posted on Jan, 15 2011 @ 09:30 AM
I am a middle school building permanent substitute teacher. I am also a retired nurse. I have the opportunity to teach in many classrooms for grades 5
While in past years the behavior of the students has been challenging, this current school year has presented challenges the likes of which none of my
co-workers have ever experienced. Never before have I been faced with such disrespect, insubordination, and immature behavior. These students are
defiant and they don't seem to care and almost seem proud of their behavior. Their behavior almost serves as the focus of the classroom on some days.
It is constant discipline issues. This leaves lost time for teaching. It is disruptive and unfair to those students who want to learn. There are days
when I leave school totally exhausted just from the amount of discipline it takes to get through a day. These behaviors range anywhere from constant
talking, to getting up out of their seats to talk to another student without permission, throwing things across the room; tipping desks, talking out
of turn, laughing, yelling, arguing, throwing temper tantrums, name calling, to hitting another student. Some of this behavior is labeled ADHD.
There is protocol to follow for misbehavior. They are given verbal warnings. Sometimes the teachers change student seating to break up the
"talkers". The teacher may send an offending student to sit in the hall for a "time out". After two or three verbal warnings, the student can be
"written up" and sent to the vice principal. What follows is anywhere from a few hours in ISS (in school suspension), to OSS (out of school
suspension), depending the severity of the offense. The vice principal makes phone calls to the parent (s) or guardian of the student to discuss the
behavior and it's consequences. Unfortunately, many parents either don't care, or blame the teacher as "picking" on a particular student. If a
school is cited for too many suspensions", they are penalized by the school corporation, and worst case scenario, the vice principal could be
On any given day, the same students can be found sitting in the ISS room. They are repeat offenders. After so many OSS, the student can be brought up
for expulsion, only to return the next semester of school. Again, too many suspensions or expulsions, and the school is penalized.
I fear that soon, teachers will just walk out of the classrooms; and maybe this is what needs to happen. One particular teacher, in her 30's, is
trying desperately to find different ways to manage these students behaviors. We have "lunch detention" which means that for less offensive
behaviors, but still disruptive, the students are held during the first 20 minutes of their lunch, then they have 10 minutes to eat. The teacher also
suspends her lunch time to oversee the lunch detention. Lately, there have been so many students on lunch detention that the hallway is filled on both
sides. They are given a slip to be signed by their parent(s) that has to be returned the following day, or they receive another detention. Some do
return the slips, most don't. There have been no parental complaints about lunch detention. But again, it is usually the same students every day.
Just yesterday, two young ladies thought it cute to do cartwheels down the hallway. A teacher gave a verbal warning. Both girls looked directly at the
teacher, and did another cartwheel. This was captured on video. The girls were "written up". This behavior took place during a "passing period"
which means that the entire grade was in the hallway, making this behavior very dangerous. When written up, the girls thought it was "stupid" and
were also laughing about it, stating "are you serious?" This is just an example of the oppositional defiance that we see everyday. There have been
incidents where students have punched teachers. Those students were expelled.
The students will argue and yell back at the teacher. A student will call the teacher a "name" and the only consequence is a "talk" with the vice
principal, maybe 2 hours in ISS. It has reached the point where many of these students enjoy going to ISS and will purposefully act out to get placed
there. Obviously this endangers their education.
If this year is a preview to what is coming in the near future, I suspect we will see more and more teachers leaving the profession. We are exhausted
and running out of options.