Today I am writing to you about the joy you receive as a teacher when a student "gets it". However, it is not my student who "got it" but your first grade cousin.
A few weeks ago, your aunt and I received a note home from Maddie's teacher telling us she was looking on another student's math paper to complete her own. Due to this, Maddie's name was moved to the "Red" (a classroom management device in her first grade classroom indicating you did something wrong). The teacher told her the importance of doing her own work even if she finds math to be very difficult. When we talked with Maddie, we didn't show anger about the cheating. We were afraid doing so would only cause her to hate math even more than she did. We stressed that Mommy and Daddy want to see her do her best in math, even if her best wasn't a perfect score. We stressed we (Mom, Dad, and teacher) wanted to see what she did wrong so we could help her do it right.
In the past week, Maddie told us she was in the "Red" for cheating on math again. We wrote an email to her teacher, but her teacher assured us that was not the reason why she was in the "Red", and that the reason was trivial and she didn't need to inform us by a note (not that she was hiding it from us). Maddie likes to please and gets upset when she disappoints people, placing her in the "Red" will shape her up quickly, and it did, according to the teacher.
Reading the response, we realized that we needed to talk with Maddie about being upfront with us when we ask her what she did wrong (I think she thought we would be less mad about cheating and more mad about misbehavior). But a small line in the teacher's response made us realize our daughter got the lesson that cheating is wrong, and that all of us (parents & teacher) would rather see her do her best.
"She actually voluntarily goes to the back table to do her math so she won't be distracted. I am very proud of her"
That night, after talking with Maddie about being upfront with me, I asked her about sitting by herself for math. She said, "I want to do my own work and not look on someone else's paper."
SHE GOT IT! (tears welling up)