This post was written by a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous and has been published under this profile to share a unique perspective.
I'll say it. My son is a disorganized mess of a child. Given that both my husband and I are extremely Type A and would rather organize a bookshelf than take a trip to Disneyland, we are consistently surprised at the messes and sheer chaos that our kindergartener is capable of. And it's not just an issue that we deal with at home.
When he was in daycare, we used to be constantly called in to speak with the caregivers who would tell us that he refused to clean up his messes, made messes of other children's things, and was generally a janitor's nightmare, despite being an otherwise sweet kid. Now that he's started his first year of "big boy school" (as we call it, AKA junior kindergarten) his Tasmanian Devil-like mess-making powers are still out in full force. We recently went to our first parent-teacher interview and were surprised to know that his teacher had sent two notes home about his issues at clean-up time and keeping his things organized at his cubby.
My husband and I are religious backpack-checkers, mainly because we're constantly having to clean out spilled milk, crushed up Goldfish crackers, and a variety of other edible (and non-edible) surprises. Is it possible that a note was sent home in the backpack? Yes, of course. Is it also possible that my kid used it as a Kleenex or tried to feed it to a squirrel on the way home? I'd bet on the squirrel theory.
A controversy was started in November over a mother who was outraged that a teacher taped a note to her child. While many parents agreed that the tape might have been an overstep, many thought it was a great idea. Some were concerned that the child might have felt ashamed because of the note, while others thought it was degrading to both the child and parents. In my opinion, as long as the child is not singled out or shamed, a taped-on note is a perfectly acceptable means of parent-teacher communication. Sure, it could have been pinned to or taped on a backpack, but at least the message was clear.
As a parent to a whirling dervish, I would have no problem if a note came home taped to my child. At least I would get the message, and be able to sign whatever needed to be signed, or read whatever important message is coming home. Of course, not every parent will feel the same way, but a conversation with a teacher about effective and appropriate methods of communication can go a long way.