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Upset by teacher’s actions, first-grader fearful of going to sc

By Marge Eberts and Peggy Gisler

King Features Syndicate

Q: My first-grader has been having a hard time with her teacher all year. The teacher yells a lot in the classroom. When children misbehave, they get a yellow (warning) or red (bad day) card that they have to bring home for their parents to sign. My daughter lives in fear of having to bring one of these cards home.

My daughter really loved kindergarten. Now she keeps saying she is sick almost every day in hopes that I’ll keep her home. When I ask why she doesn’t want to go to school, she says that she is afraid of the teacher. I have made an appointment to talk to the teacher. What should I say?

A: No first-grader should ever be so upset by a teacher’s actions that he or she is afraid to go to school.

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If your child is so intimidated by this teacher’s card system, more than likely others will have the same feelings.

The yelling must also send fear into many of the students.

Children in first grade are still very young and can find such behavior by teachers very upsetting.

Begin the conference with this teacher by explaining how unhappy your child is and how reluctant she is to go to school anymore.

The teacher could be surprised to hear this information.

Next, ask how the two of you can work together to make school a good experience for your child. You might suggest that the teacher talk to your child about how much she enjoys having your daughter in the classroom.

It sounds like this teacher needs to learn some classroom-management skills that are less threatening to such young children.

If things don’t turn around immediately after your conversation with the teacher, it is definitely time to visit the principal.

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There are experienced teachers who could be assigned to mentor this teacher.

It is very important that you stand firm and resolve this situation, as you want your child to be a happy learner at school.

You might be able to help your daughter by talking to her at the end of each school day about all the interesting things that happened that day to give a positive slant to her school day.

Q: Our English teacher lets us choose what we will read for book reports. I go to the library but rarely find a book that really interests me. What’s the secret to finding a good book?

A: With so many books in libraries, it can be very difficult to find a book that is right for you without some help.

Your school librarian should be able to talk to you about your interests and make solid suggestions.

Also, we have found that it can be helpful for students to ask their friends what books they have enjoyed.

And, of course, there are many book lists. One list that we always recommend is the International Reading Association’s Young Adults’ Choices.

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It reflects the votes of teen readers throughout the country. This list is online at www.reading.org under "Young Adults’ Choices."

Send questions to Dear Teacher, in care of the Post-Bulletin, Box 395, Carmel, IN 46082-0395; or e-mail: DearTeach@ aol.com.

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