To the editor:
Allow me to share with you Cameron’s story. Cam is a very bright, charismatic, spirited boy. While he is often seen as a typical six year old some of his behaviour can be challenging. He can be defiant, mischievous and down right mean.
Cam entered kindergarten last year with 22 of his peers and one dedicated, experienced teacher. As an active parent volunteer I quickly noted that many of the children, including my own, exhibited behaviours that needed extra support in the classroom. Many children at this age have undiagnosed special needs and need support that the teacher was unable to give to each child due to her class size and composition.
I observed typical, well-behaved children receiving far less attention and support than those who were misbehaving. Most of the time Cam’s behaviour was negatively reinforced, he sat apart from his classmates and was not given an opportunity to thrive.
I do not blame his teacher. I was there. I saw first hand that she was constantly “putting out fires,” redirecting challenging behaviours, disciplining when needed and doing her best.
In his class Cameron was the rule, not the exception. Here is where I start to tear up—Cam is not excited to enter Grade 1, our little six year old twinnie does not want to go back to school where he says he will be “the bad boy.”
You see, having a kindergarten class with too many children in it and that is composed of many children with special needs and challenging behaviours has been a detriment to my child.
No one has told Cam that he is bad but that is the label that he has given himself based on the way that his behaviour was managed in school.
That a spirited six year old feels this way because there were simply too many children and not enough support in his class is a tragedy.
Step into my child’s shoes for a moment, look at the situation from his teacher’s perspective, view the problems in our classrooms first hand with me.
Until you walk in our foot steps it is hard to truly appreciate the gravity of the situation.
We must hold the line with our teachers in order to positively impact our future and the future of our children.
Do I support our teachers? You bet your bottom dollar I do! I plan on giving my $40/day bribe to the teachers who are standing up for our children and falling on financial hardship in the process.