Sunday, April 09, 2006


Our school has something called behavior charts. When a student shows problems with behavior, meetings happen, parents and experts get consulted, and sometimes the committee decides to give the student a behavior chart.

The chart usually targets no more than three behaviors. For example, one student's headings might read: respects teacher/classmates, remains in own area, follows directions. Then the teacher writes some kind of symbol to indicate compliance or non-compliance, such as stars and x's.

One of my students with no boundaries at home forgot his chart when he came to class. One of the goals of the chart is to guide students to being responsible by remembering to carry it with them. As the student had not brought his chart on a previous day, I wrote x's on his chart for non-compliance.

The next morning, he came into my room with his chart. He held it out at me, and said "Here," with a very smug look on his face. I glanced down and saw that his mother had written something on it. "Did you give Damien all x's just for not bringing his chart to class? If so, call me."

I looked at Damien, handed his chart back and said "Thank you." He left. He came back five minutes later and held out a pink post-it. "Here's my mom's number so you can call her." And then he smiled at me, with that look that little brothers and sisters give you when they've tattled on you. I took the post-it.

I was furious. It seemed that this mother had told her son that I would be in trouble for doing this to her son, and I wasn't going to have it. I waited a day to call her.

When I did, I explained that he'd forgotten the chart on a previous occasion. She simply said, "That's what I needed to know." and we hung up. I felt puzzled, wondering why she'd not yelled at me or otherwise made me responsible for her son's problems, as so often happens.

I'm positive that this hasn't ended, but I couldn't tell you where it will go from here.


sxKitten said...

If I were the mom in question (although I wouldn't have worded the note like that), I might have just been checking up on Damien. If he has only a nodding acquaintance with honesty, she might have wondered if he had, perhaps, earned the X's with some particularly obnoxious behaviour and was covering for it. If so, she was probably relieved to learn that it was just because he'd forgotten the chart.

Or she's an evil hag, and is just building up for the next salvo :-)

Kate said...

You never know with these parents. Mostly it seems it's all the teacher's fault, unfortunately.
I can't remember my parents ever having that attitude. It's not a united front of adults out there any more.