Monday, March 05, 2007


Bitching time again! I found a notice this morning that one of my students has been suspended with a note to send work and an evaluation form within 24 hours from receipt of the letter. Now, being a math teacher I know that 24 hours would bring me to Tuesday at 6:50 AM. Imagine my surprise when the phone rang in my class at 2:00 today telling me that the dean in charge and the parent had struck a deal. The suspension would start immediately and I should send work now. It didn't seem to matter that I was teaching a class at the time and that my day ended at the end of that class. Very politely I told her that the request could not be filled. She then asked me to send a work sheet. Sorry, I said, I don't have a work sheet for today.

So now, the kid sat in the suspension room without a math assignment. I'm sure he couldn't have done the assignment after missing the class, but no one cares about that. The only thing that matters is the piece of paper that makes it look like the school is doing its job.

This kid is a troubled kid. He is doing much better this term than he did last term and I have good feelings about him being able to pass in the end. My piece of paper today would have no effect on his ability to learn. In fact, if I did have a work sheet it might have frustrated him rather than help him.

When the suspension is over I will do whatever I can to help him catch up. I'm just not willing to jump through hoops to make the school look good.


Nic said...

That drives me batty about the AIP room. Just send a worksheet, that the kid will have no idea how to do because he's MISSING class, and no one on the AIP room speaks Spanish. Maybe I should just send word searches so they have their little bit of paper.

Pissedoffteacher said...

One term I left a calculus worksheet for a remedial math kid just to show how dumb the whole system was.

Anonymous said...

I have a student who is on long term suspension in "another location." I am asked to send him work; he will return some time this spring. Of course, the kids he victimized have asked for safety transfers, while the one who preyed on them is allowed to return, thanks to KleinBloom "reforms". Needless to say, the work I sent has not been seen since. It went into the bureaucratic maelstrom that is Tweed.

Shefi said...

I'm reading Kohl's "36 children". He describes some administrator visiting his class (I'm paraphrasing as I don't have the book in front of me): "She came in unannounced, said nothing to me and proceeded to walk around the room asking kids what they were doing.... Then she came to one kid who was tearing up bits of paper (had been all morning) and he said "just tearing up bits of paper". She started lecturing to him and he rolled his eyes and muttered. She went out, saying something about "discipline".

Coming in unannounced? No knock? No greeting?!?! And Pissed Off getting a phone call in the middle of a class, and you have to answer it? This is unbelievable! Maybe I've lived in Japan too long, but even the president of the school or the chair of the board of directors would never, ever, just walk into someone's class. Only a yakuza boss would do something like that. Which is why this kind of behaviour just reeks to me of power play: "You're not important. I am. So I can walk into your class without explanation." I understand PA announcements routinely happen during class, too. Just intolerable. I would just hit the roof.

ms. whatsit said...

I do not like to be interrupted by phone calls for any reason. With only 50 minute classes, every minute counts. The administrator should know better, but perhaps it's been a long, long time since she worked in the classroom.

I think that one of the hardest parts of our job is the feeling that we are being pulled in many directions at the same time.

Pissedoffteacher said...

Not only are we interrupted by phone calls, but Principal Suit loves the sound of his voice over the PA. He is on it non stop. He begins every month by playing happy birthday to everyone who celebrates that month. I don't have to draw a picture as to what this does to our classes, especially the lower level ones.

We've been having trouble with the bells. They have been going off every five minutes. Everyone knows that this does not mean the period is over yet, he announces that we should ignore the bells every time they ring.

He also insists on playing loud music between periods. The problem is that it is not in between periods for all classes--some meet for double periods. Also, no one can hear themselves think or talk over the music so if you want to talk to a kid after class this is impossible. And forget about being on the phone!

I envy schools in Japan. Do you know if they could use a math teacher?