Thursday, February 19, 2015

We'd love to help, but, you know...

I’m thrilled to say that I now have a co-teacher for my horrible remediation classes.  I don’t know that she’s much help yet, but that’s mostly because I’ve taken a proactive approach to discipline.  Piss me off, and you’re leaving the room.  I don’t care about writing the student up (but I will) or even contacting their parents (though I do), but if you’re disrupting my class, get the hell out.

I can’t figure out whether students today are used to acting out or if it’s a socio-economic thing.  Realistically, not all these kids are poor.  But they act like they were raised in a barn. 

I had a meeting a week ago with two administrators who were “concerned” about my sending kids to the office.  I told them what I said above – sometimes the kid needs to get the hell out so others can learn.  They wanted to talk about my classroom management style, but I didn’t.  My style is fine.  If you give me 60 kids with serious attention and behavior issues, it doesn’t matter what my style is.  By the way, my style is now falling under “drill sergeant/borderline police officer with anger management issues.”
“What about giving them incentives?”  Did it already.  They didn’t care.  “What about meeting with them individually and going over their scores?”  Did it too.  They’re convinced that if they passed the STAAR test on the third try, it means they’re just as smart as anyone else.  “Did you contact the parents?”  Yes, and I’ve gotten no response.  “You could try to make the lessons more fun and play some games.”  Did that as well, and half the class refused to participate.  The other half began to throw things and wrestle with each other.  “Tell them if they finish five lessons in a week, they can have free time.”  They don’t WANT to finish the lessons because they’re too short-sighted to realize what’s at stake.  They want to goof off NOW.  “Well, you can’t send them to the office.  That’s what they want, to get out of class!”  Uh, no they don’t.  They want to stay in class and waste time because that’s where their friends are.  Sitting in the office under a principal secretary’s watchful eye is boring, and they don’t want to do that. Plus, no one's around to hear their various witty remarks, like "you suck!" 

I think what both irritates and amuses me about this “discipline strategy meeting” is that it’s coming from two administrators who are younger than me, and who clearly have no idea what teenagers are like.  Realistically, dealing with teenagers is like dealing with toddlers – the whining, the fits, the requests for ice cream and toys all the time.  These aren’t rational adults. 

Come to think of it, our administrators aren’t rational adults either.  If they’re so good at discipline and have all the answers, why on earth did our school have such a disastrous discipline assembly?  One administrator read aloud from a PowerPoint about all the bad things that would happen if you broke the rules.  The kids squirmed in their seats, talked, threw things and played with the phones they aren’t supposed to have.   Kind of seemed like they were, you know, breaking the rules. 

I could have done something or said something, but I didn’t.  I’m just a teacher who doesn’t understand how to discipline effectively.