The Vice Principal’s Office

Yesterday I received a phone call from Gus’ vice principal. Apparently he and and another child had been wrestling on the playground and then sent to his office by an aide on duty. I assured the Vice Principal that we would address the issue at home and thanked him for his call. The I tried very hard not to break down into tears at work.

My sweet, rule-following child who was always praised for his good behavior was in trouble. First the behavior discussion with his teacher at the parent-teacher conference and then despite the multiple discussions about rule following and good behavior the very next day he was in the Vice Principal’s office. What was I going to do with him?

We’ve never had an issue like this before. It’s all new territory for us. Gus is probably lucky I got the call mid-day and didn’t make any snap decisions about his consequences. It turns out the other child involved is his best friend. The boys have been thick as thieves since they were in diapers and we live less than a mile apart. They weren’t fighting, just fooling around. I chatted with the boy’s mother (my friend) to see what her take was.

I was a little surprised to discover that she and her husband were more on the side of the fence where it wasn’t really the boy’s fault – there are other behavior challenges in their class and the aide was probably just taking her frustration at the situation out on our boys. Their son would receive a stern talking to, and that would be the end of the matter. I was in the other side of the fence. If you get sent to the Vice Principal’s office, regardless of the circumstances, then there are consequences for you.

Then I turned to Facebook and asked for opinions on what Gus’ punishment should be. My favorite suggestion was to ask Gus what he thought it should be.

So, we did that. After some discussion with him and Mountain Daddy we all agreed that Gus should pick a screen to be banned from for the rest of the week. He loves to play on an iPad traveling to or from school, but he also loves playing video games and watching tv with his family. Ultimately he chose no iPad for this week.

The seriousness of the situation seemed to get through to him and I’m hopeful that will be the last time I get a call from the Vice Principal. This week certainly didn’t help with my increasing gray hairs!

The Parent-Teacher Conference

Mountain Daddy and I went to Gus’ parent-teacher conference yesterday.  Gus is the youngest kid in his class (his birthday is 10 days before the cutoff date…) but does pretty well academically.  I wouldn’t call him a genius, but he falls into the high average or above average range usually.  It’s nice to see his progress from the fall to now.  I’m struggling with a few things though.  First, I remember being near the top of my class when I was young.  The expectation was for A’s, or in this case 100’s.  And for the most part, I achieved that.  Gus isn’t quite there, and I don’t know if our expectations are where they should be (he enjoys school and completes his work, what more can I ask for?) or if we should express a desire for 100’s…

Secondly, Gus’ teacher needed to speak with us about Gus’ behavior.  This was a surprise for the kid who always follows the rules.  Unfortunately, there are 1/2 a dozen or so rambunctious boys in Gus’ class, and he is a follower.  It’s not hard to see what is happening, but how do we fix it?  How do you explain to a 6 year old that his choice in friends is going to get him in trouble?  I think I’ve drilled into his head that he needs to listen to his teacher the first time she speaks.  He needs to not fool around in the cubby area, and he needs to follow the rules.  We’ll keep it up, and hopefully see some improvement by the time report cards come out next month.  The last report card had all C’s (for commendable) on classroom behaviors.  I’m not sure we’ll see that this time around…