Monday, June 19, 2006

Stupid Biting Issue Revisited

Today was a a very bad day. it just generally sucked, but then it got worse when I got to the daycare and I was "greeted" by a pissed of daycare teacher.
I didn't get a hello, or a friendly how was your weekend.
Instead I was accosted with "Matthew bit a child today."
Huh? what?
I get it. Matthew bites. He is 2.
Here's my problem with this. I leave him all day - about 9.5 hours with trained daycare teachers who watch him. They have their ECE and the place is well run. So, what the heck? Why am I being told off by a teacher the second I walk in the door?
I wasn't there. Yes, I agree biting is wrong. But, I WASN'T THERE. I didn't see what happened, I didn't encourage it or refuse to punish it. I was at work having a crappy day.
The teacher was so beligerent that I had to walk away for a second so I didn't a) cry b) scream or c) do both.
How do I explain to a 55 year old toddler room teacher that this is her problem. Not something she needs to attack me with, telling me how my husband and I should deal with this at home.
In fact we do tell him it is wrong. But, it is also up to them, during the day, to keep him from biting other kids.
I think part of the problem is that I don't want my child to be the biter of the class. I don't want to have the bully. And I want teachers to like my child. I work hard with him and I make sure he knows the difference between right and wrong. That's the most I can do. When I send him out of my home, even to the safe environment of the daycare I want to know that he is understanding the principles that I am teaching him.
But, at some point it is up to them.
I say this having been raised in a home with a father who is a principal. He would be the first to tell you the huge role the parent plays in a home, but I think (and correct me if I am wrong, Dad) that when the child is in a classroom the teacher has a responsibility to teach the rules and enforce them. Yes, the parents should be on the same team, but in the classroom the teacher is in charge. And, if a kid misbehaves in the classroom the parents should not be told off. Consulted yes, encouraged to take part in the discipline process, for sure, but not punished because their kid was bad.
Trust me - I had my moments. I could be a brat. But, that was not my parents' fault. It was mine. And, if you watched me as a child and teenager you would have seen that the classes I behaved in were the classes in which I was engaged and the classes I misbehaved in were the classes where I was bored. And, in the classroom teachers had to stand their ground.
I will never forget when I was in 2nd grade and I completely refused to do a very simple math assignment. My teacher stood her ground, did not let me get away with what I was doing, and I didn't cross the line again.
You know, Mrs. Black still is hands down my favourite teacher. Why? Becuase I knew where I stood with her and I didn't cross that line. She was cool and fun, and in story time she let me touch her suede shoes (she still laughs about this), but she never let us get away with murder.
So, how does this relate to the biting issue?
In my opinion, biting in the classroom is an issue for the classroom - and one that I am happy to work on but not be blamed for.
So, what am I going to do?
I have already spoken to the teacher, so now I am going to make an appointment with the woman in charge. I'm going to explain my issue in as rational and non-emotional a way that I can and I am going to come to a solution. I hope.


Heather said...

This is a tough one I think. I completly agree, this issue is for the teachers to deal with at the moment that it occurs. I do think they should bring up what happend with you, but in a way that is professional, and not so aggressive (especially with other familys around). I'm sure if you had the choice you would want to know everything that happened at daycare...not just the bad stuff. I think perhaps grade/high school is different than daycare and that perhaps disciplining a child is more of difficult issue for the daycare providers. My only suggestion (for whatever it's worth) would be to let them know the level of discipline you are comfortable with them giving your child. This may help future situations if they occur and the daycare provider can address them immediatly, not you, at home, hours after the incident (of course you would discuss it with your child once at home). Perhaps this may lessen the aggressive confrontations between you and the teacher, and may lead to discussions such as "this is what happened and this is how we handled the matter". Not "Matthew bit a child today"....grrr

Anonymous said...

Tell your daughter I empathize entirely. I went through the same thing myself