On Monday I blogged about discipline issues in kindergarten. Anne from  Life Is Good left a comment  about a child that injured my foot and asked me how children get that way. I gave that some thought the last two days. I tried to think of what, from my experience, causes a child to misbehave  in school in a disruptive and at times dangerous way. Was the child I blogged about born angry or did that behavior develop over time?  I am no mental health professional so I can only answer from a kindergarten teacher's perspective. 

Some of the reasons I feel that children misbehave in school are due to:

  1. A lack of sleep: A sleepy child who hasn't had enough sleep can be cranky and irritable. I have had children come in and ask if they can take a nap first thing in the morning because a parent kept them out too late.
  2. Lack of parental involvement: The child I blogged about on Monday came from a foster home. It was not the first one he had been in. Children need consistency and stability. Many children with a learning disability have supportive nurturing parents to serve as an advocate. It is the child who has an absentee or disinterested parent who I found often developed behavior problems if they had a learning disability.
  3. Low self-esteem: The child mentioned above was covered with eczema. He did not feel good about himself.
  4. Coming to school hungry: I have had children misbehave because they were hungry and had not eaten since lunch the day before. It is very hard to concentrate when your stomach aches from hunger.
  5. High absenteeism: Children who miss a lot of days may often misbehave because they have gotten so far behind in their work.
  6. Inappropriate curriculum: I blogged about this before. Too often school systems try to turn children into little robots, squeezing them into a cookie cutter curriculum. As a leftie, I remember what it was like in first grade to be in a classroom where everything was designed for a right handed person. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Smiley, used to pull my ear if I did not write with my right hand. Imagine how a child feels when he or she is not getting the curriculum fit that is needed.
  7. Lack of a comprehensive evaluation: The bottom line is that  kids like the one I blogged about on Monday need a comprehensive evaluation. Often, children come into Kindergarten never having been to a therapist if they need therapy or having diagnostic testing and data completed. You can't tackle severe problems successfully without a comprehensive evaluation and good data.
  8. Ineffective school administration or teaching: I guess it sound like the pot calling the kettle black but in all honesty, over the years, I attribute some of the blame to ineffective teaching or administration. I have blogged about it before and I will blog about it again. You can't fit children to the curriculum. You must fit the curriculum to children!
I haven't had a behavior problem in the three years I have been in my current school. When I was in the public schools, I did not have many children like the child I blogged about on Monday. Just one child with severe problems can wreak havoc until he or she gets therapy and an individual education plan.

For most children, I have found that if a child is interested in what he or she is learning, there will be a motivation and excitement to learn! My goal as a teacher is to ensure that no child gets left behind...for any reason! Do I always accomplish that goal? I give it my best effort!

48 comments

  1. Alicia // March 31, 2010 at 10:51 PM  

    Good list!

    You're right... universities do need to prepare teachers for bad behavior better, and it's absolutely unfair to the rest of the class.

    The students who have the biggest behavior problems in my class this year seem to be spoiled rotten and lack any structure or discipline at home. When I asked one what he did while he was suspended he said he played on his X-Box! His mother swears up and down that he never throws fits at home, etc. but I know that she always gives him his way. His father is also a bad role-model...he cussed out the principal on the first day of school in front of children! I also notice the children at my school calling their parents ugly and telling them to shut up and the parents just smile! Go figure.

    Anyway,
    Enjoy your days off/Easter! I'll be waiting ever so patiently for that picture.

  2. VKT // March 31, 2010 at 11:05 PM  

    I promise I will get it for you tomorrow. When I was in the public school, if a parent started cursing at a teacher, I would walk up and ask him to leave the area because a child could hear him. I once asked " Is cursing and screaming at Ms. ... going to get you what you want?" The man stopped and looked at me. I replied "If you could calm down and tell her exactly what you want instead of cursing, I think you might be able to resolve this." She was a young teacher and asked me to come in with her so I did. The man needed to sound off and it ended up being a misunderstanding.

  3. Ms. Anthropy // March 31, 2010 at 11:41 PM  

    Though it didn't happen at school, when my granddaughter got out after school, if you spoke to her before she had some food or a snack, you could get downright injured. After something to eat, it was a whole different story.

  4. Sara // March 31, 2010 at 11:53 PM  

    Thanks for leaving a comment at my blog! I love your Dollar store idea! I have been hunting there, but have not found any jungle things, I did score some very cute one is fun paper plates, and napkins. I am hoping that they might get some jungle stuff, or I might be visiting another dollar store

    Have a wonderful week!
    Sara

  5. Bernie // April 1, 2010 at 12:55 AM  

    That list broke my heart but I know how true it is, when I think of the children in foster care it just breaks my heart. You are a wonderful and understanding teacher, I only wish we had more like you.......:-) Hugs

  6. Frugal Vicki // April 1, 2010 at 2:08 AM  

    So, I am guilty of one....and that is keeping the little guy up late. We struggle to get on a new schedule, and it is ALL our fault. Hubs works kind of late, we are all night owls, and since my son had sleep apnea for his first two years we all went to bed together, and now that is actually a special time, cuddling in bed. Selfish, I know, but I don't want to lose that, Daddy still wants to see them, and if I lay down, I fall asleep so I don't get anything done afterwards. But you have given me needed motivation to keep on schedule after spring break. If I fall asleep, I guess it is my body's way of telling me I need sleep, too. [p

  7. Theresa Milstein // April 1, 2010 at 7:30 AM  

    Terrific and true list!

    Lack of sleep and parental involvement go hand in hand. My friend is a social worker. She was assigned to help a kindergartner and his family because he was acting out in the classroom. Turns out that these well-off suburban parents were too permissive with their kid. When my friend taught them to actually parent, the child's problems actually disappeared!

    So it's not just poor people that mess up their kids. I can't believe how many children run their homes, but they don't really want to, so they act out.

  8. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 8:34 AM  

    Ms. Anthropy,

    Sometimes little kids will tell you and sometimes they won't. I try to get them to a place where they are comfortable telling me if they need a snack. This year's class hasn't had a problem. In fact, they help me with my diet at times....lol

  9. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 8:34 AM  

    Good luck Sara!

  10. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 8:37 AM  

    Vicki,

    You have good intentions and work hard at being a good Mom. That is what is important. In the past, I have had a child tell me his Mom took him to a nightclub with her. He was so out of sorts and tired. We let him take a three hour nap and it made a world of difference. Unfortunately, he missed a lot of instruction but I felt he needed the rest more. He could barely function when he walked in the door that morning.

  11. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 8:39 AM  

    Some parents do think that they are trying to do what is best by being permissive Theresa. Unfortunately, I have been one of them at times. My daughter is an only child and we have made mistakes in the past. Wouldn't it be great if we could take a parent 101 class.

  12. cherae // April 1, 2010 at 8:55 AM  

    I have a daughter in kindergarten, and it is true that if she is tired or hungry she is a completely different person. Just because they are big enough to be in school doesn't mean that they aren't still babies(well, a little bit). They throw fits when they are tired, hungry, or uncomfortable. She has really itchy skin sometimes and it makes her irritable. So I bet the kid with exema must have been really irritated. Grown ups are the same way, listen to how much we whine and complain when we don't feel 100%.
    As far as kids running the household, I think parents are having a tough time being authority figures because this generation grew up completely rebelling and having sort of melancholy anti establishment slacker type role models, and now we are grown up and we have to be "the man" and it isn't easy.
    I found that implementing a routine at home made discipline a lot easier, and less of a power struggle. Also, I use time out regularly and I take toys away.

    Kids are too spoiled these days, but its not all our fault. I haven't bought my kid any candy for as long as I can remember, but someone is always bringing it to her or toys or games. She doesn't get excited about gifts anymore so she is just like ok whatever and thats it.
    It's tough. This society completely infanitlizes it's children, doesn't give thier children responsibiliity. I know twelve year olds who don't make their own PB&Js, and then my 5 year old is showing them how.

  13. Velvet Over Steel // April 1, 2010 at 9:24 AM  

    This is another GREAT post! Learning from my own boys, one with AS & LD, along with running a daycare for 10 years.. you said it all so perfectly!!!! #2 effected my son terribly with his own day not accepting his disabilities and first trying to bully him into being normal and then being absent for 5 years. My son at 20 now told me the other day how much that damaged him and how he thinks he would of done better sooner if his dad had been there for him. I wanted to cry but I was so proud of my son for seeing that it wasn't his fault FINALLY!
    Love your post so much! You must be an Amazing & Awesome teacher!!!
    HUGS,
    Coreen

  14. Choices // April 1, 2010 at 9:33 AM  

    So very true. I see those things that you mentioned all the time. How a child behaves does come from the home. I believe it is not the child's fault, but where are the parents? It is the role of the parent to teach their children basic values, respect, right and wrong, and give them all that is necessary to be productive in life. Parents do make mistakes, but some parents just don't get it.

  15. Jenny // April 1, 2010 at 10:16 AM  

    This is an amazing post. This should be required reading for parents. With a test to follow.

  16. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 10:57 AM  

    You are right Cherae. Parents need to give their child responsibilities at home to help build up their self-confidence. When a five year old knows how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while a twelve year old doesn't, there is something wrong with that picture!

  17. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 11:05 AM  

    Velvet,

    I am so glad that your son doesn't blame himself now. How sad that his Dad wasn't there for him when he needed him. I wonder sometimes if parents realize the damage that inflicts on a child.

  18. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 11:07 AM  

    Anne,

    You are exactly right. Some parents just don't get it. I am thankful to be in a school now where all of the parents are interested in their child's well being. I am so fortunate to be working in my current Christian school.

  19. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 11:08 AM  

    Thanks Jenny. Glad you liked it.

  20. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 11:09 AM  

    Dear Bernie,

    I certainly did not mean to ignore your comment. Thank you for your kind words.

  21. Anne // April 1, 2010 at 4:43 PM  

    Thanks VKT! All of this makes so much sense.

    I guess that I can't control what others do, or how they raise their kids. All I can do is my best with my daughter, and I feel better being able to be involved in her classroom.

    Thanks for doing what you do!

  22. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 5:28 PM  

    I am so glad your child's teacher allows you to be involved in the classroom. Some teachers feel uncomfortable having parents come in. Personally, I have found that it eliminates a lot of questions by involving them. Have a happy Easter!

    Blessings!

  23. Katie // April 1, 2010 at 5:54 PM  

    I completely agree!! I know for a fact when my daughter is tired and hungry...schooling her is no fun! So, that is why...I refuse to change her bedtime schedule. Not only does she need her sleep...I need my time to "reflect" on the day. And while we don't do hot breakfast everyday, I notice that when she has a full tummy of eggs, grits or oatmeal...she does SOOOO much better than a tummy of cereal. Which is probably why the local school provides FREE breakfast to every student!

  24. GutsyWriter // April 1, 2010 at 6:06 PM  

    I have so many opinions on this as a parent, and as you may know, our family took care of bad behavior, defiance and other issues by moving our 3 kids, two of them teenagers to Belize to teach them gratitude. As parents, we also wanted to experience life in the slow lane where other things, like family time, take over material things. Some may find this radical, but it worked. Sometimes just getting your child "out of" a bad environment, whatever that may be, is the miracle.

  25. JeniLee // April 1, 2010 at 9:01 PM  

    My Paige is in Kindergarten now and I absolutely love her teacher. If she notices anything that Paige need improvement in she sends me an email or note and then I know what to work on. She doesn't wait until she gets behind and have her behind the class. I completely agree with everything you said. I put my girls to bed at 8pm every night and they eat a full breakfast before they leave. For a teacher to do their I feel a parent has to do theirs.

  26. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 9:13 PM  

    Wow....your district feeds every student. That is amazing. I am glad you have such a good read on your daughter Katie. You sound like such a wonderful Mom. Happy Easter!

  27. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 9:14 PM  

    If more Americans had your sense of values, our country would be in a lot better shape right now. Thanks for your comment Gutsy!

  28. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 9:15 PM  

    JeniLee,

    I am so glad Paige has a great teacher. She is absolutely precious. I am sure her teacher loves her! Thanks for your comment. I hope you all have a Happy Easter!

  29. Ms Bibi // April 1, 2010 at 10:02 PM  

    That's a great list. I've been involved with my son's Kindergarten class as a go-to-mom 2 years ago and now I am involved in kindergarten class with my nephew in the same school with the same fantastic teacher. I can relate to many of these as my son attends school with lots of under-privileged children.
    Few years ago the school started free everyday breakfast club to make sure they all had a good breakfast. They don't just give them a muffin and send them on their way, but they make them waffles, smoothies, breakfast wraps...it's wonderful and I think it made such a difference in the behaviour of the children. They started lots of evening activities for parents that need help in parenting.

  30. Sara // April 1, 2010 at 10:51 PM  

    Your post touched my heart and was a very good read that every parent should want to read!
    Have a wodnerful Easter weekend

  31. Veronica Lee // April 1, 2010 at 11:10 PM  

    I totally agree. This is indeed an awesome blog that every parent should read.

    Have a great day!

  32. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 11:11 PM  

    That's terrific Ms. Bibi. Sounds like they are on the right track. Evening activities for parents who need it is commendable.

  33. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 11:12 PM  

    You too Sara!

    Blessings

  34. VKT // April 1, 2010 at 11:12 PM  

    Thanks Veronica! You made my day!

  35. Sarah // April 2, 2010 at 10:22 AM  

    Thank you for being #300!!!

    I am your newest follower and I am sooo excited you invited me. I have a kindergartener and having issues with her being bullied right now. I will also have a kindergartner next year and the year after so I need to spend some time on your blog when I get a chance.

    Have a wonderful Easter!!!

  36. ♥Yaya's Mommy ♥ // April 2, 2010 at 12:04 PM  

    following you back. :)
    ~Cindi http://littleyayasandblessed.blogspot.com/

  37. The Beckers // April 2, 2010 at 8:31 PM  

    Following you back. :) Sounds like you have lots of experience with the kiddos. :)

  38. SugarPlumsMomma // April 2, 2010 at 9:58 PM  

    Following you back

    Christine
    www.sugarplumtreasures.com

  39. Missie // April 2, 2010 at 10:18 PM  

    Thanks for stopping by my blog via FF. I'm having so much fun today meeting new people. I'm now following you as well.

  40. Tatum // April 2, 2010 at 11:12 PM  

    Stopping by from FF & now following you!!!
    http://tatumsreviews.blogspot.com/

  41. VKT // April 2, 2010 at 11:46 PM  

    Ditto Sarah. Have a great day tomorrow!

  42. VKT // April 2, 2010 at 11:49 PM  

    Thanks a bunch Cindi...I look forward to getting to know you through your blog.

  43. VKT // April 2, 2010 at 11:50 PM  

    Thanks a bunch Beckers! I started teaching when I was 2!

  44. VKT // April 2, 2010 at 11:53 PM  

    Thanks Christine! Have a great day tomorrow.

  45. VKT // April 2, 2010 at 11:54 PM  

    Thanks Missie,

    I look forward to reading your blog regularly!

  46. VKT // April 2, 2010 at 11:54 PM  

    Thanks a lot Tatum. I appreciate it.

  47. Jen // April 3, 2010 at 2:09 PM  

    Thanks for stopping by from FF. I'm following you back :) Have a Happy Easter!

  48. VKT // April 3, 2010 at 6:26 PM  

    You too Jen!!!