Thursday, February 25, 2010


I hate, hate, hate days like today.  They embody just about everything that is wrong with our school system, and maybe with society as a whole. 

I am a teacher who taught nothing today.  (Well, maybe I did teach my 6th graders how to figure out how old a person is....I'll get back to that story later, because that may well have been the highlight of my day...)

Back before the holidays (I guess that would be B.H.) one of my students got in a fight.  It was a serious fight and she was seriously mad.  A teacher was hit inadvertently.  Our "school resource officer" (campus cop) had to be called and she was restrained with handcuffs and shackles before the madness was over.  So the school administration requested that she be educated at another site.  Fine. 

The paperwork that it takes for that to happen is INSANE.  Prior to the 10:30 meeting, I probably spent an hour or so making sure that I had what they needed (because often it is my paperwork that is "on trial", not the student). Then SIX school system employees sat around a table in a conference room for 2 1/2 hours to discuss whether the child's behavior was related to her disability, to decide the consequences of her actions, and to complete the paperwork required.  I missed lunch.  I missed duty.  I missed teaching 2 ninety minute class periods.  I didn't do any lesson planning.  I didn't grade any papers.  I didn't make up my quiz for tomorrow.  After the meeting adjourned, I spent another three hours or so at my computer completing the paperwork that had been discussed at the meeting.  Over 20 man hours spent on a fight!  That is where your tax dollars are going...

In the end, a very remorseful child (a rare thing in my experience) was placed for several weeks at an alternative site, and that will probably be best for all involved. 

Way too often in our educational system, the misbehavior of one or two negatively impact the learning and education of many students. 

Oh -and on the thing about figuring out ages... This week, I have been spotlighting a different "Moment in Black History."  I am so tired of the Obama-mania that has taken over in the last year, so I picked MY favorite success stories from the black community...Dr. Ben Carson (a wonderful story), Condoleezza Rice (another good story), Louis Armstrong, and Bill Cosby.  Always the kids want to know how old the person in question is, so I showed them how to figure it out.  Yesterday, one young man was shocked to find out that Condoleezza Rice - whom he thought was "pretty" was in her mid-50's.  And so, although it is probably nowhere in the Almighty Curriculum, they may have learned a something that will be of use to them.  Or not.

Tomorrow will almost certainly be better.

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