CalIzTal
CalIzTal asks:
Q:

Should 2nd graders be allowed to choose their own groups in class?  How do I handle a concern with my daughter's teacher?

I just found out that my daughter's teacher has been allowing the students (2nd graders) to choose their own groups (semi-permanent seats in class, not a special project group).  My daughter advised me that she was left sitting by herself because nobody wanted her in their group.  One girl said she was "annoying".  I am, of course, upset about this; but my daughter really seems to not care.  Supposedly she is getting moved to another group on Friday.  Why not today?  My daughter advised that the girls in that group are making something special for her and do not want her there until they are done.  Why are the children in the control seat in choosing the groups, but also in the timing?  Allowing the children to choose their own group promotes segregation and cliques at this early age, which is not acceptable.  I want two things: For the teacher to hear my feelings, but to also have the teacher speak to the class about how we treat other people.  I have never heard a complaint about my daughter, the feedback every report card is that she is a kind, thoughtful student who shows genuine concern for her classmates; not to mention great grades and effort.

How should I handle this with the teacher?  I almost want to stop by the school to confirm my daughter is sitting by herself (another student's mother already mentioned her daughter told her my daughter had to sit alone).  Do I include the principal?  I am just furious and in tears about this.
In Topics: Working with my child's teacher(s)
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Lonnie K. Chin
Dec 30, 2015
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What the Expert Says:

Dear CalizTal,  It's disturbing to hear that your daughter might be isolated.  Go and speak directly with your child's teacher to find out exactly what is going on.  Occasionally, teachers will allow students to choose partners as a social exercise to identify friendships or cooperative working teams, but they are usually not permanent assignments.  Let your daughter know how thoughtful, kind and a decent person she is as indicated by her teacher as well as her good grades.  Tell her you are proud of her and that the teachers often change seating groups to make sure that students get along.  Continue to encourage her to do her best and be a good role model as an excellent student and friend.  Work with the teachers to make sure that all students, including your daughter, are included in all activities and taught to work  together with respect and inclusiveness.       Good Luck!      LKC

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