Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I think I've reached my breaking point.

Crying in class? Check. Screaming so loud at misbehaving kid that good kid next to him jumps back in fear, while misbehaving kid continues to not care? Check. Resisting urge to actually physically harm misbehaving kid? Check. Slamming door to classroom so hard that stuff falls on floor? Check. Spending lunch period in classroom with door closed and lights turned off, hysterical? Check. Watching good kids cover their ears in futile attempt to avoid the commotion created by bad kids? Check. Conferencing with the guidance counselor about how one of my kids apparently drew graphic images of, like, anal rape in his notebook? Check.

This is not the kind of teacher I want to be, and this is not the kind of person I want to be. And I want out. Any readers out there want to hire me?


coffee break said...

Hang in there! I'll be sending

Anonymous said...

This is when you take your first 'Mental Health' day of the year. Call in sick for your sake and everyone else's. Take care of yourself first, so you can take care of others later. Go on... dial!

Jules said...

oh, i am so sorry. i wish i or anyone out there had an answer or solution for you. a mental health day would be a start. do you have any kind of fun non-school hobby or activity you could do, either in the evenings (haha, yeah right) or on the weekend?

if you do really want all the way out, i can get you some charter school subbing/perm info. :)

hugs, and i hope tomorrow has a glimmer of hope for you. you can do it!

Anonymous said...

Miss Brave,

You've got this. The kids need you.

Best wishes,

a fan

mcaitlin said...

thinking of you :)

Anonymous said...

Hang in there. Keep bringing it to your AP's attention. Make it her problem as well.

Ms. Peace said...

Wow! This sounds really bad. You're in a CTT right? How is your co-teacher dealing with this? This time of year is when all of your students' issues start coming out. I know personally, one of my problems is that I internalize the suffering of my students... and their suffering is unimaginable. Even children that I think are okay live have mothers who don't let them call them "mom" in public, or children who don't even know who they technically live with. I know their parents' lives are hard and that I'm dealing with families torn apart by immigration, domestic violence, even incarceration, but I just can't get past the fact that my students don't feel the safety and security of knowing that their parents love them. Some kids are so worn down by life already that it's so hard to keep giving and giving when you don't get anything back. My advice is to hang in there if you can. I try to lower my voice close to a whisper when I am at my angriest. It helps me calm down and prevents me from being out of control in the classroom. Remember, you are the adult and despite everything that is going on, you have to keep your cool for everyone in the room. Try not to let this experience break your spirit.

Jenna said...

one thing that helped me during the year from hell was lunch conversations that revolved around everything but work... also volunteering for a project that required a lot of professional development outside of class, so I agree on mental health day.

I don't know if you are able to do this, but I worked with a teacher who showed Finding Nemo over three days and built up a whole discussion of people in the kids lives who would sacrifice for them... which led to a writing assignment. The whole unit was nearly two weeks of writing. But those three days were a really nice break.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the other anonymous commenters: they all need you, even William. The administration (speaking as a former teacher and current administrator) has to wake up and deal with this. Can you go over the AP's head, or take other teachers (such as the art, music, whatever) with you when you talk to the AP? As difficult as it is, you have to plan a time you meet with administration. You can't be at your breaking point when you talk, or you risk being overlooked.
Hang on to the things that are going right, take a day off with Mr. Brave-to-be if you can, and remember your pseudonym.

Unknown said...

Wow...I actually just wandered here by accident (I was on a blog about Accountable Talk...then my own brand of "ADD" kicked in, and about 3 blogs later I surfed over here!)

Anyway, I read your post and about choked on my coffee. Wow...I've been trying to read all your other blog posts (and comments) to try and get a handle on young William and the whole chaotic ordeal - but dang! Finally I just decided to pipe in with my 2cents - at least for now. :-) So I'm sorry in advance if someone has already suggested this...I just really think it needs to be seriously considered.

Here goes: I teach in California, and while I know that Education Codes vary by state, I find myself wondering if you've taken a close look at NY's Ed Code. Here's why: it seems to me that if William has not officially been diagnosed with a disability that will provide him the special services he needs, then he is, by definition, a disruptive (and I would add "violent") student. There are LAWS that are in place -- designed to protect you, to protect William, and to protect the dozens of other children in your class -- and I STRONGLY encourage you to read them and to use the Ed Code to your advantage.

To get you started, I found this: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/EDN/IV/65/1/3214
after doing just a brief search of the NY Ed Code.

Perhaps your next move should be take the steps necessary to remove William from your classroom under the LAW.

Bottom line: Legally, regardless of the "pressure" that may or may not be being put on you by your administration, you have a responsibility to ALL of your students. The Ed Code exists for situations such as this - please, for your own sanity's sake - please take the time to find out how you can legally "force" your administration to take care of this issue.

I know I'm opening a huge can o' worms by saying this, but really -- from more than one angle -- the argument could be made that by allowing him to stay you are "permitting" your OTHER students to suffer "abuse".

As teachers, we have GOT to stop "excusing" violent and disruptive student behavior. He needs to be out. He needs to be out today. You need to call the hall monitor or campus security guard, or whoever gets called when a kid is violent and have him removed. NOW. Then, follow the legal steps necessary to protect your other students and to protect yourself.
You cannot help William under these circumstances. There must be changes made that YOU cannot make without taking drastic action. I urge you, please...do it now.

I've been teaching for over 15 years, and I've seen a LOT of amazing teachers burn out way too quickly because they tried to do it all themselves. You seem so amazing...so brave...it would be a HUGE shame to lose you over this.

Please hang in there. :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mrs. Thompson. You DO NOT have to teach like this. Your fans are rooting for you....

Anonymous said...

Hey! Sounds like you're doing a great job! I've been one of your lurkers for several years now because I'm a former NYC teacher and I love hearing about what you're doing in your classroom.

I want to chime in, sort of along the lines with what Mrs. Thompson said. I actually think you need to make a report to DSS or CPS (can't remember what it's called there). I'm now in another state now, working for a child advocacy center and training teachers about their role as mandated reporters. I'm not quite as familiar with NY laws, but a lot of the behaviors William exhibits can be behavioral indicators of abuse. It is not uncommon for children to be diagnosed with ADHD when they are actually dealing with the effects of trauma. You need help with him in your classroom. But separate from that, he needs some therapy to deal with traumas/abuse that he may have/may still be experiencing. The worst that can happen is that they don't accept the case. And if his mom is not giving him meds he's supposed to have and needs, that could possibly be grounds for neglect.

Good luck!