Monday, March 19, 2007

Lack of Consequences


"I just came back from a meeting. On my way to my office I confiscated 2 hats, 3 i-pods and 4 cell phones. This school is a community. We have to take care of each other. Do not use these things in school. Teachers and security guards, if you see them being used confiscate them. If the student will not give them to you, take the students name. If you can't get the name, don't worry, we will find them later."
The above is a para-phrase of Principal Suit's sixth period announcement. I'm sure he feels that an announcement like this will make a difference. My experience says something else. The good kids will listen. The others will ignore him. I tell the same kids, every day, to put away these toys. They listen for a minute, or don't listen at all. The deans office does not follow through if I write the students up, so why bother? Even Principal Suit returns the confiscated materials to students daily, without any real penalties.

I walk past kids in the hall that are guilty of these infractions all the time. I don't' feel guilty about ignoring them. I can confront them, but what would I accomplish? The kid might take the hat off, or put the phone away for a minute. As soon as he walks away from me, I know it will go back on. He can choose to ignore me. If this happens, I must make a decision, do I continue harassing him and try to get him to do the right thing? This might mean sacrificing my lunch period, the only chance I have during the day to sit down. Or, I could just pretend the situation never happens. What does this do to my authority in the future when I try to get a kid to listen to me? I choose to leave my confrontations for the places that matter.

I do believe in rules. I just believe that I should be able to enforce the rules I set and there should be consequences for breaking the rules. Consequences should be uniformly dealt out. In my school, kids who disrespect a dean or an administrator are dealt with more severely than kids who disrespect a teacher. A school aid was threatened. She wrote it up and gave a copy to the principal and AP of security. Nothing was done to the kid. Another kid took the room pass and went to Arbies. He too suffered no consequences. A kid in my class walked out on my AP. Guess what? He got suspended. And the girl who threatened the pretty young dean? You guessed it again, suspended.

So, Principal Suit, stop interrupting our classes with your stupid, pointless announcements.

4 comments:

Ms M. said...

I think this is the situation for so many of us. Just the other day a student told me (in front of the AP) that she was going to 'smack' me if I made her parent come to the school to get the cell phone I had just confiscated. Our principal made the rule that parents had to come pick up electronics. They sporadically enforce their own rule, and they seldom back the teachers up when we attempt to enforce it. Nothing happened to the girl and the AP took the cell phone from me and gave it back to her about an hour later.

Nic said...

I just tell the kids to put them away in class, too. I honestly don't see why they can't have them in the halls, anyway.

What do I bet your principal decides to walk past kids using the same devices tomorrow and not enforce anything. The kids know they can wear us down on this one.

Pissed Off Pedagogue said...

Never mind the cell phone, ms. m, that girl threatened you!! You should have written that up and kept a copy for yourself; schools are "losing" paperwork meant for a possible suspension, or they are just not addressing a serious infraction like threatening a teacher. At the least, you would have the incident on record. The administration is enabling kids to break rules with impunity in my school. Carrying weapons gets a phone call home......

Pissed Off Pedagogue said...

Never mind the cell phone, ms. m, that girl threatened you!! You should have written that up and kept a copy for yourself; schools are "losing" paperwork meant for a possible suspension, or they are just not addressing a serious infraction like threatening a teacher. At the least, you would have the incident on record. The administration is enabling kids to break rules with impunity in my school. Carrying weapons gets a phone call home......