Monday, December 02, 2019

Disruptive Students

If you think stories like this are anecdotal, you're mistaken:
Last month, NBC Nightly News aired a segment on the latest classroom-management technique to sweep America’s schools: “room clears”: When a child throws a tantrum that could physically endanger his peers, teachers evacuate all of the other students from the classroom until the troublemaker has vented his rage upon empty desks, tables and chairs. The technique was virtually unheard of five years ago. But 56 percent of surveyed teachers and parents in Oregon now report having experienced a room clear in their or their child’s classroom over the last year.

Surrendering the classroom to a single student: The average reader might well ask why anyone thinks this would be a good idea. Yet the policies that make this approach inevitable have been applauded by a wide range of authorities, from the Southern Poverty Law Center to the Trump-administration’s Department of Education.

The emergence of room clears is a product of several fashionable education-policy trends designed to protect the rights of troubled students, often with little regard for the rights of their classmates. These include the provisions contained in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which mandates that special-education students be subject to the “least restrictive environment” possible. When it comes to students who are hard of hearing, dyslexic or developmentally delayed, this policy likely has done a great deal of good. But many schools also label disruptive or violent students as having an “Emotional and Behavioral Disability” (EBD). Rather than provide these students specialized attention in separate settings, schools often funnel them into traditional classrooms.
Discipline is a huge problem in schools today--and not just with students with serious behavioral disabilities, either.


Anonymous said...

This is not related to your post, but I have a question since you are a math teacher. son's high school math program is terrible. His freshman year, his teacher was regularly asleep during class. His sophomore, the teacher was fine until the teacher's wife had a baby, then the teacher was absent two or three days a week. My son is a junior and taking AP Stats and "calculus". Calculus is in quotes because we (the parents) suspect that it is really precalc because last year's precalc teacher missed about 2/3 of the school year and the kids had a substitute with no math knowledge.

My son has always gotten As in math and wants to be an engineer. There is no math class for him to take as a senior at his school. In spite of the class names that he has gotten credit for, we really don't know what math he has learned.

What would you suggest as a strategy for next year? Take a placement test and go to community college for a math class? Take an online math class?
Retake a math class he has already taken? He has gotten all As and is generally regarded as a resource by the other students.

Darren said...

What a horrible situation.

I got my master's degree via an online program, and in my opinion it was a rigorous program. However, most of what I've seen of online classes for high school are not rigorous. At all.

If he's getting pre-calc instruction this year, then calculus at a community college is probably the best option. In general, a placement test won't be needed.

ThePhysicsTeacher said...

Dear anonymous, I am so sorry to hear about this. What a terrible situation. As a teacher who rarely takes days off, this devastates me.
I can suggest some online resources that are cost effective and can give your son college credits:
Take Calculus online "Straighterline" (Google that). Read a little about that. Also, community college is an excellent choice. There is an unfortunate stigma against going there but if your son can find a good community college, I recommend he take classes there, get his credits, and then transfer to a 4 year college. Certain community colleges can well prepare your son.

Pallas Athena said...

I work at a private school. I teach physics. I took a break from teaching and came back after almost 10 years away. The students are so unruly. They're not interested in anything. I am so stressed out and really hate this "9th grade physics program." As one of my administrators put it, "we work in a never ending entry level position with no room for growth. we are expensive and underpaid babysitters." When the administration feels this way, how can I succeed?
I want to quit. I don't want to come back after Christmas. How will I last until May?
I think you might like this video:

Ellen K said...

I just retired after returning to teaching 20 years ago. The transition from what I consider normal school issues and what we have now seems driven by social media and student access to it. It used to be you only heard about outrageously bad behavior in urban schools or from seriously disturbed students. We now have classrooms of even AP students who refuse to do the work. They will run to their parents or ask for extra credit in the last week of the term thinking that somehow substitutes for steady learning over the months. They want easy solutions that can be answered in a multiple test format. They don't read instructions and demand that teachers simplify everything to suit their style. Parents will actually go the route of acquiring 504 designation so that students can get special accommodations on standardized testing. I've read a couple of articles discussing how this generation of college freshman is the least prepared in decades. That doesn't surprise me one bit.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments. I suspect he will have to take the next math course at the community college. There is a group of parents trying to get the high school to provide transport.

It is also comforting to hear that his situation is outrageous. We (the parents) have been told that we are unreasonable, "cranky pants", and just don't understand how hard the school district is working.