Guilty Conscience

The last two years, Tad came home every day with a notebook that detailed how his behavior had been that day.  It was one of the things I knew I would miss about the CLC, because I really appreciated getting that feedback.  I was pretty certain that the mid-level was not going to be able to do that as well.

Well, they don’t.  But they do something similar.  Tad comes home with a chart every day.  The kids earn stars on their chart for 4 things: raising a quiet hand, showing respect, following directions, and sitting “ready steady.”  Stars are earned for following these rules during the time blocks of the day, and on Friday, the number of stars is added up and the kids earn a trip to the prize box, where their number of stars determine which drawer they can select a prize from.

I think it’s a pretty effective carrot, myself.

Anyway, when Tad doesn’t get stars at certain times, the teacher and para will sometimes scribble little notes – like “throwing sand at recess.”  We’ve seen that one a lot.  So I’m getting some feedback on his behavior every day.

Well, on Tuesday he got off the bus with an extremely guilty look on his face.  And before I could even ask how school was, he was spilling his guts out.

“Mama.  I not get star today because I stuck my tongue out at Ms. J.  I was really naughty.  And Ms. J said never do it again and I got in trouble and I not get a star.  Mama, I so sorry and I never do that again.”

It took me a minute to catch up with what he was trying to tell me, but I finally did.  We had a little talk on the way home about how sticking your tongue out (especially at a teacher) is absolutely not allowed.

“You understand me?”  I asked.

He nodded.  And then he said, “Mama, I hit a boy at recess.”

Which was also on his chart, once we finally got in the door and I unpacked his backpack.

I think the school honeymoon is officially over.  Now he’s testing his limits, and hopefully we’ll find an even keel soon.  But I find it  very interesting that he needed to unburden his conscience to me immediately.  I’m not sure if I should be pleased at his confession or mortified at his behavior.  Perhaps a little bit of both.

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