Thursday, May 21, 2009

R-e-s-p-e-c-t

Yesterday a third grader at my school threw things at his classmates, gave his teacher the middle finger, made fun of her name by turning it into a vulgarity, and said, "F**k you" to her.

Yet he won't be suspended until at least next week, because our school suspension room is already full. So today, he was back in class.

That makes me extremely angry. To show that level of disrespect for other students and teachers and not receive any immediate consequences for it? That's the kind of situation where a principal should march into the classroom and drag the kid out by his ears. But at our school we have no one in a position of authority who demands that kind of respect from our students, and they're getting away with murder.

Yesterday I was asked to cover a class for the whole day for a teacher who was at a meeting. I happen to love that class, so I didn't mind and we had a good day together. Today another teacher was out sick, and her substitute unexpectedly had to leave to pick up her son, who apparently had a high fever (hmmm...). Wouldn't it be fair, since I was pulled from my program yesterday, to pull the second grade push-in math teacher instead today? Nope. Our push-in math teachers never get pulled to cover classes for the day -- it's like they think math teachers are incapable of following our literacy program or something.

Anyway, so I've got this class for the day, and then I realize that I'm the teacher who picks up all the early dismissal kids from the floor and brings them downstairs. (Side note: I seriously, seriously hope they come up with some way of revising our extended day program next year, because this year it is such a waste of time and such a chaotic disaster every day when some kids leave, other kids stay, some kids go to other classrooms, etc.) So, like the responsible, conscientious teacher that I am, I head into the office to tell the secretary that I have a conflict.

Now, I should have realized something was up when I saw my principal sitting next to the secretary's desk, but neither of them were talking and both looked deep in thought, so I approached and began to say quietly to the secretary, "I just want to let you know that I -- "

My principal interrupted me by holding up her hand and saying, "Not now, Miss Brave."

And so I slunk off, feeling oddly humiliated, as though I had just had an encouter with Simon Cowell. Not now? Let me tell you something: I am a second grade teacher, and I get interrupted all day long. Sometimes I say, "Sorry, you need to wait a minute," or "One second, please" or "I am working with another student, please don't interrupt." But I don't say a curt "Not now" and nothing else. I believe it's called you have to give respect to get respect.

(Addendum: After that I had to go back to class -- a class that was not my own, mind you -- and deal with tantrum-throwing children for the rest of the day, and that occupied my mind for the afternoon until the inevitable happened: The end of the day came, my students were packed to leave, and no one came to pick them up.)

4 comments:

Fidgety said...

Your day sounds like a recipe for disaster. This is similar to the way that I was treated before being reassigned. Please be careful.

Sarah said...

I feel your pain! I hate getting pulled from working with my kids to sub! Its like they don't realize these kids really do need all the help they can get to read.

Ms. M said...

We switched to before school extended day this year and it is 1000 times better than after school. Kids and teachers are more alert and we actually get work done. Then at the end of the day there's not this feeling of school is over but we have to kill 40 minutes with a random bunch of kids. The only problem I guess is that our attendance has been slightly lower than when we had after school (because then the kids are already at school so they HAVE to stay for extended time) so that might threaten to make us switch back to the after school model. I seriously hope not because the morning schedule has been a dream compared to the previous three years of after school.

Marianna said...

The situation with students getting away with totally unacceptable behavior makes me really mad as well.... I've seem similar situations at my school also. Unfortunately the assumption often is that the teacher doesn't have "good classroom management skills" and it's never the student's fault... It gets even more difficult with older kids that I work with (8th grade). What does it teach the children? That it's OK to do such things! (not just the "bad" kid, but the rest of the class gets this message". I sympathize with you tremendously! Hang in there!

Marianna