Sunday, April 21, 2013

I Know It's Fashionable To Blame Teachers For Poor Student Performance, But....

I've always said that it's culture, more than teacher incompetence, that causes too many students to do poorly in school.  Schools are microcosms of the communities from which they draw students as well as of the larger society, and when this is what teachers are up against, you can't really blame us is we fail:
Let's say there is a child who curses you, the teacher, out. Let's call him Bad Billy or BB. Well, at the first offense you must write down in exact detail what BB said and your response and how you counseled BB, advised him, and redirected his behavior. No, "hey BB, school rule, no cursing, go see the principal" but something more like "why did you do that? What are the school expectations? How might you not do this next time? Why are you angry? How can I help?"

At this particular place of mention, you must do this at least three times before even sending them out of the classroom. Then you call parents. Then you let it happen again. Then you have a parent conference. Then you write a detention. Then a referral, logging all behavior modification steps you've taken, and hope administration approves of it. THEN, after ANOTHER offense, the student (i.e. BB) MIGHT be suspended. Might.
Our litigiousness and nannyism combine to create laws like this.   It's one thing to expect me to teach, it's another thing to expect me to teach but not to allow me some tools of effective teaching.


PeggyU said...

My, times certainly have changed. As a child, I was a huge fan of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. I was always catching birds and snakes and interesting bugs. I brought a field mouse to school when I was in 4th grade. It escaped, and I got sent to the principal's office. The teacher was not even remotely "understanding". She was the high strung shrieky type, appropriately named Mrs. Failing. I think the whole school probably heard her order me out of the classroom.

When I reached Mr. Grow's office, he wasn't there, but I went in and sat down awaiting my punishment. I noticed he had a wooden paddle hanging on his wall behind his desk. I sat around for a while, then went back to class. When the teacher asked if I'd gone to his office, I didn't even have to lie.

I wonder what would happen today if a kid brought a wild critter to school? The school would probably alert the EPA and bring in a hazmat team.

EdD said...

My last school required an "incremental" approach to behavior problems that was even more involved than the one you described. My dark
suspicion is that these policies are dreamed up by some district level administrator who has nothing better to do than to implement this sort of idiocy. I tried to work within a system that made so little sense, but ended up resigning and going back to practicing law.