Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Rant: Let's Just Take 'Em Out and Shoot 'Em

I know that teachers get tired of student behavior. I understand there needs to be consequences for "bad behavior". I believe consequences should make sense for the offense. But honestly--sometimes I believe all some think of is "How can I get this kid." As my (ex) roomie tweeted, "When did we forget we're here to help not hurt?"

side note:  I have found that tweeting my thoughts during inservice keeps me from going crazy.

Our new principal asked a simple question this afternoon.

(By the way--I love my new principal. He is doing good things in our building!) 

What did we think was an appropriate length of time for both in-school and out-of-school suspensions?  Talk about opening up a can of worms! The conversation led to what about the work that these students miss while they're not in class. Given? Not given? Graded? Not graded?

"People!"  I wanted to scream.  "We. Are. Educators."

But I didn't and I should have.  I let the loud ones believe they are right and that I agree with them. I won't do that again.  I hope.


(my first hour students would laugh at that word--they think I use it too much!)

Most of the students we are talking about (my wonderful SSB's, for the most part) need to be in school. They are having trouble in classes anyway!  So the best consequence we can come up with is to take them OUT of class??????  Arrrrggghhhhh! And in the "worst case", out of school altogether?????   Double Arrrrggghhh!

What does that accomplish?  We give them a "vacation"--one that deep down most don't want. We take them away from those people who do care about them. We put them further behind in their classes if they get to do the work. And if they don't get to do the work, we punish them twice.


Way to let students know we care.

And if we really don't know what to do about them--let's send them to the alternative school. At least we won't have to deal with them.

Excuse the rant, but blogging really does make me feel better!


  1. I agree, but (and I hate that word) after spending time teaching in an alternative school, sometimes that's where they can get the help that they really need so that you, and those teachers like you, can spend quality time with the non-disrupters in the class.

  2. I agree--the alternative school can be a great option for some kids (I am teaching speech and creative writing there) I just don't like it when I think some want to dump kids there because they don't want to deal with them any longer!

  3. Isn't this like punishing those schools that aren't doing well by taking away their funding-those that probably need it most? There was a piece on PBS tonight that said almost 40% of our students are not graduating on time. It's a national tragedy, & I agree, they should be in school, not out. So sorry it gets so frustrating, especially the staff meetings.

    BTW-what is your tweet name?

  4. Yes, Linda--to me it's exactly the same thing! And I just need to speak up...

  5. It is difficult job making students understand that you care for them. I remember when I was in the middle school I had the low readers (I had been recruited from first grade and thus should know about teaching reading to adolescent boys who were having difficulty reading). I would tell them after some of them would act up, that each day was new. Each day they would get a fresh start with me, so the day they decided to change their behavior I would never look back at what they had done previously. I can say it was somewhat successful. They knew I meant what I said, but they are so damaged by then that it takes a long time to build a trust...and then they are to the next teacher who may not have that philosophy. And even worse, may be ready for them to come through the door and nail them early on.
    Teaching is a hard job, and it seems that at almost any grade, a teacher should be well versed in psychology and developmental stages in order to survive and provide what students need.
    I went to a math workshop once where we were told to make sure we had math facts up all over the place. That our goal was not to trick them into getting the answers wrong, but to help them learn the facts. It was a simple but very deep and transferrable truth. We are here to teach, not to trick.


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