By Kathy Glass, Consulting Educator
My fourth-grader comes home complaining about the student who sits next to him in class. Apparently they have their desks right next to each other and the boy who sits to the right of him is left-handed and they are always bumping elbows. Also he says the boy is very annoying, because he is always talking out loud and disrupting the class. I told him to bring this up to the teacher, and he says that she knows and does nothing. Today he said the class even got six minutes taken away from their fun time because of this student's outburst. I want to go to the teacher myself and ask her about this, but I'm not sure if I should intervene or let it runs its course. What should I do?
It is unfair for any student to disrupt the learning environment of a classroom and for a teacher to allow that to happen. Students who come prepared to learn are at a disadvantage when unruly students dominate a classroom. It sounds as though this teacher does not know effective discipline strategies to keep this child in line. Since your primary objective is your child, you need to be his advocate and be proactive. Go to the teacher and explain the situation. If there is no improvement, ask to meet with the principal. There are a number of books, videos and workshops on classroom management that would benefit this teacher. Hearing this from a fellow educator is important, so leave it to the principal to suggest resources or workshops. If all else fails, ask that your child be moved into another classroom where there is more teacher control.