I hate to say it, but thank goodness kindergarten is over! This year has been rough to say the least. As I have mentioned before, Cohen has always been my good kid. He is caring, respectful and super helpful. But this year, something changed—and not for the better.

“School Is Awful”

It started in November. Cohen woke up every morning, chanting “school is awful.” I shrugged it off thinking he didn’t want to get up in the morning. Then, we received an email from his teacher saying Cohen continues getting more and more “safe seats.” These are like timeouts at school.

I was totally surprised. He’d never had any issues in preschool. In fact, his teachers cried when he left and he had lots of friends. I was a little beside myself.

His teacher thought it would be helpful for him to have a star book. This was a new concept for me. Growing up, we didn’t have “safe seats,” “think seats,” or a star book. Basically, it meant he would have a set goal, and each hour, the teacher would give him a star if he followed directions and didn’t get into trouble. If there was an issue, the teacher would leave it blank. At the end of the week, if he met his goal, he would get some sort of a reward. Again, this was new for me, and I wasn’t use to giving him rewards instead of a punishment. It’s all about the positive reinforcement.

But the “star book” seemed to help, and he looked forward to his reward on Saturdays. The rewards included picking out a dessert, picking where to eat lunch, what fun place we could go to, or what movie we could watch. If we made it through the week without receiving an email from his teacher, I would be pleasantly surprised.

“The Super Cool Stupid Group”

Week-to-week, we would receive emails about Cohen bothering another student, not following directions, arguing with the teacher and even pushing another classmate. I didn’t understand what had changed over the course of a couple months. Was it the teacher? Was he being bullied? Where did he learn this behavior?

When I asked Cohen about his day, he would have a meltdown, crying and asking to go to his room. He didn’t want to talk about his day when I knew he got in trouble. So one day, out of the blue, I started asking him random questions about his school: who he sat with at lunch, who he played with at recess, if he liked his teacher, what his favorite subject was, etc.

He answered all of my questions with no problems, but he did say that there was a group of kids he referred to as “The super cool stupid group.” I asked him what he meant by that, and he said they would make fun of you because they could run faster, read quicker and were smarter. I was shocked. He then grabbed his class picture and pointed the kids out to me. I had no idea bullying started at such a young age.

My husband and I reached out to his teacher, but she claimed she was unaware of what was going on but would keep an eye out for it. I asked Cohen if there was anything I could do to help with these students or how he could manage his anger. He said he has been counting to ten and telling them “no, thank you” and getting the teacher. I also opted for him to talk to the school counselor. He said that he would if this kept happening.

We finished the school year without needing to talk to the school counselor, but I’m still not sure if he was being bullied or what exactly changed, but I’m hoping next year with a new teacher and classmates will be better. I don’t want him to keep hating school. Bring on first grade!

Mallory Connelly

Mallory Connelly

Babies & Toddlers

In addition to the time I devote to being a mom, I also work full-time outside the home, which means my day is hardly ever as simple as nine to five. With an all-too-established schedule, as soon as I walk through the door, my day doesn’t end, but rather just begins. It’s a balancing act, especially with two children, but being a mom is one full-time job that I never want to quit!

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