Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Day in the Life of a Teacher

I probably don't blog enough about the goings on during my daily grind in the classroom, but a couple incidents happened today that struck me funny, so I thought I would share the insanity with the rest of you.

First, I opened my email this morning to find a request for homework for a girl who had been suspended. This happens often; our principal or vice principal sends out a school-wide email to all the teachers that says something to the effect of: Attention teachers of so-and-so: So-and-so has been suspended for however-many-days. Please send so-and-so's make-up work to the office. Now, I saw the referral on this girl yesterday. She was suspended for flipping off her P.E. teacher in full view of the rest of the students. This girl is not some delicate flower who just had a bad day. She is a known and persistent trouble maker at my school. In fact, I recently covered for another teacher during my prep period for three days in a row because the teacher's dad died. All three times, I ended up kicking this girl out of the class due to extreme disrespect and defiance directed toward me. So how many days suspension did she receive for this little finger stunt? A whopping two (that's 2) days - for publicly flipping off a teacher! Our administration isn't afraid of handing out suspensions, but what does strike fear into their hearts is handing out enough days of suspension. This is one of the reasons that we still have such bad discipline issues at our school: even if the kid gets suspended, the kid knows that not only will s/he be back in no time flat, but also - as I mentioned earlier - they get to make up the work they missed while they were suspended! What kind of crap is that? How is it any kind of punishment at all if the kid can make up the missed work?

Next item: I have a particularly rambuctious class during 7th period, which is the period right after lunch. This class has three girls who are (mostly) friends. You know how middle school girls can be; friends one day, enemies the next, then back to friends the next. Today, they were obviously friends, because I could do nothing to stop the incessant talking, whispering, and giggling that went on for way too long. After too many warnings to these three girls, I finally scrapped my lesson and spent a few minutes changing the seating chart. After they began to give me lip about it, I had each girl come up and call her parents right then and there during class. For the first two girls, I only got their parents' voice mail, so I left a voice mail message for each girl's parents while the rest of the class intently looked on. So the class knew that I would be speaking to those parents at a later time. Then it got interesting. With the third girl, I got her mom on the phone. I have dealt with this mom before. She is loud, bitchy... and totally on my side! The mom thanked me profusely for calling her and asked me to put her darling daughter on the phone. I handed the phone to the daughter, and I swear to God, the kids in the back of the classroom could hear this mother yelling through the phone. There was a very low but audible gasp that rose from the crowd as this mom unloaded on the daughter for about 30 seconds. I could not have asked for a better example to be made that showed that not only was I not playing, but also showed the other students what could be in store for them if they got out of line. There wasn't time to see if the behavior would improve for the rest of the period, because by the time that last phone call was done, it was time to pack up. My parting words to my students were, "And that is today's lesson ladies and gentlemen... pack up."

Good Day to You, Sir


Super Mom said...

Let me guess, Sacramento or Stockton.........LOL

Anonymous said...

Super Mom, why do you say that?

Super Mom said...

I say that because I went to school there and I know that this is exactly how the kids acted in these schools. So just a wild hunch. Could certainly be wrong but I certainly visualized where I went to school when I read this post!!!!!

Darren said...

I'll never understand why some administrators are deathly afraid of setting high standards of discipline. But I *can* tell you why the kids get to make up assignments missed while suspended--it's state law. Gotta deal with that with the Legislature.

Fortunately, my school district has a matrix of common offenses and the penalties for first, second, and third/more times for committing the offenses. Pretty easy for my school administrators to do what's right when they're following the district's guidelines.

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