Warning! This post contains brief but intense profanity:
I begin teaching students this Wednesday; my wife will see her students for the first time on Friday. The number one issue that always makes me a bit hesitant to start another school year is the inevitable incorrigible student I will receive and will have to deal with (usually accompanied by an equally incorrigible parent).
These thoughts took me back to an incident that happened at my wife's school near the end of the school year back in May. My wife teaches 1st grade in a part of Sacramento that has what, in Educationese, is considered a "low socio-economic status."
My wife had a difficult enough year with behavior issues, but she got off easy compared to her next-door teaching partner, who drew a much tougher bunch. Sometime in early May, my wife's teaching partner had to take a day off for whatever reason, and had a substitute teacher fill in. This substitute was an imposingly large black man, who you would think would not have to worry about taking any guff from the students.
At some point during the day, my wife received a call from this substitute, who had been told in his instructions to call my wife should he encounter any insurmountable problems. My wife walked in the classroom to see the worst-behaved student in that class - a little black girl (and a FIRST grader, mind you) - standing on top of a desk, with both her middle fingers raised, yelling at the substitute:
"FUCK YOU, YOU UGLY BLACK MOTHERFUCKER!!!"
Remember, everyone: The teacher is responsible for the test scores of this student. If she does poorly on her standardized tests, the teacher, the principal, the school, the district takes the hit for her failure. Not so for the student and her parent(s).
This is what we teachers face every day.