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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Smart Ass Response of the Week and the Woes of TeacherLady


When told to please stop chatting in class, then later asked why they continued to do so, a student's response was "I'm brushing up on my social skills."

I'm so glad I wasn't the teacher getting that response. I try not to be swayed by student humor, but I've been so slap happy recently, I might have burst out laughing and made things worse.

I wish I could say I was slap happy for good reasons, but sadly not. While examining how things "ought to be" in the education world through my college classes and philosophical discussions with my peers, I am then faced with the chaos that is reality.

In an ideal education world, when a kid qualifies as mentally retarded and the special education teacher working with her (ie. yours truly) has done all she possibly can to get this kid covered legally, it wouldn't take 4 MONTHS with no sign of the paperwork being completed by those responsible (ie. the school psychologist) any time soon.

In an ideal education world, when a teacher asks a student if she is okay with the work she's been assigned and the student responds by yelling and calling the teacher a "ho", or if a teacher is even physically threatened by a student, the administrators and counselors wouldn't then question the teacher in an accusatory tone about what efforts he or she made towards building "good rapport" with that student, or even worse, ask what the teacher did wrong to provoke the student that way, then let the kid off lightly and wonder why the classes are in chaos with the students running the whole show. At what point do we realize we ALL take responsibilities here, that includes the kids, teachers, parents, and administrators. I would never say it's the parent's job alone, nor the administrator's exclusively because that's not what I believe, nor would I blame one group entirely either...

In an ideal education world, ALL the classroom teachers put thought into their lesson plans and not pull things out of their asses last minute, especially when the special education teacher is being expected to co-teach and is being evaluated on her ability to do so... I don't want to be a bitch, but if my evaluations were to come back negative because I'm not co-teaching, it would put me in a hugely awkward situation where I'm tempted to point out some ugly truths. I've not done so yet. This also applies to evaluations of my ability to maintain classroom management when I work in classrooms where the teacher is completely inconsistent with expectations and then I have to tell the kid to put away their mp3 players/phones or not talk while I'm trying to teach the short lecture portion of the lesson and they argue that the other teacher lets them do it all the time. Way to add to the grey hairs I'm already accumulating on my head. Especially when I think how much better these lessons could be...

I have fantasies that these kids receive the education they deserve... Where they learn that a line is drawn at some point, and crossing it out in the "real world" doesn't mean you get an extra chance, and an extra chance, or continuously enjoy the wonderful protection afforded to them in school by the statement "I have anger management issues"... Where they learn, practice, and master the skills necessary to get and keep a job. Where they learn to cope with frustrations and failures with grace, instead of constantly escaping, avoiding, or being given the false belief that we are "all winners" all the time and that if you complain loudly enough or to the right person, you'll be one too regardless of what you did or didn't do. There will be no soft-hearted teacher or administrator or counselor out in the big bad world who will let you seek refuge in their room rather than face the music. Show empathy, by all means, and give them these supports while they're starting to learn to handle life without them, but make the goal for them to eliminate those crutches at SOME point.

One of the reasons I've been blogging less is because my job has expanded to cover more and more responsibilities and I'm determined to do them well. I know I've got a lot of growth ahead of me, but it's frustratingly limited by the crap of which I've only just begun to address in this post.

5 comments:

kinzi said...

Thanks for what you do for those kids, I am so proud of you. It matters. Time to expose those who fake it.

Anonymous said...

Good mind, good find........................................

TeacherLady said...

Yay. More spam. I like my spam with eggs and baked beans, but I'll take what I can get.

Kinzi, thanks for the supportive statement! You're always good for those.

kinzi said...

Teacher Lady, it is easy with you, an exceptional light shining in a difficult place. So few invest like you do, I marvel.

Change happens when people are faithful to do what God has gifted them to do (oops,if you don't do God, insert 'force' or something).

I can't teach inner-city kids with special needs,and battle inept teachers and administrators, but if I can help with encouragement, I will :)

TeacherLady said...

Well, I'm hardly some sort of saint or the kind of teacher movies are made about... I don't see myself as doing wondrous work by any means... I'm just passionate about my career and want to do it well. I would hope anyone with the same sort of drive in any sort of profession would earn the kind of respect you're giving me. I bear as much awe for the chef who prepares his dish with love, precision, and respect as the teacher who dedicates a lot of time to careful lesson planning and expansive thinking. Thanks, though, for the flattery, but I'm really not trying to fish for it! :)