Little Miss I is in a Kindergarten-1st grade split class. From the time the school year started up to date, the 3 kindergarten girls who started with her ended up either being transferred to another class or to another school, leaving my little daughter to be the only girl. That didn’t really matter, as she would go to another kindergarten class during the mornings to do reading essentials (and have more girlfriends in those classes), then do Math and Sciences at her split level class for the rest of the day.
However, because of a student overflow in the K classes, the school decided to keep the split-level kids in their classroom the entire day as of Tuesday this week. Little I was excited about it, but when she came back home that day, I immediately knew something was not quite right: she was irritable, made a huge scene out of something very trivial, and ended up crying her eyes out. I asked her what the problem was, as she had mentioned “just in passing” that her friends were calling her “Issa the ghost.” We’ve been trying to teach her that calling people names is not right, but she keeps trying to call her brother anything from “Hamstoyer” to “Little Goych” — which we don’t like at all. I asked her if her friends calling her Issa the ghost was upsetting her, and she came out and told me that all the boys in her class had ganged up on her calling her that — which she didn’t like. Digging even deeper I found out that it had all started with a little joke by her teacher; something had fallen from his table, and he said, “I wonder who that was… maybe Issa the ghost.” Issa said that when her teacher said that, she found it funny. But then, after that, the name apparently stuck. I asked her if she had said to her teacher that the moniker had stuck and was annoying her. She said no. I asked her if she had told her friends that she didn’t like being called that. She said no again. I asked why she didn’t say anything to anyone, if it was bothering her so much. Her answer was surprising to me: she didn’t want THEM to feel bad about making her feel bad. We talked some more about it, and she decided to write a note to her teacher saying that his calling her that had been funny to her, but then they were all calling her that and she didn’t like it. She felt more comfortable with writing what she was feeling. Later, when her dad came home and learned about the situation, they did a little role playing to rehearse telling her friends what she felt like without whining or making a scene.
The day after, she took the note to her teacher. And she was more than happy to learn that he didn’t feel bad about her telling him, but asked her to let him know when anything like that happened again immediately, so they could deal with the problem on the spot. In the end she learned two lessons: speak up when there’s something bothering you. And also, when you call people names, you make them feel bad. Anyone had had a similar problem? How did you deal with it?