Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Chatty Cathy

The lil one is a bright energetic little girl - who loves school.  And she has the most interesting outlook on the world...... everyone - and I do mean EVERYONE - is her friend.  Nothing wrong with that ...nothing at all.... unless of course it interferes with her learning ....... and affects her behaviours.

Ever since Kindergarten we have been told that the lil one talks too much in class.  This talking is interfering with her completing her work -- eating her lunch and with her staying focused on the task at hand.  We have been trying for 3 years to drill into her the need to listen and focus and to not talk so much.  

Last week we got a note from the teacher asking us to 'encourage the lil one to write more (during writing class) and to talk less.  We had a long chat with her -- again!! -- and told her if she didn't cut out this chatting then we were going to have to pull her out of dance class.  We reminded her of the rule - if school work starts to go down then no more dance........ that education comes first.  We thought we had found the right consequence ...... she LOVES her dance class.

Yesterday when she got home -- she explained why she hadn't finished her writing... she HAD to help the other kiddies at her table with their spelling!! - translation 'talking'  (le sigh)

BUT the thing that has irritated me the most -- when Sir Steve spoke with the teacher she went on about what a good writer the lil one was .. so we weren't to fuss ... WTF??!!  We know she writes/reads very well (beyond her grade level - she's been tested) that wasn't the point was it??!!  The point was to stop her talking - distracting the other children - disrupting the class and to get her work finished!

Then the lil one tells us the teacher has never told her to be quiet - to stop talking!!  IF that is true then I have to wonder what the hell is wrong with the teacher.   How are we supposed to stop the talking - we're not in the class the teacher is....... UGH!  When I was teaching I had chatty cathys for sure ... I would stay on top of them reminding them 'no talking' .. there would be weekly notes back and forth to the parents so they were up to date .......... and the child knew the parents were kept informed.  Obviously not the way it works now....... 

For now the lil one is not going to dance class tomorrow .....we also made sure she  understands SHE is in control of IF/WHEN she goes back to class....  
Sir Steve is gonna try and get an appointment to see the teacher tomorrow so we can sort this out face to face. 

I am not sure there is actually a 'fix' for our chatty cathy......... and that leaves me feeling just a bit impotent ........ and a whole lot frustrated.


  1. I had a chatty cathy too.. but truthfully, I used to laugh. Her one french teacher in high school told me he actually put her desk facing a corner but she was throwing notes over her shoulder! Here's the thing - it's part of their nature and yes, it's important to talk to them about it - but ultimately as long as the child's guardians support the school's consequences, there's NOT much you can do. Like you, I remember saying to a teacher (and this was about my youngest chewing GUM - which incidentally I never allowed in my houes)_ WHAT do you think I can do??? I'm not sitting there with her? I've told you to consequence her and I'll support it.

    Here's my two cents on the dance class... I think that's unfair. First, she clearly finds it a great source of comofrt and fun and she is GOOD at it - I always felt it crucial to have an area where we encourage where the kids excel - removing that just doesn't seem fair to me. But that's my take.

  2. Me again.. was thinking about this and just concerned that you don't make her resentful and angry - kids feel "unfairness" as you know keenly.

    With my one (the gum chewer)- eventually I met with the teacher (alone) and talked strategies (staying in at recess, consequencing by having to help teacher at lunch etc)- but things that were related to her behaviour AT SCHOOL. Then she, the teacher and I met and talked about these consequences. I won't say it worked perfectly but there was a clear cause and effect that she "got" - and understood. My eldest (the chatty cathy)- well she is STILL a chatty cathy but learned as she grew when it was appropriate and when it wasn't! As she's finishing up her Masters right now, I guess it didn't in the end impact her negatively!

  3. ok selkie- I understand how you feel over the dance classes --
    we see it this way - dance class is a choice ... and so is talking in class -- she has control over both... we feel - rightly or wrongly - she is testing us and the rules - we said in the summer when we were discussing the competitive dance group that school came first... and if there were problems in school then dance class would have to stop

    and I am sure in 15 years or so none of this will seem very important.

  4. Just want to throw out there that this is often how ADHD presents in girls. They frequently don’t show the stereotypical bouncing off the walls, so they’re much less likely to be identified than boys. Obviously that doesn’t mean every child who talks too much in class has ADHD, just something to consider... be sure you’re not punishing her for something she can’t yet control? Just my 2 cents as someone who wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my 30s.

  5. Xen I know all about ADHD as I worked with kiddies who had it as well as the rest of the alphabet soup (as I like to call it)

    We are doing the best we can as parents

  6. Morningstar,

    Oh the joys of school! Isn't it fun? I think you are doing a fabulous job with choices and consequences. School is important, even if she has an "alphabet soup", it doesnt matter, there still needs to be consequences. Adjust to their style of learning, sure, but if it is deemed a problem, and you have indicated the consequence, then consistency is the key.

    Of course, french immersion may be a great choice for a chatty cathy.

    You have got this Morningstar, I think you and Sir Steve are handling things great.


  7. thanks Boo -- she was home today (rotating teacher's strikes) and we had a long longgggggg talk... I pointed out that I knew she wanted to be a good friend BUT when she spelled words for her friends she wasn't helping them but doing their work for them... I reminded her how I taught her to read and write and it wasn't by doing it for her... and I pointed out that by talking she was distracting all her friends and that wasn't being a good friend either........

    we'll see if I made any impression on her at all

  8. Hi Morningstar,

    It sounds as though there are possibly mixed messages from the school? Is she disrupting class or not? I mean, if the teacher isn't saying or doing anything? The important question to me is whether her school work and learning is starting to suffer.


  9. I taught for thirty years I had lot's of Catty Cathys. Glad you are talking to the teacher face to face. But since this isn't a 'serious' problem, no guns or knifes involved, I'd let the teacher handle it and the repercussions. Sure you can encourage her to write more and talk less, but if she doesn't, let the teacher handle the consequences. She's the professional, she wants the change, she should have the tools to bring it about. Like this teacher I asked parents to encourage better behavior, and back the teacher on the consequences she chooses like silent lunch or the loss of recess. Then instead of you all being the bad guys and taking something she enjoys you can just commiserate if she is in trouble at school and point out that she has the power to change it. I'm betting her behavior isn't much different from every other little girl in the class.

  10. Oh one more thing. If I had a class of thirty kids, usually twenty-eight talked too much, but it was the other two I worried about.

  11. Sitting at tables together is bound to exacerbate the problem. Do schools not have individual desks any more?



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