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Dreaded Phone Calls from School

Posted by on February 22, 2012
If you have a child in school, you know what I’m talking about. The phone rings, you look at it and see the phone number is the schools, you panic, and then you answer.

"Uh-Oh!"

I would say there are a few types of dreaded calls from school.

  1. Your child is sick
  2. Your child is hurt
  3. Your child was bitten
  4. Your child got in trouble
Unfortunately, we have been getting a few dreaded phone calls from school lately. I don’t think I’d say one type of dreaded phone call is “better” than the other. However, I can really say I’m not enjoying the phone calls that tell me that my son is in trouble. This has been going on for about a month now. Perhaps, since school started back up in January. Let me flash back to October for a minute…

We were in Rhode Island, and my son was thriving. He was on the boys’ gymnastics team and his teachers gave stellar reports at our conference meeting. They told me that he is a kind boy, that he considerate of others and likes to make sure everyone is involved, and that he is doing well with his lessons. He even told me, “Mom, John has to go to the office all of the time. Can you believe that? I can’t imagine not listening to my teacher.”

Now, in the present, he is the boy not listening to his teacher. He gets angry and doesn’t know how to calm himself down. So what happened, I wonder? Well, we moved over 5,000 miles for one.

Lessons learned:

  1. Avoid Moving During the School Year
  2. I think when they start out in the middle of the year, they feel like the new kid longer. Everyone else has already had a chance to acclimate with each other. Now, in the military life, this just might not be possible. Which brings me to #2.

  3. Contact Teacher Beforehand
  4. I thought I was doing everything right. I called the school to let them know exactly which day my boys would be starting. I made some assumptions in doing this. I assumed, they would have told the kids in the class. I assumed, the teachers would be welcoming them. I assumed wrong. I dropped of my oldest son and the teachers looked at me like I had 2 heads. Luckily, I knew his teacher’s name so they quickly recovered from their perplexed faces and guided him to his class. I wasn’t worried because he is very good at acclimating into new situations.

    Dropping off my younger son was more of a mess. Not only, did the teachers not know he was coming, they stood there and argued with me about it in front of him. My younger one was my preemie. He is much more apprehensive and reserved. He is nervous about new situations. You see, they had given his “spot” away by mistake. He had no cubby, in fact, there was no room for a new cubby. Oh, we were furious. We did our best to hide it from our youngest though, but he cried when he had to leave. All of this could have been avoided if I had contacted the teacher ahead of time. My girlfriend who also moved from RI at the same time, but to VA, actually met with the teacher and her child before her child was to start class. I highly recommend this.

  5. Maintain Extra-Curricular Activities
  6. My son LOVES gymnastics. Yes, he is only 6, but he is a daredevil. The day I walked in and found him doing flips from his bunkbed, I realized I had better sign him up so at least he can learn how to do it safely. He got lessons and his teacher thought he should join the team. He went twice a week for two hours and never complained about it. I believe he might be missing this. I thought it would be better to ease into the new environments, but now I’m thinking I should have signed him up right away so that the move wasn’t as drastic for him.
So the dreaded phone I got this past Thursday was that my son was suspended from school for Friday. Wow, from one extreme to the next. So, I am making calls about gymnastics. I am also making calls to see if he can talk to someone about what he is experiencing. I know the Navy has Fleet and Family Services that help with this. What do they call it for the other branches?

Any tips you all want to share with me? I desperately need to get my boy back on track.

Oh, and if you haven’t entered to win the free Armed Forces Office Chair, make sure you check it out. Right now we only have 15 entries, so you have pretty good odds!


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5 Responses to Dreaded Phone Calls from School

  1. Brandie Nelson

    I am going to pray that his acting out is simply the adjustment and not something more nefarious going on. Keep a close eye on him and if he says or does anything that seems not quite right, trust your instincts. Don’t take anything for granted. The most common response from the families of victims is that they never thought it would happen to them. Good luck to you.

  2. Krista

    I know that some bases have a Child and Youth Behavioral Military and Family Life Consultant. There was one in Hawaii and I just discovered yesterday there’s one here on Guam. I found about about them from the school nurses. I am currently dealing with near-daily trips to the nurse’s office from my 6th grader since his father left for deployment almost 2 months ago, so I can definitely relate to the sinking feeling in the stomach every time the phone rings. =( I got a referral from his doctor for a counselor at the Naval hospital and after my having a meeting with the counselor on Tuesday she thinks it may just be an adjustment disorder. He goes in for his appointment with her on Monday, so I have hopes that that will help with whatever’s going on in his sweet little head these past couple of months… Good luck and hang in there!!

  3. Monique

    I’m sorry to hear that your son is having a hard time adjusting. I’ve been through this with my daughter. I have two questions for you: 1. Has he given you a reason why he is acting out? 2. Can you move him to another class? He may not like the teacher. He may be use to a teacher that is attentive to him and maybe since he is new she is not really paying him much attention. Some teachers are not good at building relationships with kids. They just see their job as strictly teaching. Also, she may have an opinion of him based on the negative things that he does. Who knows. I would talk to him first, he knows why he is acting out. I think that you are doing a good thing in finding something for him to channel that negative energy that he has. And if that doesn’t help, I would take him to a counselor that can give him the tools to help him deal with his emotions.

    • ArmyBrat

      It’s never easy on the new kid in school. My brother and I were lucky in that at least we always had each other, but when you move anywhere from every six months to every three years….well even that gets a bit tiresome.

      One thing that always helped us has continued into my own life now as a parent. Each move includes a built in “Check out the area” trip. As soon as word comes down about the next move we schedule a trip to scope out the area schools and investigate the housing. Searching online has been a real blessing these last few years! We always make an appointment with the new schools attendence secretary to tour the school during the school day. It gives the kids a chance to see the kids and staff in action, look at the campus and get introduced to the grade level teacherrs they will have. We also make sure that the tour takes place towards the end of the school day so we can talk to those teachers after hours. We bring copies of the kids records along with current examples of work so the teachers are not thrown for a loop with a new kid they no nothing about skills wise. The kids get a chance to see what is going on in the grades they will be entering as well. We always make sure to schedule these tours with enough lead time so the teachers know about the trip and what we will be asking.

      With kids in grades 1-11, believe me when I say we have hit almost every bump there is. This system has worked well for us.

  4. matzomom

    I struggled with this issue last year with my son. He has always been liked by his teachers but at times he would act out and get a trip to the principal. Maybe 1 or 2 times between grades K and 1, not bad considering he has a pretty good case of ADD/ADHD. Then last year around this time in grade 2 we sent him to school only to get a phone call that he was suspended the friday before. They said they sent a note home but we never got it, we also found out that in one month he had over 14 office referrals. Never once were we contacted. So we hauled our son off to therapy and during therapy it came out that Jake hated his teacher because his teacher stopped working with him and he felt that he was hated in class. Needless to say we took him out of the school and this year he is thriving. We have had a few calls from the school as Jake now has another diagnosis that requires interventions and they must obtain our permission to use them. But I say look into how the teacher views your child. He may just be reacting to their bad vibes.

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