A Note Home From The Teacher

One of my Facebook friends posted a note she received from her son’s teacher. It was an official printed form–a “Behavior Reflection.” The child actually writes his own offense on the form which seems a little demeaning to me. He was blowing on dandelions during a fire drill.

Really? How do I not have a thousand of those “Behavior Reflection”s at home?

Reading my friend’s Facebook post reminded me of Jimmy Kimmel at Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner. As Kimmel was finishing his monologue he paused for some reflection on his school years.

I also want to thank Mr. Mills my 10th grade high school history teacher who said I’d never amount to anything if I kept screwing around in class. Mr. Mills, I’m about to high-five the President of the United States.

And then, after asking permission from the president, that’s just what he did.

I wish I had been a less disruptive, better student. My teachers surely shared that desire. That’s just not who I was nor who I am. School wasn’t designed for kids like me, or Jimmy Kimmel, or maybe even the dandelion blowing grade schooler.

In the end my performance in school had little bearing on my relative success in life. My guess is the same will hold true for my friend’s son.

18 thoughts on “A Note Home From The Teacher”

  1. Wow…blowing on dandelions? That is excessive in my book. I hope that your friends son grows up to be this teachers boss, and fires them! LOL

  2. What if there really had been a fire, and each of those dandelion seeds had caught fire and become flying embers, each one seeking out and setting fire to a nearby home, destroying the neighborhood? Why can’t kids just be kids? I guess this will go on his permanent record.

  3. Hmmm, Geoff, you make a good point. Yet, if Malloy’s reform is passed, my job, as a teacher, is going to depend on making reticent students like you perform for state tests. If I cannot get these teenage boys to stop blowing on the metaphorical dandelions and focus on reading and writing, then I am going to be jobless. Teacher performance should not be solely based on state tests. There are so many talents a student can share with us if we allow him to nurture his passion, and instead, we are about to be forced to teach to the test (more than we already do). I would love to enjoy Johnny’s preoccupation with the dandelions; I would love to be able to get him to create a beautiful short story or poem from that experience, but Malloy is stripping creativity and innovative thinking from our schools.

  4. I am a teacher. We don’t know the whole story, but I suspect because this was the student’s version (by the way, it is very common in modern education to ask the student to reflect on their behavior, performance, etc, whether it for good or bad choices. There is nothing demeaning about self-reflection), there was more to it than blowing dandelions. If I had to guess, I’d say the infraction was probably more of a result in not being in line, or similar. When it comes to fire drills, it is serious business, no matter what age. It’s not a second recess on a nice day. There is a reason the state requires public schools to practice fire drills once a month. Should a real emergency occur, the school has to be able to count on a reasonable amount of cooperation (straight lines so adults can take attendance, no talking, no fooling around, listen to instructions) from the entire student body or any number of others could be put at risk. It is not easy to get 25 students to cooperate at any one time, but when it is an entire building of students, during an emergency, it is critical. Believe me, school is not looking for new ways to get kids in trouble; we’re busy enough with the old ways! Let’s not trivialize or perpetuate this situation which makes the school staff look like ogres.

    1. To SusyS: Susy, are you for real?? I would really dislike your being any of my children’s teacher!!! Susy, get a life, or better yet, get a new profession!! You, are not teacher material!!!!!!! Also, you probably don’t have children, and if you do, you have girls!!! I might add, that yes, fire drills are very important!!!

      1. Sharon has been asked to refrain from personal attacks. We can disagree with each other while remaining civil, can’t we?

  5. I agree with the poster above. I am sure there was and is more to the story than the child just blowing dandelions. As teachers know, we are blamed and accused of everything possible. Perhaps the child was doing something else that was distracting or dangerous?

  6. When I was in Junior High School, there was a rule in the dress code prohibiting “boots’. I think it was in response to “West Side Story”. Otherwise, what would be the problem? So, one day I had worn boots to school because my shoes had gotten soaked walking home from the bus stop the day before, in the snow. These were no “hoodlum boots”. They were round toed, beige, brushed leather, Dingo boots. I was sent to the principal, who was enraged by this obvious disobedience. He put his phone on speaker and dialed my father’s number. He told my father that he had me in his office, and he wanted my father to bring me some shoes. WHAT? My father said. “He’s not wearing any shoes?”. The principal replied, “No Mr. Manners, he’s wearing boots and that is not allowed. You have to bring him some shoes.” My father said, Well, that’s absurd. I’m not going to bring him shoes if he has his boots to wear.” The principal then said, “Well if you won’t bring him some shoes than I am suspending him and sending him home, because boots are not allowed.” “That’s okay, my father said, I’ll be right there to pick him up.” So, my father came and got me and we spent a great day together doing all sorts of cool stuff, and making things. I don’t think this was at all what the principal envisioned.

    1. These boots were made for walking…and thats just what they’ll do…one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you!!

  7. Suzy S. said it perfectly. Just because that is what he wrote on the form doesn’t lead me to believe that is the entire story. Teachers have to take fire drills and lock-down drills extremely seriously in a post 9/11 society. They are responsible for the safety of everyone in the classroom. One student acting inappropriately detracts the teacher’s attention from the situation at hand. Without being there, I would not trivialize or find fault with the teacher’s response to the situation.

  8. I find the responses from the teachers most interesting. Why do teachers feel the need to defend another teacher’s actions? I was a special education teacher for 10 years prior to having children and I can tell you that there are children who are not able to stand in a straight line and always follow the rules. When I was teaching I saw many teachers that were tenured that should not have been teaching.As a mom with 4 children, I can tell you my children have had a few of those teachers. I’m sure those teachers that responded are responsible and fair, but all teachers are not. As a mom and a teacher, you pick your battles. Blowing dandelions is hardly a hill to take a stand on. Speak to the child and ask them to stop, yes, but do not send home a behavior report.

  9. My son had a teacher in eighth grade who was incensed that his winter hat had a hole in the top (the Pom-Pom had come off). I never understood why it was her business, as she taught French and I didn’t see the correlation. Probably something else bothered her, but this is what she said. It’s hard to address issues when you don’t know what is really going on. Please note that I am not saying that there was no problem, just that she was practically purple in a rage about the hole where the Pom-Pom should be, and had no other complaint.
    I teach at a higher level, and I just want to add that these achievement tests, or whatever you want to call them, are meant to ensure that students who graduate are educated as well as socialized. College freshman who won’t read, can’t write, and who have no math skills are an embarrassment to our public school systems. And, there are many too many of them. If teaching to the tests results in academic performance, I’m all for it.

  10. As you said, Geoff, if there was more to it than just blowing dandelions, the teacher should have written the note herself or at least added to it if there was more. My younger son had a terrible temper when he was younger. It didn’t manifest in a physical way but if he was angry and you tried to reprimand him, he wouldn’t shut up. Threaten him with a day of no recess, he’d say “go ahead”. All he needed was a few minutes left alone to calm down and you could talk to him reasonably about his actions. Most of his teachers were very good with him and understood that but his 4th grade teacher was something else. She called me once to tell me “something had to be done” because he and a classmate had an argument at recess. When the classmate walked away, my son started throwing a basketball against a brick retaining wall to get his frustrations out. I asked her if he threw something at the classmate…no. Did he throw the ball at something that could be damaged?…no. Was what he was throwing breakable?…no. Then what was the problem? He has a temper. This young boy has grown up to become a medic in the Army Reserves and a paramedic and a volunteer firefighter who has been given awards for heroism after carrying a man out of a burning building. Yeah, something had to be done.

  11. I think we’ve all had a teacher like Mr. Mills. I loved Kimmel’s statement. My favorite part of the show.

    Let’s hope the student who had the audacity to blow on a dandelion puff (which I still do in my 50s), gets to say something similar in 20 years or so.

  12. What’s sad here is Eileen’s first comment about teachers being evaluated mostly on standardized tests, if the governor’s proposals are enacted. We’re loosing focus on real education.

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