Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Bilingual Trouble

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My fourth-grader hates school. He's constantly in trouble with teachers and bus drivers and has problems with other children. Next year he will be attending his fourth new school in five years. I believe a big part of my son's problem comes from the bilingual program he is in. He started out in a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten class in a bilingual school and was asked to leave in first grade to go to an all English program -- they felt he may have a learning disability and would do better in an English-only program. Then we moved to a different town and our son was mandated by law to attend a bilingual program. He has never enjoyed school but since this move he has learned to despise it, and is now increasingly angry, frustrated, and acting out aggressively.

I have spoken to his teachers and their response is to be much stricter. They mock him in class -- especially the French teacher, who went so far as to have other students write notes home to me about his misbehaviors in class.

Next year he will go to a new school, but the problem gets worse with each change and every school year. What can I do?

A: Go to your son's new school before the school year starts and talk with the principal and the school counselor. Explain the problems your son has had and ask that special care be given to his class assignment for next year and that he be placed with a teacher who will be understanding.

Ask if it is possible that the French requirement could be waived in your son's case. If that is not possible, make sure that the French teacher is aware of the issues your son has had with language class and ask that she work to help your son as he begins French at the new school.

Talk with the counselor about having your son screened in the fall for a learning difference. Frustration with learning problems could account for his difficulties.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Bug Off! 6 Tick- and Mosquito-Borne Diseases
Which bug bites are dangerous? Learn about 6 diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes, the signs and symptoms, and treatment options if someone in your family gets infected.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, brought to you by Galactic Hot Dogs.

Top 10 Backyard Party Games for All Ages
Looking for some fun outdoor games for your Fourth of July party or barbecue? Check out these awesome group games, from sack races to cornhole, to make your backyard a kid-friendly party spot!

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks