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.)