Most recently, a student threatened a student and a teacher in the same day, yet is still sitting in class. Not even a suspension! Rumor has it that the principal feels we have too many suspensions and is using shady means to cover up that fact. Either our school totally lacks the infrastrucutre to handle unruly students, or there is major corruption going on at the administrative levels. Last semester, there was a fight in my classroom. As per protocol, I called security. The line was busy. One of the two security guards in the building (yes, we only have to for two whole schools) sits on the phone all day, making personal calls. Another time, a teacher called for a student making threats, and the guard told her she simply wasn't coming! In any case, we all know students must feel safe to be able to learn. Students should not feel safer outside the school than within. How can I protect my students when I have no recourse to discpline students effectively? How can I protect my students when I myself don't even feel safe?There is something fundamentally wrong with a culture that produces so many disrespectful, unruly students. Nevertheless, no matter how bad the school, there are always well-behaved students willing to learn. We owe it to them to create a propitious learning environment. That means we have to get serious about segregating dysfunctional non-students. This is a first step toward achieving quality education. It runs counter to entrenched dogma, but it needs to be done.
The one thing I know for sure is that I am totally burned out. Battling disruptive and extremely disrespectful students every single day, being totally taken advantage of in terms of the contract, and walking on eggshells with administrators so as to remain on their "good side" has really been an exhausting experience. As a result, I have lost my belief that I am actually making a difference. The problems that plague NYC schools are so beyond the scope of one person to fix. It is really overwhelming.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
A New York City teacher writes about the horrendous discipline problems she faces every day: