Monday, October 24, 2011

And I thought *I* have it bad...

When it comes to posting, I love nothing better than a juicy story about something that happened to me at work; a story that serves as a microcosm of the problems with our nation's education system.

I have had school years in the past where certain class periods caused me to drink entire bottles of wine when I got home. So it is rather refreshing that so far this year, I honestly don't have much to complain about. I am now just a bit over two months into this school year - plenty of time for the honeymoon to end - and overall, my students are pretty darn well-behaved. Is every day going to be all sunshine and bunny rabbits? Yeah right. But for the most part, I tell my students to calm down or quiet down and they... do.

My wife on the other hand...

She teaches first grade in a different district than mine. Her student population makes mine look like a bunch of private school Stepford children. She teaches in a very poor area full of apartment complexes, drug use, family dysfunction, and victim mentality. When we get home at the end of the school day, my report of how my day was can usually be summed up with a succinct, "No problems; I had a good day." Whereas, my wife usually has a couple tales to tell. Today was especially true.

While my wife has plenty of challenging students, her first grade teaching partner in the room next door is fighting what appears to be a losing battle. My wife often gets a call from him in the middle of the day because he needs her assistance reining in an out-of-control student (or two). Today, she got that call and walked in to see one student standing on the teacher's desk, and another student tossing the classroom computer monitors on the floor. At the same time, my wife had been babysitting yet another student from her partner's class - a female student who my wife describes as "pure evil." Keep in mind, this girl is a six year-old first grader. This girl also began seriously acting up, to the point where my wife ended up having to carry this girl to the principal's office while the girl struggled, tried to bite my wife and spit on her, and upon being delivered to the principal, slapped my wife on the arm.

Of course, one of the reasons behavior like this has become the norm at my wife's site is largely due to the administration's inability or outright refusal to do anything about it. Between fear of lawsuits from belligerent parents,; fear of loss of ADA money if the kid is suspended; and fear of damaging the self-esteem of the precious little monsters, these students act out in the most disruptive and atrocious ways, yet they are right back at school the next day, ready to do it all over again.

And my wife is right in the middle of it all.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson


The Wood's said...

Hi W.R.,

I really enjoy your blog!

Which district is your wife in? I spent my entire stateside career in Natomas, so her story sounds sadly familiar. Encourage her, as you guys do make a difference for those kids and families who want their children to succeed.
Good luck with the rest of the year!

Eric in Shanghai

Hube said...

Scary shit, man. And it seems to be only getting worse.

3rseduc / handsinthesoil said...

Too many times I have seen this. I know of a nearby district where a student has set fire to the classroom and threatened people's lives and he's still in school. The whole danger to others, ed code, etc etc stuff is ignored. Very sad. Reminds me of when I subbed in a grade 1 class in "the ghetto" and I had kids saying the B-word and F-word to myself and classmates, running away, tying each other's shoes to the desk, making shanks out of art supplies... wow.

Darren said...

Just a different adult in the house drinking the wine now :-)