25 answers

Writing an Apology Letter to the Teacher for Bad Behavior.

If your child got in trouble with her teacher for being rude during class and the teacher punished your child appropriately at the time of the infraction, would you also make your child write an apology letter to the teacher as well? My daughter is in kindergarten and speaks out of turn or shouts out often and is working on controlling her outbursts. She has gotten in trouble for it before but this last Friday she was exceptionally rude and was made to sit outside in the hallway while the rest of the students were allowed computer time. She was in tears about it but it was her own fault and I'm glad she was punished right then and there.

My mother is visiting and thinks this should be the end of the story, however I want her to write her teacher an apology letter telling the teacher what she is sorry for and that she is going to try and do better. In the end, I ignored my mother and I sat down with my daughter to help her compose the letter. My mother still thinks it was too much and I want to know if I'm so far off the pulse of normal by having my kid write: "Dear (teacher's name here), I am very sorry for being rude on Friday. I'm also sorry for shouting out in class. I will try and be better. " She signed it and drew a picture of herself holding her teacher's hand.

This teacher is a wonderful lady and I feel so badly that my kid made her day difficult. The letter wasn't very long but it did take a little time since every letter had to be painstakingly crafted by her own little hand. We used that time to reflect on what she did and how her behavior affected the teacher and the rest of the class. In the end I'm glad I had her write it... but I have a trickle of doubt coming from the direction of my mother that maybe I was too hard on her. Was I? Did I give her a "punishment on top of a punishment" as my mother said?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your replies. They are appreciated, but I think my feelings are still a bit split, just as the responses here seem to be. To answer a few questions that were asked, my daughter is one of the older students in the classroom. She turned six just as the school year started. She's learning the hard way that she doesn't always get a chance to answer a question. That sometimes there is only time to hear two or three students and then the teacher must move on. For a time she stopped raising her hand and would just call out whatever she wanted to say because she knew that there was a chance the teacher wasn't going to call on her even though her hand was raised. She's doing much better with that but she still slips up. She's learning she just can't shout out and talk without raising her hand because she's not the only person in the room and has to share the teacher's time.

Friday was a bad day because she not only shouted out without raising her hand during the beginning of the day, she was very very rude to her teacher later in the day during computer time. Once a week, on Fridays, the kids get to walk to the computer lab where all the computers are ready and loaded up with the appropriate program so the kids can just file in and sit at their places to begin their lesson. However, this last Friday, the aide that normally gets the computers ready for the class wasn't there or didn't get them ready for whatever reason so my daughter's teacher had all the students line up along the wall and wait while she moved from machine to machine, booting them up and getting them loaded.

My impatient daughter managed to wait quietly through half the setup process before stomping her little foot and yelling out to her teacher, "You are WASTING our time! You are wasting ALL our computer time!" And her teacher turned around, told her that was a totally inappropriate thing to say and that her impatience bought her a one way ticket to the hallway while all the other kids would have their computer lesson without her. I was told that she sat in the hall and cried.

After hearing all this I was mortified. Completely embarrassed. I was glad the teacher didn't let her participate in the activity after that terribly unacceptable outburst. I wasn't sure how to deal with it at that moment with all the kids and mothers milling about during the after school pick-up rush, so I apologized to the teacher and told my daughter I was very disappointed in her behavior and we'd talk about it later. Her teacher then handed me a book she checked out from the school library entitled, "Manners in the Classroom" and I read that to my daughter every night in lieu of her normal bedtime selections until we turned it back into her teacher Monday morning.

Around Sunday night, after we had a nice weekend with grandma (she arrived that Friday, just in time for all the hullabaloo, so that's why she feels invested in the process) I sat down with my daughter and we had a heart to heart about how she handled herself and helped her to realize that her shouting at her teacher didn't make the computers boot up any faster. I asked her how she would feel if someone yelled at her the way she yelled at her teacher. We talked about how it was sad that things weren't properly set up like they should have been but sometimes things don't always go the way we expect, but we have to keep our temper and have patience even when we are very frustrated. She agreed and said, "Because if you don't you get stuck in the hallway all alone." So she remembers the incident and her punishment in school and appears to be appropriately contrite. I told her that I thought it would be a good idea if she wrote an "I'm sorry" letter to her teacher. I asked her if she wanted to tell the teacher she was sorry and she said she did. So she got her colored pencils and her notepad and sat on the couch with me while I helped her spell most of the words. In addition, I thought this would be good handwriting practice because she's always reversing her s when she writes, and this apology letter had a fair number of s's to work on. Two birds, one stone and all that.

I hope that clears up a few things. I think I'm OK with having had her write the letter and this is all behind us now. I just really wish none of it happened in the first place. I felt really disarmed when I picked her up that day. She's been a handful because she has trouble staying quiet when it's time to be quiet, which is a rudeness in its own right, but she was never outright RUDE to anyone in particular like she was this last Friday. This was a new infraction that I couldn't just shake off as "kids being kids". I know kids have impulse control issues, like sometimes not being able to wait to yell out, "I LOVE THE WHOLE RAINBOW" when the teacher asks the class, "What is your favorite color?". But spewing impatience, ire and unkindness in the direction of someone who has done nothing but bend over backwards to help you progress through the deep ocean of education seemed to require something extra. The apology letter seemed like just enough of a something extra to put things to rights in my mind. My mother's input made me doubt myself.

Featured Answers

I guess I don't see having her write a letter of apology as a punishment. Isn't apologizing what we are supposed to do in situations like this?

9 moms found this helpful

You aren't too hard on her. Writing a letter is not punishment, either. Punishment was given by the teacher. The letter is atonement for her behavior. You are teaching her to become self aware.

7 moms found this helpful

I think it's great and appropriate.
I had my son write a similar letter to his teach in 1st grade when he got in trouble for talking too much. It's a lesson learned in "manners" and if they are being rude in class then they shold apologize and a written letter is a great way to do it at that age. It's something that is beyond "punishment", it's more of a lesson in manners and doing what is right.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I guess I don't see having her write a letter of apology as a punishment. Isn't apologizing what we are supposed to do in situations like this?

9 moms found this helpful

You aren't too hard on her. Writing a letter is not punishment, either. Punishment was given by the teacher. The letter is atonement for her behavior. You are teaching her to become self aware.

7 moms found this helpful

Well.... I see your mom's point, and it wouldn't have been a mistake to have left it at that. BUT... I think you are awesome for taking charge of the situation. So many parents anymore blame the teacher, the other kids, this and that. No one just says my kid made a mistake and suffered the consequence. You rock, and your daughter is lucky to have you.

Your daughter didn't scream and cry through the writing of the letter, I think it cemented the lesson for her, that this was not acceptable behavior. My hope (and thought) is that this gives the teacher the opportunity to have a final conversation with your daughter to say thank you admitting the mistake, maybe why it's important to behave, and then hopefully love on your daughter a little. If the teacher is wonderful as you say, this is a way for them to 'make up' and move on.

So bottom line- it would have been fine to not do this, but I think there is a lot of value in it. And btw, I don't see writing the letter as another punishment, it is an apology, and your daughter was not traumatized in writing it. Way to go mama!!

6 moms found this helpful

Your mother is right. She isn't a 5th grader, N.. She is very young and is struggling to control herself. What is really going to happen is that you're going to paint her into a corner so that she'll be so stressed about this that her behavior will get WORSE. And she'll be writing I'm sorry letters every day. Is that what you really want???

You are expecting her to understand and process like a much older child and she is not capable of it.

Yes, you are being too hard on a child who is already contrite, crying about her failures and wanting to comply. You need to let the TEACHER give her consequences.


6 moms found this helpful

My kids are almost done with school .. my oldest has graduated from high school, my middle child is a senior and the youngest is a freshman in high school.

However, they KNEW if they got in trouble at school they also had to deal with whatever I decided to do with the situation. They KNEW they were to respect their teachers AND their classmates by trying to do their best to behave and make the classroom a good learning environment for EVERYONE in the class. No ifs ands or buts about it.

I think you did the right thing. You had her own up to her own behavior, acknowledge that SHE was in the wrong, discussed ways to work on doing the right thing in the future and learned how to say "I'm sorry" in a heartfelt and appropriate way. I think it was just enough "extra" to drive the point home that certain behaviors will NOT be tolerated.

Now ... had you grounded her for a week on top of it also ... then I would have said you're being a bit harsh LOL

Edited to add: I lived in Santa Rosa for 7 years and miss it BADLY :) My kids went to school there too :) And all the teachers we had were GREAT :) PM what school she goes to :)

5 moms found this helpful

I think you did well. It reinforces the fact that she cannot get away with that behavior with you or the teacher.
Most parents have the attitude that she was punished and no more needs to be addressed on the issue. Eventually it becomes a problem. BUT by doing this your daughter will remember and understand that her behavior will affect her at home as well as in school.
Remind mom that she needs to be grandma and leave the parenting to you.

4 moms found this helpful

I'm a teacher and I think this is a wonderful idea. It teaches empathy and, if nothing else right now, negatively reinforces her poor behavior, hopefully discouraging her desire to repeat it. What is too hard on her about it? We take responsibility for our actions and humble ourselves and apologize when we're in the wrong. This lesson (repeated over and over) will help her to be successful in many different types of relationships in the future.

I think too many parents are way to light on teaching their kids these things, personally. As a result, kids are entitled and don't know how to communicate or commit to things. They just bow out when things get awkward. I think you did well here, mom!

4 moms found this helpful

Exactly something I would have my daughter do.

4 moms found this helpful

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