Wednesday, January 15, 2014

People I Can't Stand

I feel like this type of post may turn into a regular thing---like Sh!t My Kids Say.  Because there are a lot of people I can't stand.  Today, I'll be talking about teachers who can't handle issues in their classroom on their own, so they blame someone else.

In my 8th Grade Honors English class, we are reading To Kill A Mockingbird.  Approximately 7 of those kids have to go to the high school 1st period to take Geometry, and then come to school.  So, those kids are super smart.  At least I think they are.  I didn't take Geometry until I was a junior in high school!  Anyway, that's beside the point.

Tonight, I received an email from my principal that told me to talk to my students about reading To Kill A Mockingbird during other classes.  Attached to the email was the the forwarded message from the Geometry teacher.  She said something along the lines of giving a final warning today and that if she sees kids reading it in class, she would confiscate it.  She was tired of kids reading and making notes during her time.

I had a snarky reply ready, but it's not my principal that I'm irritated with.  I'm irritated with the Geometry teacher.  Don't "tell on me" to my boss about something that you can't handle in your own classroom! Deal with it yourself.  Take their books for the period and give them back at the end of class.  Confiscating their To Kill A Mockingbird books would be the equivalent of me confiscating their Geometry books.  We aren't using our textbook right now.  Those are their textbooks!  This is the second time this year that I've had to "talk" to my students about something because another teacher couldn't handle their own shit and complained about myself or my own class.  The first time it was because a teacher complained that I let my kids snack in class (they always cleaned up after themselves) and it was "causing a problem" in their class.  Which, to me, means that they couldn't handle the situation on their own. I have 5 preps (meaning I teach five SEPARATE kinds of classes---5 separate lesson plans each day), I'm the department chair, a support provider (mentor teacher) for a newer teacher, on the positive behavior reinforcement team, am the only teacher who goes to the kids' sports games.  I'm a good teacher.  Leave me alone and let me do my job!


Barbara Raney said...

I currently teach at a community college, but I taught in public high schools for over 30 years. My college colleagues are scared to death of having to deal with discipline issues, so I giggle that they have not developed the withering gaze or the silent waiting period. The outright confrontation is another matter--we all hate to do that.
What I am concerned about about this issue is the idea that learning "belongs" in little disciplinary slots.We are never going to make it if we still believe that! Literacy, for instance, has to belong to ALL disciplines!
And. . . that teacher needs to step up her lessons! If Atticus Finch is more interesting than triangles, it is certainly not the kids' fault. Barb Raney

Lou Kelly said...

I'm probably going to irritate you in saying this, but issues like 'snacking' in class do really have to be maintained across the school. It's confusing for kids to get different messages from multiple teachers. Mind you, there are always exceptions, such as students who had detention or a competition on at recess or lunch, and these must be assessed individually.

It may peeve other teachers that I actually encourage my students to bring their water bottles into the classroom. We have rules about this (eg being sensible, keep lids on, keep away from electrical equipment). I believe the encouragement to hydrate the brain outweighs any school rules about eating or drinking in class. We have 80 minute periods so I want to keep their little brains as awake as possible!

As for the teacher going behind your back- that's just rude and unprofessional. If she was more 'on-the-ball' she may have decided to use the novel to introduce some of her geometry. Starting with something the students are already engaged in is always a good idea.

That's my two-cent's worth. Hope you're not offended!

Kr!st!n said...

Barb---I completely agree!
Lou--Not offended at all. I respectfully disagree about the snacking issue, as students need to learn that there are different rules for different places in life and you just have to deal with it. But I hear you about the water thing. The more water we can get kids to drink, the better!