Teacher abuse: How much fault should we take?

I’d like you to view these two videos.  The first is a student body slamming a teacher because he took his cell phone from him during class.  The second is a news report of a principal who was assaulted by a student for removing their headphones, once they refused to lower their music.

Video #1:  https://youtu.be/r1kWyl-vJQM

Video #2: https://youtu.be/VY2aTWGJ9q4

What are your thoughts?  Who’s side are you on?  The student or the educators? I ask because this is a common occurrence at not only my current school but the district I work in.  Matter of fact, this is a common occurrence within the U.S. Teacher abuse whether verbal or physical is REAL.  Yet, we seldom speak about it.  When a teacher has unjust behavior towards a student, it’s all over the news.  Careers are ended, actions are punished and supports are provided for the victim.  But, what happens when the shoe is on the other foot?  Who shows up for the educator/s being abused by students?  Who looks out for their well-being, or social-emotional health? What supports are put in place to support their ability to educate and care for students who clearly deal with some form of trauma?

I ask because I witness teacher abuse daily and where I can definitely agree with students perceptions that most educators have a tendency to escalate maladaptive behaviors by engaging in a power struggle with students (for example touching a student to retrieve headphones), it doesn’t make this abuse okay AT ALL.

A similar incident occurred at my school site this past week.  One of my student’s whom I have a positive relationship with attacked another teacher during 6th period.  According to both adults and students who witnessed the incident, my student and three other students were hoping the fences during P.E. My student was the last to jump the fence and his P.E. teacher caught him in the act and proceeded to stop him by grabbing his foot.  As the teacher held on to the student’s foot, the student yelled to “let me go” with multiple obscenities.  Once he got back on the ground, he continued to use profanities towards his teacher and the educator then said: “What the f**k are you going to do about it”? At this point, my student charged his teacher and socked him in the chest multiple times before security and one administrator was able to pull him off of the adult.  The police were called and he did not attend school on Friday, however, we anticipate his return this week and based on his school record, this is not the first time an incident like this has happened.

Now, as a teacher who actually likes this student, has a great relationship with them and recently called home to let their mother know the incredible job they are doing in my class.  I have a lot of feedback about what went wrong with this interaction.  Frist, being the P.E. teacher really should have let him jump the fence and reported it immediately, rather than putting his hands on them.  However, I understand their desire to want to intervene and demand students stay in school, seeing as there is a current culture that students get away with murder at my site.  Students literally do what they want when they want, with little to no consequence.  That being said, a relationship is key and educators can’t get away with certain interactions if they don’t have a students respect.

So what do we do?  How do we rectify this?  I was able to build a relationship because I learned to pick and choose my battles with this student early on.  When he first arrived in my class, it was tough.  He refused to work, would sometimes come just to take a nap and I made the choice to allow him to stay and not pick a fight with him as long as he wasn’t disruptive to other students.  I would also thank him each day for coming (whether he worked or not) and let him know that tomorrow I looked forward to getting some work accomplished.  I also observed his shortcomings.  I saw early on that he didn’t write or spell well, so I allowed for him to turn in alternative assignments or offered him support during passing periods, as to not embarrass him in front of his peers.  My point, I put up with a lot of crap and made a lot of exceptions until he was able to trust me and hear me, versus being defensive.  And I get a lot of teachers don’t have the time or ability to do so, specifically those in general education, as they are outnumbered by the number of students they support daily.  I am a special education teacher, who is trained to support students with emotional and behavioral needs and in most classes, I have no more than 18 students at a time.  In addition, my training developed through my experiences of 15+ years, not through random professional developments (PD’s) or staff meetings that are generally offered throughout districts to support serious issues as the ones discussed in this blog today.

What are your thoughts? What can we do to support our teachers as well as students in public schools?

you-is-broke-you-is-tired-you-is-a-teacher-quote-1

These videos may offend…oh well

Click on the link and let’s discuss.  Funny but NOT really :/

Teacher’s can I get an AMEN! I’ve heard others say, what makes comedy so great is it always holds a little bit of truth.  How many of you can relate to some of the statements made?  I know I can.

Here is another one, let me know if you find this equally humorous.  I ain’t Jesus…lol!

Last but not least, I love this parent.  She cracks me up! I so wish I had one of her children in my class, I could have used the supplies…lol.   This is one funny mother, Hug a teacher!

Okay, that is it for today.  Just wanted to bring a little humor and lightness to the blog.  Let me know your thoughts.

I’m out!

 

What message are we sending?

snicthsign

I don’t know about you, but I am SO over this notion of “no snitching.” I hear it every day from students, “Ms. Nu-Man, I’m no snitch”. While students profess their ability to keep their mouths shut, I can’t help but think how incredibly DUMB they sound. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand not snitching comes from a street code. It’s historically a badge of honor to be known as a person that will keep your mouth shut when the cops come around. However, my middle schoolers are not Tony Montana, aka Scarface, and more importantly, do not have a clue about what it means to be “gangsta.” They are just perpetuating the same ignorance and nonsense they hear within their community, social media, cinema, etc. There is no real thought or purpose by their choice to “not snitch,” everyone else is doing it, so they follow suit.

Now before you give me the side eye and negate this entire post, hear me out. Just check out this image below.

snitch quote

Now is this an appropriate message to preserve?  That once you essentially relay information to someone, that may be unfavorable to a few, you are now a traitor who will be hated?  So, lets’ say a student witnessed another student being abused or harmed, should they not inform an adult for fear of being viewed as a snitch?  Or while walking in the streets, you witness another person being robbed, or attacked, should you ignore the situation and keep walking by because it is not your business and after all, you are “no snitch.”  Or as a teacher, I suspect a student is being neglected at home or abused, and by law, I am a mandated reporter, should I just set that responsibility aside because “everyone hates a snitch.”?

Hopefully, at this point, you are chuckling to yourself, because you can see how utterly ridiculous it would be to ignore such events.  However, at my school, this type of foolishness is occurring.  A few days ago, a young girl was assaulted by two male peers.  They took belts and beat her, groped her body and threatened to rape and kill her if she reported them.  To make matters worse, this was done in front of a handful of other students, and no one came to her defense or spoke up to authorities for fear of being labeled a snitch.

What’s my point?  CONTEXT IS DECISIVE.   Students’ understanding of what a snitch is, IS in fact warped.  How this term is used, in our everyday vernacular is misleading and in many cases harmful to student development and maturity.  Jamie Masten has written a compelling article called, “Ain’t No Snitches Ridin’ Wit’ Us”: How Deception in the Fourth Amendment Triggered the Stop Snitching Movement.  Although the focus of this work is on the impact of citizens within inner cities not relaying pertinent information to the police, it’s still relevant to what I am pointing to.  I encourage you to click on the hyperlink and check it out for yourself.  Then share your thoughts below about the Stop Snitching Movement.  Are you for it or against it?  I’d like to know.

Is Back to School Night still relevant?

Not sure if you noticed my super cute profile pic, but in case you did, I took it on back to school night.  Aside from reading for my doctoral program and grading assignments, I decided to take selfies to entertain myself.  Why you ask? I was by myself.  My only visitor was my principal, who stopped by to offer words of encouragement and acknowledgment about the setup of my classroom and upcoming projects I have planned for students.  The remainder of my evening I spent alone.

I shared my experience with a few friends and colleagues, and I got a lot of mixed reviews.  Some complained about the parents, stating “they don’t care” about their kids or know what it takes to have them be successful in life.  Others expressed their disappointment and shared how they felt “sad” for my students and the lack of parent support I received.  While a few of the teachers I work with stated Back to School Night was a joke and a waste of time for parents, educators, and students.

My opinion lies somewhere in the middle.  You see, I am over making parents wrong.  Is it disappointing to not have anyone show?  Sure.  I would love to have a larger parent and guardian turn out, I even offer extra credit to students who have an adult attend on their behalf.  However, I don’t know the circumstances these parents or guardian face.  I’m not a parent and I only have myself to look after.  I have no idea what it is to raise children in poverty or inner cities where crime, drugs, and prostitution run rapidly.  I have my own views and take on matters, but at the end of the day, I am not walking in their shoes, so who am I to judge?

With that, I feel like schools cannot and will not be successful without parent involvement.  Teamwork makes the dream work.  Yeah, it’s corny but true.   So, it got me to thinking, maybe the way we do Back to School Night is outdated and lame?  Perhaps we need to think of a new way to enroll parents, students, stakeholders or the community into these evenings.

I mean think about it.  Back in the day, it was a cutting-edge idea to bring your kids to work.  The thought was innovative and in some cases incomprehensible, yet today it’s the norm.  Well, what if it’s time to rethink how we do things?

I don’t know. I don’t have ANY of the answers, but I do have some ideas that would be fly.

  1. Community forums- a space where stakeholders can come together and discuss student needs, community needs, goals and visions for the school year, etc.
  2. Educational Raves- I’m not sure what this would be…but I thought the name was catchy.
  3. Student Exposition – student work is displayed, and they present on the work being exhibited.

Look, I’m making this all up!  I have no idea if something new would work, but I’m up for the conversation.  What are your thoughts?

 Parent-Involvement