t is for tattle tale

we finished pre-k conferences last night…a time when i think of each child in a new way.  when i imagine them in a new setting, usually in a more traditional classroom setting.

and i get protective….and feisty.

2008-2009 graduates

my simple requests:

i ask now that none of these kids be considered a tattle tale.

i ask that when a child brings a concern, it is met with eye contact and attention.

i ask that when a child tells you that someone’s pencil dropped on the floor, you thank them for letting you know.

i ask that when a child tells you that someone is being mean to someone else, you take that as a sign that you can do more in your classroom.

i ask that when a child cries and whines about the same thing everyday, you receive that as his hurt that needs your attention.

i ask that you remember it doesn’t take much to help a child feel safe.

i ask that  you don’t consider children tattle tales.  even if they are just “trying to get someone else in trouble,” doesn’t that point to a need in the so-considered tattle tale?

tattle tale

oh, i get defensive of these children as they prepare to leave the nest.

i know there are wonderful, wonderful teachers in traditional classrooms.

i know there are always different ways we can care for the children in my classroom.

i know i do not have all the answers.

but i also know these children and from the depth of me, wish them well.

okay, stepping down from the soap box now.

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17 thoughts on “t is for tattle tale

  1. k

    Sorry everyone… but I have to disagree. There is tattling in my classroom. If you are only telling me something to get someone in trouble, and it is not important, was unintentional and no one was in any danger, then I don’t really need my lesson interrupted to hear about it. I have 30 children in my kindergarten class in an inner city school, and there is no way possible for me to address every “report” of wrong doing. We also aren’t able to have the class stop what they are doing until the child who is crying is cared for. (Especially if they are crying for something like not getting the pencil they wanted, or not being first in line)…

    I am sure to teach the difference between “reporting” to keep someone out of trouble, and “tattling” just to get someone in trouble. I have them think about whether what happened was on purpose or by accident, and if it is important or not important. (We even have a chart in the classroom). If I have a child announce to the whole class “MS C … Sarah was whispering during rest time!” then I will be sure to speak to them about tattling. “I’m glad you were doing the right thing at rest time, but I’m worried that might be a tattle tale”…

    I think the social repercussions for the tattler telling on someone like that, is worse then a child “getting away” with a whisper that my keen teacher ears didn’t even hear.

    They are encouraged to tell me about what someone else is doing if it is disrespectful, dangerous, important or on purpose. If they tell me that someone burped and didn’t say excuse me, I just say something like “oh, I’m glad you know what the polite thing to do is… and be careful not to tattle tale.”

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  2. z

    Just took my child out of kindergarten not so much because of the 3 or 4 five year old “bullies” but because of the incompetent adult in the room who would tell the children to “just ignore him/her” anytime they sought her assistance dealing with the harm being done to them. She told me at the beginning of the year that I could be assured of no bullying in her class. It was worse than I could have ever anticipated and she did not tell the parents when their children needed help. I sure hope her teacher next year is better. Hope it ok to print this out and keep in my purse. I’m going to ask the next teacher what they think of it and hope I get a good answer!

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    • Kristin Neufeld Epp

      yes! and i hope you get the answers you need. i wish it wasn’t so hard to make the world feel safe for our youngest ones.

      take care.

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  3. Allie

    Brought tears to my eyes, I hope my son will have teachers like you. I have always aimed to do the same in my classrooms and never feltit extra work to really listen to my students.

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  4. rachel

    oh kristin, i am in tears. i have such hopes for next year’s transition, but apparently some real fears as well, given the strong emotions that your words evoked. thank you, thank you, thank you.

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  5. sara

    i found your blog from reading whatever. i love your perspective on things. how i hope to find a preschool teacher like you for my kids. thank you for this post, it’ s a great one!

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  6. prairie daze

    yes, yes, yes….teachable moments!

    so often i will call out, “Announcement! Announcement!” and share with the class the concern brought to me.

    mostly i am interested in fostering empathy. Just the other day i asked that if someone is crying in the classroom, please stop your work until that person has been cared for.

    we’ve had many discussions of why we think someone is always feeling left out or like people are being mean.

    yes, i’d love to hear more on this too!

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    • teacherruthie

      Fostering empathy is not my strongest area. I’m still working on it. I like the idea of group discussions regarding other’s feelings. I have tended to do that with just one or 2 children at a time.

      I try hard to teach children the skills to deal with problems on their own. It surprised me when I first figured out that so many children came to me saying someone took their toy without ever saying a word to the other child- and how often the other child did not even know the 1st child was playiing with it. Depending on the developmental level of the child sometimes all they need is a reminder. Other times a child must be coached to know what to say, etc.

      Of course when the child has told the other child and the response has not been appropriate, then we get into some more issues. This year’s group has been especially difficult with some children who have been taught to bully – – and other issues. But we have come a long way.

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  7. teacherruthie

    It would seem that what is important is to make those “tattle tale” incidents into learning experiences. I would love to hear how others do this.

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  8. shelley

    I wish every student, teacher, and caregiver felt the same way you do. I know I would not worry as much for my own children as I do now.

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  9. gabi m

    i am agree with you. there is no such thing as a tattle tale. i have encouraged my daughter to speak up when something is “not right.” she has told me many many times that someone is being picked on but they don’t ask for help for fear of being a tattle tale. my daughter knows it’s an injustice and asks me what to do. i always say there is no such thing as tattle tailing, to bring the concern to her teacher. one teacher with 21 children, no assistant. it must be a challenge…thank you for this post.

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