class. Just sit at the back of the room silently and notice the things she IS doing that go above and beyond. Better yet, volunteer to be a substitute for a day. You’ll get a better idea of what all takes place and the enormous efforts EVERY teacher makes in helping YOUR child to become a productive citizen. Have some of you ever thought to thank her for her efforts? If you want different results from a teacher then initiate that change by showing a positive reaction to something she IS doing correctly.

One person commented that they limit their interaction with school related tasks nightly to 30 min. If your child’s teacher limited her outside of class (and paying hours) efforts to just 30 min daily, then it’s likely she would be out of a job. Teaching is not just a job or a profession— it’s a calling. These people pour out more of themselves into helping, loving, and playing a parental role to your child than they do into their own personal lives. Don’t insult their efforts or their methods of communication with you that could be something that’s imposed on them as well.

It’s unlikely that sending a printout of articles or any other info regarding add/adhd will be helpful as the teacher has likely read that before plus taken formal education classes on such topics to even attain her degree as well as participated in the ongoing mandatory trainings by the district and state to keep her license in good standing.

If you want to see change from your child’s teacher, then call her and let her know you understand fully her efforts and your child’s limitations and ask her if there’s anything YOU can do on YOUR end to see your child has better learning experiences in her class and follow through. Please keep in mind that excessive disruptions not only affect your child but every other child in his/her class as well. It’s a teacher’s responsibility to provide the best learning environment for ALL of her students, and it’s extremely likely she’s exhausting herself more than you could ever imagine to do just that.