Friday, May 14, 2010

My Ninth Period

The class:

1 boy who is always going to court and just barely staying out of jail

1 boy who just finished his probation and doesn't have to listen to his mom anymore

1 boy whose mother admits she has no control over

1 boy whose mother told me he has anger management problems

1 girl who told me she has anger management problems

1 boy who stayed home for 7 months watching television

1 boy who cannot stay in a seat for more than 10 minutes

1 girl who just got transferred from a nearby school for G-d only knows what reason. (She told me my sub was "out of pocket with her" because he insisted she stay seated.)

2 new arrivals from Pakistan who know almost no English

1 girl whose mom just took her off her meds

2 students who refuse to go to resource room

1 boy who stares off into space an entire period

1 boy who just got out of rehab (although I think he is using again)

4 kids who never bother to show up

2 girls who show up only twice a week

1 boy who worked the first semester, took a 3 month siesta and is now working again

1 girl who got a no credit grade last semester, failed the first two with me and is now trying to take the regents exam

1 girl who is fine until she gets looked at the wrong way

2 kids who I believe are illiterate.

The rest of the class consists of kids who want to work, are slow learners and are having a hard time in the crazy atmosphere the others have created. And, this is what my union has accepted as a way to judge my effectiveness as a teacher.


Ricochet said...

OMG you peaked in my room!!

I have one who stares into space, 2 druggies (they say they are off drugs - don't think so), one really slow - and angry, 4 who work really hard, 1 who never comes (well, every 10th day), 1 who keeps telling me he'll be going to jail - but he never goes, 1 really slow skater, 1 who is ok in another class but likes the evil queen, 1 evil queen, 1 spoiled only son of a single mom, and one boy who I swear has PMS.

I think I can get most of them to pass my lowered expectations. But not all.

Anonymous said...

This begs the question: Why are kids like this in a regular school when they obviously need outside help to resolve their problems, before they can learn? They have a right to an education, but so do the other kids in the class. The situation benefits nobody. These kids get no better, those around them struggle to learn past the distractions, and you get told your not a good teacher. How about putting Mr. Klein in charge of your ninth period class? Let's see how his evaluation will look.

Kim said...

I counted up 26 students in your list. How many others are there? What a circus!

I still think upper-level admins and politicians should have to spend a month in class (and plan the instruction) before they tell us how to teach, or make our salary dependent on our students' performance. What a joke!

Anonymous said...

I would like to see how the charter schools would handle children with these challenges and still keep their "news worthy" scores impressive.

That is why we have public education and only experienced teachers would be able to devise lessons that meet their needs.

Well, I guess your 9th period class is not 7th heaven, for sure!

One Boys Mom said...

Yes, they're sure going to attract quality people to our profession with that kind of craziness :( glad I Don't teach in NY. Wondering if it's a matter of time... Just did state testing and in some anonymous feedback one student wrote "didn't do my best" - nice. Yes, tie my job security and wages to that please !?!?!!!!!

NYC Educator said...

Great, pithy post and great point.

Anonymous said...

These are the facts that never reach the media. The UFT is well aware that any administrator can make any class a disaster in order to find fault with the teacher when it's time for evaluation.

I know you like to work with at risk kids, but I think these students are well beyond your (and any teacher's) pay grade. And you have to ask yourself was this done deliberately?? If you think you are a "target", I hope you get better classes next year and still continue your tutoring sessions.

mathman42 said...

I'm impressed by how well you know these kids. Most with these modalities just don't show up for period 9 or 2.

One Boys Mom said...

Really just the fact we're discussing a "9th" period class is a bit like hmmmmm, how long are your class periods? And as for the charter school question, did you see the video this week of a charter school teacher beating up (no exaggeration) one of her 8th grade students for being mouthy?

Anonymous said...

I teach at the elementary school level (1st grade, if you can believe that...) and I have approximately 6 students who engage in such disruptive and often violent behavior that teaching is nearly impossible and the other 17 can't learn. I've been at my school for 10 years, am known as having good classroom management skills, and have never had a situation like this, although any given year there are often a couple of classes in the school like mine. Not only has this been the most harrowing year of my career, I have never worked harder, and the powers that be (with the UFT's blessing)want to fire me if I have the misfortune of being assigned a class like this 2 years in a row..? It's absolutely scandalous that classes like this are allowed to exist in the first place and school administrations do nothing about it but put it back on the teachers. No child is well-served academically in these kind of classrooms, not to mention, at least in mine, they are often in danger physically. I can only imagine what the long-term emotional impact will be on both the students who think the school doesn't care enough to help them and the others who are exposed to this every day. All are getting the message that this is an acceptable way to behave, and no matter how high their test scores may be, are more likely headed for a lifetime of dysfunction from this being allowed to take place.

There has to be a way those of us who have worked in schools where this is allowed to go on can band together and make the public aware of what is happening. My class/school is obviously not an anomaly...this is, and probably has always been, widespread, but now highly competent, hard-working teachers can lose their jobs because of it?