Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘disrespect to teachers’

Feeling P*%$ed about Being “Dissed” !

imageI don’t get angry easily. Considering my profession, I think I am pretty patient. I don’t scream or yell. As a matter of fact, I rarely have to raise my voice.  But there’s one thing that boils my blood, it is a disrespectful child. I don’t mean a child who slips once in a while, we all have our moments. I mean that day in, and day out, downright, disrespectful child!

I grew up in an era where children were children, and adults were adults. I addressed my parents, “Yes Mom or Dad” or “No Mom or Dad”.  There was no in-between. I didn’t question them, nor did I question the adults in my life, teacher, aunts, neighbors, etc… I did as I was told, no ifs, ands, or buts!  No one was worried about my self-esteem, and whether or not they would scar me for life. And you know what, I grew up to be a well-rounded person.

But those days are gone.  Total acquiesce can be dangerous. When kids don’t ask questions, or blindly do what they’re asked, they can become victims of abuse. That is not what I am referring to, I do not want, or require,  robots who jump at my every order.

I am referring to these kids who have no concept of the line between adult and child. Yes, there are teachers who call the students their “friends.”  My students are not my friends, my friends are grown folk.  Or the teachers who want to be seen as “cool and popular”, so that they can “reach” the students. I reach my students all the time by caring for them, engaging them, and providing the education they deserve. When did we become a society where children can say what they want, when they want, wherever they want?

There are parts of my upbringing I agree with, no matter how old-fashioned people think they are.  A child is not going to call me by my first name, ever.  If I am speaking to another adult, I do not expect a child to insert themselves into my conversation.  If I ask a child to do something, that causes no physical harm, I do not feel that I have to give an explanation, every single time,  as to why I want them to do it. If a child does not follow through on their responsibilities, then there are consequences, deal with it! And most of all, I don’t expect a child to say things to me like, “You are lucky I don’t tell you what I really want to tell you!”, just because they don’t agree.

And I am sure there are some reading this who are saying, “She must be pretty mean and that’s why they act like that.” Or, “You have to give respect to get it.” I respect my little ones. But, you know what I act like, the adult. The person with whom the final responsibility lies. The person who sets limits and provides structure.  Because no matter how much I allow my kids ownership of our class, in the end, there has to be someone in charge, someone who has to be the adult.

When did the line blur, fade, or disappear? Is there someone or something to blame? Is it us, the parents, who so, so, so, don’t want to be like our parents? We allow our children to question everything, instead of some things? Do we find it easier to let them do what they want, then to set limits? Or is it television? Where the children on sitcoms speak to their parents as if they are idiots, or as if the roles are reversed? Or is it the philosophy where we let them “speak their mind” to whomever they choose? Is it the fact that we take them to see “R” rated movies , or watch TV shows I would be embarrassed to watch? Are we terrified they might not like us?

My students say “Good Morning” when they walk in the door. They can’t answer “What?” when they answer me.  If I am speaking they have to say , “Excuse me.”  And they know they are not my peers, and I am not their friend. They do know I love them though, but apparently that’s not enough for some.

What happened to respect?  I don’t know, but I sure do miss it. 😦


“Today Was One of Those Days!” Woosah!

Today was one of those days!  I had to take a deep breath, and  exhale, “Woosah.” (For those who don’t know, I got that from the movie  “Bad Boys” with Martin Lawrence and Will Smith.)  It works for me, because it stops me from saying something I have no business saying to someone else’s child!  My students were so crazy today with the level of “it’s all about me”.   All the “this is what I want to do, and who cares  what you say!” No, they didn’t actually say those words, but the body language, attitude, lips poked out, made me stop during Math.

I said,” I have to stop for a Public Service announcement.”  This is not meant for all of you, as a matter of fact, it’s not meant for most of you.” Seriously.  And yes, I know, I was not using my class time wisely, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  I proceeded to explain to them that when they get home, they can Tweet, Facebook, text, or call each other and vent about me all they want, but while they were sitting  in our classroom, they would keep their negative  attitudes to themselves, especially since it was intefering with me teaching and them learning!”  Yes, they took me there!  I didn’t have any other problems for the remainder of the day, thank goodness!

Sometimes, they do that to you. I love them all, but sometimes I just want to shake them, and let them know, that I  have too many bodies in the room to cater to each and every one of their idiosyncrasies. Especially when it’s more than two or three of them at a time. Well, they’re 5th graders, and I know puberty is rearing its ugly head, and the hormones are beating each other up inside those little bodies.  So, I’ll just continue to take a deep breath, inhale, extend my arms to the sky, arm down, and exhale, “Woosah!”:)

“Tweets about Teachers!”

Ever wonder what’s being Tweeted about teachers?  I never did.  However, last night,   I did  a  Twitter  search for a site called “We Are Teachers.”   That’s where the fun began. Instead of getting their Twitter page, tons of tweets came up with the words,” we are teachers”  anywhere in the tweet.  I found some of them very amusing, and wanted to share them with you, I left out the ones with profanity.:) I wrote them the way they were written.  These are from students:

1.    “I can’t learn history from a teacher who was born in the 70’s.”

2.     “My PE teachers are retarded.  They need to realize that if they let us run the mile  WITH our Ipods we will be faster.”

3.     “options,options,options, BLAH BLAH BLAH we all know what the teachers want us to choose, even if they are saying that it’s “our choice”

4.     “Teachers are those who help us in resolving problems, which without them, we wouldn’t have.”

5.    “I mean it not like we are ever using what learned in school ever?’

6.    ” Ughhh, homework. We are not in college teachers.”

7.   ” OMG, I missed a weak of school and the teachers are freaking out…”

8.    “School is like jail, the cells are classes, the teachers are the security guards,and we are the prisoners.”

On a positive note: “Mistakes are like teachers, we learn from them.”

From adults:     ” Teachers on TV make all teachers look like schmuks.”

                               “Parents: News Flash!  Teachers are people with lives & families too.  We have emergencies just like you do. A little understanding would be nice.” (I think this one  is a teacher)

“Just” a Teacher!?

view detailsAs I prepared dinner the other night, my son and I talked. Somehow, our conversation steered to  how smart I was.  In order to prove my point, I bragged to my son how I had been in gifted programs all my life, and had even skipped a grade. 

He laughed and said, “If you’re so smart, how come you’re just a teacher?” 

 “Just a teacher?”, I thought.  I was flabbergasted! Yet, at the same time, my mind raced, questioning my chosen occupation. An occupation I had loved for 26 years. 

 He continued, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you a doctor or a lawyer?”  Ouch! I told him, “I am that smart, but I have chosen to teach”. It brought to mind part of that horrible quote, “Those who can’t, teach.” I asked him who  he thinks taught those doctors and lawyers. 

 He responded, “Bill Gates didn’t go to college, and he’s a millionaire!”

 I answered, “But he did attend Kindergarten through 12th grade, right?” Who do you think taught him everything he knows? A teacher!” 

 We continued our conversation and I think I changed his opinion, maybe.  I have to admit, what he said stung. I went to college, I have a B.S. and a M.S., but my son thinks I’m not that smart because I’m “just” a teacher. 

Maybe this is why teachers have such a hard time getting respect.  Maybe this is why so many young teachers I’ve encountered, don’t really learn the craft, they worry about how long it will be before they “get out the classroom.”

I love teaching, I don’t want to be a doctor, lawyer, principal, etc…, I want to be a teacher, even if I’m “just” a  teacher!

Managing the Unmanageable!

She walked in the classroom yesterday and proceeded to walk from her desk, to her locker, to the recycling box by my desk with her coat on and her book bag on her back. sneaking glances at me now and then.  Flashback to the day before, when she proceeded to take everything out and pile it on her desk.  When I asked her what she was doing she said, “I’m leaving!”  I said, “Where are you going?”  She said, “I don’t know, but I’m getting out of here!” I walked away, I have learned not to have battles with this child. As she left the room, I called the office, and the guidance counselor intercepted her in the hallway. She bullies and harasses students in the room, and when she is disciplined, she becomes extremely defensive.  The head starts swinging on the neck, the eyes start rolling, and the yelling begins, “You are always picking on me!”   I don’t have many  discipline problems in my classroom.  The ones I do have, I handle, they take a little timeout, or we have a quiet talk in the hallway, and all is well again.  But this child!  Yesterday’s episode began when I found out that she had written “bich”(sic) on the desktop of one of the laptops and I told her that she lost her laptop privileges. And yes, she has seen the counselor, I have spoken to her parents, I have done the “pull her out away from the other students and talk to her alone” thing,  given her my expectations, written her up, what else is there? I can not allow her to behave any way she wants, there are boundaries and she has to adhere to them. Back to the morning, we started Morning Meeting, at that point,  I asked her to remove her coat and bag.  She stopped,  looked at me. raised her hand(you know, the “talk to the hand” move), and said, “I’m done with you!”  and stormed out.  There was a collective gasp from the circle, what a way to start Morning Meeting, huh?  I  called the office,and she was not allowed back in my room the remainder of the day.  The sad part is, this is a student who needs to be in my room, every hour of the day!  When you send her to another room, she is a model student.  I’m stumped, the only way this child will behave is if I let her do what she wants, little or no work, talk, and bully other students, that’s just not the way my classroom rolls, there has to be another way to manage the unmanageable.

Come to Me!

When I was a kid,  if there was a problem, my parents went to the teacher. Well, there was never a problem with me, I was a “goody-goody.”  As a teacher during the 80’s and 90’s, the parent would voice their concerns, to me. However, there seems to be a trend now where the parents skip the teacher, and go straight to the principal, or God forbid, the DISTRICT! Yesterday, I received an email from my principal,” Ms H, Jane’s mother (names have been changed to protect the guilty) called and would like you to call her and explain the grading system. ” Huh?  This parent is new to our district, so she might not be familiar with our grading system, that’s not a problem for me, that’s understandable. My problem is that she and I have sent emails back and forth where I have answered any questions she has had, why at this point did she feel she had to call my principal? And no, she never asked me about the grading system. Now understand, I send my students’ tests home with a checklist with the grading system on it. She signed the checklist, if she had a question, why didn’t she write it on the comments line?  Why didn’t she email me or call me?  Thankfully, I have a very supportive principal, because this seems to be a growing  trend.  One year I had a parent write a letter to President Obama(I’m not kidding) because her ill-mannered child couldn’t get used to the fact that there were consequences in my classroom. I believe it goes back to the whole idea of respect for the teacher  has gone out the window.  It’s as if, the teachers are not that important, which is strange, since we spend the better part of the day with their child. I feel as if it undermines my authority when a parent skips me and goes straight to the principal.  Why wouldn’t you tell me that Sam is bothering Trisha in the classroom? Why would you call my principal to tell him your child was upset because she couldn’t get on the SMARTboard today?  If  a parent  comes to me, and is not satisfied with the results, I say go for it. But it would be nice, if they came to me first. 

At our meeting today, my principal said, ” They skip you and come straight to me.”

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