Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Feeling great about being wrong

It's not every day that I feel so happy about being wrong. After having a long conversation with Sophia's teacher, that's exactly how I feel.

In recent weeks, I've been worried about biting and the hierarchy of her daycare class and after talking about this with my husband, I decided today to ask Sophia's teacher to call me at her convenience so we could talk about her behavior.

When she called this afternoon, I was fully prepared to have a conversation about how we can do more at home to help Sophia stop her biting, but what I got was exactly the opposite. I started the conversation asking about the dynamics of her classroom. I asked if biting was a problem throughout the class and if Sophia was the ringleader because I felt a lot of emphasis was placed on her biting and asked how we could get a handle on it.

I am proud to say the teacher said Sophia was not the ringleader and, in fact, she was one of the most unaggressive children in the class. She said Sophia's biting has actually decreased in the last couple of months. She said Sophia was actually doing very well and I shouldn't be concerned.

She told me at this age the children are learning how to communicate and sometimes they get frustrated and bite. She did say that the behavior was not appropriate, but she didn't think any of the biting was so bad that it was a problem. She also said some of the more aggressive children were the older ones and they were moving up to the next class next week. She said she thought their aggression came from them being bored in the younger classroom.

It seemed like every day I picked up Sophia from daycare a teacher would comment about her biting, they'd mention that she didn't bite today, or that she did, and that gave me the impression Sophia's behavior was of concern; otherwise, why would they be bringing it up everyday? I think they were bringing it up because of my own concern about her biting.

I don't understand the whole biting thing. To me, it seems so weird that anyone would have a reaction to bite someone because they took a toy away from them or they didn't want to play with them. If I was upset at my co-worker and bit them, I'm sure there would be a lawsuit to follow. (Watch, my mom will read this and tell me that I was a problem biter as a child!)
Either way, I feel much better about my own daughter's behavior. I know that Sophia is not an alpha female and there is no power struggle in her daycare. I also know there is no biting problem in the class and that Sophia is not overly aggressive.

I probably could have known all of this earlier had I talked to the teachers more closely. I thought I was close to the teachers and that I was keeping the lines open, but sometimes it takes more than simple conversation to truly understand what's going on in my children's school.

It's a learning experience and I have to take it that way. One day I'm going to have to go to parent-teacher conferences and I'm going to have notes sent home about my son or daughter not doing their homework or whatever. I'd like to be a parent that the teachers know every year in every school. I'd like to know all the teachers on a first name basis and I'd like to have a lot of contact with them. I know this will get harder and harder as my children advance in grades and by high school I probably won't be introduced personally to every teacher, but I'd like to be as involved as possible for as long as possible. That, to me, is what is going to help my children do their best in school.


Anonymous said...

No, you were not a problem biter. Remember, you were the "good" child! Always keep the lines of communication open between yourself and the kids' teachers. It will be more difficult as they get older since they will probably tell you to butt out, but hang in there, even if you think you are becoming a pest at their school. In the long run, it's worth it!