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Teachers vs Students - The balance of power has shifted.

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posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:25 PM
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Do you remember who had the power when you were a student? I graduated HS in 2000 and I remember that in elementary and middle school the Teacher had almost absolute power and control over classrooms ( I left out HS because I went to military school, my own choice as I wasn't a 'bad kid' ). A Teacher's word was unquestioned. Punishments were allowed and did not require an administrator's approval.

I assume a majority of you ATSers out there are past college age, though I know there is a good number of High School and College types that read these forums. Most of you will remember school the same way I do. There were always the rebellious few who made things interesting, but for the most part there was order.

In today's classroom there is chaos and disorder. Teachers are afraid to say anything to misbehaving students because the kids go home and tell mommy or daddy some story, and these parents call the administrators to complain. Before a teacher even gets to tell their side of the story there is already a write up or investigation.


Here is a great example from my own experience:

A Short Example…
I worked in an inner city school with 8th graders at a K-8 school. 85% of the population is considered impoverished. A student who preferred to walk the halls instead of learning Algebra would always come in late and disrupt the class. One day he walked in and started going around knocking student's notebooks off their desks. I stopped the lesson to address his behavior by asking him to leave the room if he had no intention of learning. He started to walk next to me toward the door but quickly turned away to knock more books off desks. The second time I got him to follow me I gently placed my hand between his shoulders to ensure he wouldn't run back in again. On the way I said to him "if this is how you are going to act in school you will never amount to anything and just wind up as a bum under the 'el' (the school is right under the elevated train). Is that what you want?"

The next day I received a memorandum in my mailbox that I need to show up for an investigatory conference for alleged child abuse both verbal and physical. I was never asked what happened from my side. I had 3 different students write statements as to what they witnessed which proved I did nothing wrong. At the conference the Principal ripped up those statements and said they were worthless because I may have coached them and he honestly didn’t care about my side of the story.

This is just one small example from that school where there are 100s of these kinds of stories from this year alone. Now I’m just one Teacher in a district of over 14000 Teachers so you can imagine often these things go on. Also important to note, I was considered a pretty decent Teacher and been told I have good classroom management by many teacher coaches.


Example of a good punishment…

My wife also works at the same school. Just the other week she had a class of 3rd graders in her digital art lab. The 3rd graders were acting nuts and she had trouble gaining control of the class. So she shut off the computers, made them take out a piece of paper and gave them all 3 sentences to write 10 times each for the rest of the period. This week they showed up and were perfect little angels. When she shared this story with 2 other teachers they told her that she cannot use corporal punishment and that she should consider herself lucky the admins do not know about it.

WHAT?!!?!?!?!?!?! An effective punishment is wrong?

Teachers are afraid of students because one word from a student or parent can end a career. Administrators do not care what Teachers have to say and just act on the word of a student or parent. I have gotten out of Teaching because I couldn’t stand having my heart and spirit broken every day. I got into teaching because I wanted to make a difference. My heart breaks for the good kids who come to school and try their best to learn something amidst the chaos.


PINK SLIPS

So does anyone remember pink slips? Well they are still around but are completely ineffective. Teachers are told to document everything. Pink slips are supposed to be used for major infractions only. I would say play or real fighting in class, bullying, outright disrespect of a teacher by cussing them out count as major. However, these pink slips many times just disappear because they make the school look bad and in turn the Principal. The worst is children can threaten and physically attack teachers, and the teacher will get in trouble if they defend themselves.

Administrators are more concerned with 'data' than with actual education. Data is used under No Child Left Behind to determine how much funding a school will receive the following year. The most important factors are state standardized tests and the number of "serious incidents." So pink slips get swept under the rug. When this happens, the kid who should have been punished will walk back into class with . held high, chest out, and strutting with devious smiles because they ‘won’ and the teacher lost.

The dangerous side effect of such practices is that kids who would, under normal circumstances, do the right thing are now tempted to misbehave because they see there are no consequences or repercussions.


Conclusion.

So what is a Teacher to do? How can we shift the balance of power back to the Teacher? And how can we stop everyone from trying to blame the Teachers? Is it possible to hold Parents responsible for not taking an active role in their children’s education? Can we go back to holding children accountable for their actions?

Thoughts… Ideas….


PS for anyone who may just accuse me of being bitter due to my personal experience not being so pleasant understand that I am not bitter at all. I am truly worried about the future of our nation because the “future leaders” as my 8th grade gym teacher used to call us are not learning anything.




posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:32 PM
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reply to post by Whatsreal
 


When god hands you lemons you....FIND A NEW GOD!

I would start looking for a job at a privet school or better yet go back to college and get a new degree. School is a joke and you’re the punch line.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:33 PM
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And just think, most of those kids are going to be ADULTS soon!

Crazy change is coming one way or another. Get ready!



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:35 PM
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I agree with you, dude. Children have power now - and thats a very dangerous thing. Look at nature - baby animals don't hold the power, because they make stupid decisions if they do - the adult animals keep them in line. Elephants will grab a branch and whack a naughty baby elephant across the rump - and not just the mother but all females in the herd will have a part in the raising of the calf. For some daft reason we humans have ceded all our control to the children! Hasn't anyone read Lord of the Flies?

I don't advocate child abuse, but society in its knee jerk reaction has gone too far the opposite way, and the kids will play on it. We are in for a bumpy ride.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:41 PM
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Public school systems are a joke. Children are not learning crap but what the NEA feeds to the public schools. Wow, teach me how to take a standardized test! As for private school, you get a better education but at the expense of learning a false religion and following a false god.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:41 PM
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i say beat the hell out of those little animals.

kids were getting paddled when i was in school, they need it a lot more than we ever did.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:51 PM
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Originally posted by ReaPErofSIN
you get a [color=gold]better education but at the expense of learning a [color=gold]false religion and following a false god.


Which is it.
Is it better, or is it false.

I take it that this was written by someone educated in a public school.


And there is the rub.
Asking people who were educated
to value opinion over critical thinking
about what-to-do about education is a null program.

How about we ask the original constitution what it says about schools instead.


David Grouchy



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:51 PM
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Its despicable. The kids are not afraid anymore, and do as they please. For 4 years, nearly 5 now, a child has harrassed me, I have made report after report, but nothing has come of it other than to ignore him. Honestly, they wonder why children never tell the admins any more? They cant do anything. Its a matter of making them stop now, as the proper channels are a joke. Also, the idiotic zero-tolerance policy is ridiculous. I got in trouble for telling the kid I'd make him shut up after he verbally harrassed and abused me. I was given a warning, and near suspension. Also, if he lays a hand on me, and I fight back, I will end up suspended. Especially because I have studied martial arts for many years, and am confident I would injure him. Its truly ridiculous.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:59 PM
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Originally posted by Whatsreal
Do you remember who had the power when you were a student? I graduated HS in 2000 and I remember that in elementary and middle school the Teacher had almost absolute power and control over classrooms ( I left out HS because I went to military school, my own choice as I wasn't a 'bad kid' ). A Teacher's word was unquestioned. Punishments were allowed and did not require an administrator's approval.

I assume a majority of you ATSers out there are past college age, though I know there is a good number of High School and College types that read these forums. Most of you will remember school the same way I do. There were always the rebellious few who made things interesting, but for the most part there was order.

In today's classroom there is chaos and disorder. Teachers are afraid to say anything to misbehaving students because the kids go home and tell mommy or daddy some story, and these parents call the administrators to complain. Before a teacher even gets to tell their side of the story there is already a write up or investigation.


Here is a great example from my own experience:

A Short Example…
I worked in an inner city school with 8th graders at a K-8 school. 85% of the population is considered impoverished. A student who preferred to walk the halls instead of learning Algebra would always come in late and disrupt the class. One day he walked in and started going around knocking student's notebooks off their desks. I stopped the lesson to address his behavior by asking him to leave the room if he had no intention of learning. He started to walk next to me toward the door but quickly turned away to knock more books off desks. The second time I got him to follow me I gently placed my hand between his shoulders to ensure he wouldn't run back in again. On the way I said to him "if this is how you are going to act in school you will never amount to anything and just wind up as a bum under the 'el' (the school is right under the elevated train). Is that what you want?"

The next day I received a memorandum in my mailbox that I need to show up for an investigatory conference for alleged child abuse both verbal and physical. I was never asked what happened from my side. I had 3 different students write statements as to what they witnessed which proved I did nothing wrong. At the conference the Principal ripped up those statements and said they were worthless because I may have coached them and he honestly didn’t care about my side of the story.

This is just one small example from that school where there are 100s of these kinds of stories from this year alone. Now I’m just one Teacher in a district of over 14000 Teachers so you can imagine often these things go on. Also important to note, I was considered a pretty decent Teacher and been told I have good classroom management by many teacher coaches.


Example of a good punishment…

My wife also works at the same school. Just the other week she had a class of 3rd graders in her digital art lab. The 3rd graders were acting nuts and she had trouble gaining control of the class. So she shut off the computers, made them take out a piece of paper and gave them all 3 sentences to write 10 times each for the rest of the period. This week they showed up and were perfect little angels. When she shared this story with 2 other teachers they told her that she cannot use corporal punishment and that she should consider herself lucky the admins do not know about it.

WHAT?!!?!?!?!?!?! An effective punishment is wrong?

Teachers are afraid of students because one word from a student or parent can end a career. Administrators do not care what Teachers have to say and just act on the word of a student or parent. I have gotten out of Teaching because I couldn’t stand having my heart and spirit broken every day. I got into teaching because I wanted to make a difference. My heart breaks for the good kids who come to school and try their best to learn something amidst the chaos.


PINK SLIPS

So does anyone remember pink slips? Well they are still around but are completely ineffective. Teachers are told to document everything. Pink slips are supposed to be used for major infractions only. I would say play or real fighting in class, bullying, outright disrespect of a teacher by cussing them out count as major. However, these pink slips many times just disappear because they make the school look bad and in turn the Principal. The worst is children can threaten and physically attack teachers, and the teacher will get in trouble if they defend themselves.

Administrators are more concerned with 'data' than with actual education. Data is used under No Child Left Behind to determine how much funding a school will receive the following year. The most important factors are state standardized tests and the number of "serious incidents." So pink slips get swept under the rug. When this happens, the kid who should have been punished will walk back into class with . held high, chest out, and strutting with devious smiles because they ‘won’ and the teacher lost.

The dangerous side effect of such practices is that kids who would, under normal circumstances, do the right thing are now tempted to misbehave because they see there are no consequences or repercussions.


Conclusion.

So what is a Teacher to do? How can we shift the balance of power back to the Teacher? And how can we stop everyone from trying to blame the Teachers? Is it possible to hold Parents responsible for not taking an active role in their children’s education? Can we go back to holding children accountable for their actions?

Thoughts… Ideas….


PS for anyone who may just accuse me of being bitter due to my personal experience not being so pleasant understand that I am not bitter at all. I am truly worried about the future of our nation because the “future leaders” as my 8th grade gym teacher used to call us are not learning anything.



You won't stop it. I am currently studying Teaching at Uni and thw two words I think you want to use here are critical reflection. In many ways I agree with the importance of teaching critical reflection, we need to end the bias and stereotypes in the world and children should have a right to have a say. However no teacher should feel they have a class on unruly kids because they cannot use reinforcement. I use a lot of positive reinforcement on my prac but I also instantly punish bad behaviour. There has to be a behaviour management system up and students should take ownership of their behaviour. It is not only about doing something good and getting a reward, it is a bout the feeling , the good feeling, associated with it. If they do something wrong then they get a consequence, and the more they don't listen, well that means off to the office. You have to reward behaviour instantly whether it is good or bad. I will warn the whole class if they act up with a few minutes staying back when the recess bell goes (a few minutes no longer than 5 because I want my recess too!).

I dont agree with people who say children should not have consequences for their behaviour because in real life there are always consequences for bad behaviour. But giving them ownership in their behaviours i.e. getting them to write a contract detailing what behaviours are appropriate in the class and what behaviours are not - and if they do a behaviour that is not appropriate they get these consequences and then getting them to sign the contract, is a good idea my mentor teacher has used.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 11:15 PM
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I teach PE in the inner city (high school) and do have problems with some students, but always take care of them quickly. In my classroom students are given opportunities to learn and be successful. If they decide not to take advantage of these opportunities, they are dismissed from class and failed. Good luck on the streets, kid... If students aren't willing to accept responsibility for their education, there is no reason to keep them around to bring everyone else down.

Of course everyone is given chances and go through a series of interventions before simply being kicked out of class, but lets be honest, enough is enough. I have no problem getting rid of students for the betterment of the class.

I also realize this isn't as feasable of an option for K-8 as it is in high school and standardized testing/funding is not affected by my content area. I have it easy in the gym. Classroom teachers are being beat down by the system. There is nothing I can say that is going to revolutionize the way we teach and/or take command in the classroom.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 11:18 PM
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reply to post by ashnomadonte
 


I actually have my undergrad in Business law and my masters in education (mathematics). I am back in the business world working for myself because I cannot work for stupid people anymore (the administrators).


The only way out of the situation is for parents to take the side of the teacher. If parents and teachers unite, kids will lose their power immediately as will the administrators!



posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 11:52 AM
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Originally posted by Whatsreal
reply to post by ashnomadonte
 

The only way out of the situation is for parents to take the side of the teacher. If parents and teachers unite, kids will lose their power immediately as will the administrators!


You just hit the nail on the ..

Every time I was ever in disciplinary hearing wait area (I wasn't the kindest kid), I would here parents defend their children up, down, and sideways. It was 'never' their child's fault, little Jimmy would never do that, etc...ad nausem. It didn't take long for verbal defences to transition to litigation threats.

Parents took authority away from teachers, only parents can give it back.

My mother found an easy solution (she is old school). After it became obvious that I was an issue, she had a meeting with the admin and teachers that I had, and she would issue them written permission to use the good old paddle. When one teacher commented that she no longer even had a paddle, my mother supplied her with a wooden spoon. I never had a single disciplinary hearing after she started doing that. I only had to get the paddle at school once (followed by a paddling at home) to correct my behaviour.




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