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Is it appropriate for a 4th-grade teacher (whose students are 9 years old) to assign a student to monitor the classroom and record the names of those who do not remain quiet when the teacher is absent for a brief period (such as when using the restroom or making copies)?

Our child is experiencing problems with another student who took on this responsibility and recorded his name.

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  • How does the teacher use the information that someone was written up for talking? Apr 29, 2023 at 13:54
  • @BartvanIngenSchenau If someone is repeatedly noted down, the teacher may address the issue, potentially resulting in being asked to stand outside of the class.
    – MichaelD
    Apr 30, 2023 at 6:33

1 Answer 1

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"Is it ok...?" depends on opinion and interpretation (it's certainly not illegal), but if you ask, "What are the downsides of...", that's easier to answer. I'll address that if that's ok. :)

It is very unwise to do as that teacher has done for several reasons, the primary one being exactly the situation your child has experienced.

  • It is pitting one child against their classmates, setting the child up for potential retaliation of some kind.

  • It is placing a child in a position of authority (without actual authority) over children of the same age.

  • It is a lazy way for the teacher to "keep order" in the classroom while they are absent.

  • It can be perceived as favoritism (teacher's pet) by the other students, fostering some resentment.

  • It reflects badly on the (inappropriately?) authoritarian teacher.

  • It sets kids up for punishment instead of praise.

A teacher is responsible for the social well-being of all the children under their care while they are under their care. That teacher did the opposite. A wiser move on the teacher's part would be to give the kids something to work on while they are out: a puzzle, a math problem, a maze, a reading assignment to be discussed on their return, etc.

It is also unreasonable for the teacher to expect nine year old children to remain completely quiet while unsupervised. IMO, a teacher can do the above, or can allow quiet discussion (whispering only, without leaving their seats) and praise them if they choose to obey, or praise them for completing a task assigned, etc.

If the teacher insists on absolute silence when they are absent, they should arrange for another adult to supervise the classroom while they are out.

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