I have had a range of responses from a willingness to partner and a lack of response. One parent responded that they would work with me, but had noticed the student and I had a 'personality conflict.' I have to admit I was completely baffled by that comment. I thought perhaps the mother had misunderstood something because I don't have any personality conflicts, I just try to have an orderly classroom.
So, because I am who I am (the overwhelming need to get to the bottom of things), I asked the kid the next time he was in class. I said, "do we have a problem?" The fifth grade looked me in the eye, then stared at the floor, "Yes.....because, you know, we don't like each other." You could have knocked me over with a feather (though cliche, true). My messages about not blurting out and allowing others to talk were transformed in that kid into dislike.
I immediately cleared that up. Although I don't like his behavior, I have nothing but good feelings toward him. I explained that I need to keep the blurting down so that everyone has a chance to learn. He went back on his way to class, and I was left with these questions......How did this happen and how can I make sure this never happens again?
Anyone who has ever talked to me for very long knows that I love teaching and I love the kids....So, I need to find a way to have an orderly classroom and let them know that I care about them (even if I have to correct their behavior). I think I do a pretty good job of that, but there is obviously room for improvement with some kids.
The amazing thing is that now that the student knows I don't hate him, his behavior is vastly improved. This whole emailing parent plan has had at least one good outcome.