Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Failure To Enforce Student Discipline Codes By The Administration Is The Main Cause Why Schools Fail.

I am in a Transformation/Restart school and am treated very well by the AP who is willing to ignore my lack of technology in my lesson plans. Yes, I know how to use the technology but I am in three rooms and two floors and refuse to lug around equipment that takes 10 minutes or more to set up, However, the Bloomberg threat to eliminate up to 50% of the teaching staff has caused the already low morale to plummet to a level that is affecting the students. I already have had some of my students ask me if I will really be here for the rest of the school year and are worried that they will get teachers who never taught in the classroom next year. One student told her classmates in my class about a "newbie" teacher that she had this year who can't teach and quit two weeks ago, leaving the students knowing little and with day to day substitute teachers. The school caught a real break, they just hired an excellent teacher from the ATR ranks and my student thinks he is great.

While teacher morale is at an all time low, the real problem is the lack of enforced student discipline at the school. This school has expanded their student body greatly by taking many students who have questionable academic skills and documented behavioral problems. These students tend to walk the halls, walk into the classroom way late and refuse to do any work when they do show up. Some will tell the classroom teacher to "shut up" when the teacher asks the student to open his or her notebook. Others are using their cellphone or Ipad and ignore the teacher. Cursing out a teacher is not a rare event and if the student does not actually threaten the teacher, the Administration looks the other way. I suspect that many of the Transformation/Restart schools suffer from the same problems with the Administration's failure to support student discipline codes and bury their heads in the sand of denial. Even a once great school like Martin Van Buren is failing due to the poor school Administration. Moreover, the failure of the screened and small schools to take these students worsen the situation.

Since the Bloomberg/Walcott Administration wants to close all the Transformation/Restart schools and keep the existing student body, it would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic but far worse as the "newbie teachers" who take over will be in for a culture shock and quit in droves during the school year, even further destabilizing these once great schools and hurting the students the Administration claims to care so much about in their "children last" program.


Anonymous said...

Administrators have become enablers of bad discipline in city schools, fearing parent reprisal and a report to the superintendent.

Miss RIm said...

I couldn't agree more. It's WAY worse in the District 75 schools, where cursing out and actually hitting teachers is a several times daily event - especially in classes that serve emotionally disturbed students. Administration is reluctant to suspend students - partly because it's hard to suspend students for something that is part of their disability and also because it looks bad. Placing a student in a more restrictive environment - even within the same school also negatively affects the school report card and the administrator's bonus.
Other options like in school suspensions or SAVE rooms never seem to work out for the students, who typically end up with an enormous amount of attention that reinforces the behavior. The consequences for violent behavior should suck and be boring for the students. When the cops arrest you, you don't get to go on the computer and eat cookies!
A student gave me a concussion last year, I was taken away in an ambulance. He was back to school the next day - running the halls, cursing, and his only consequence was that he didn't get a sticker. He was removed to a more restrictive environment earlier this fall only after spitting in the principals face.
As a special ed teacher, I'm very keen on behavior management, but cannot implement any of my strategies if there's no follow through. In fact, many of the things that happen undermine my authority. This really puts a bee in my bonnet, hanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

I don't see this changing anytime soon. I got written up three times in one semester, because I reported students' misbehavior.
The assholes accused me of not having control of the class, otherwise the students wouldn't have misbehaved. The student that I got suspended had his suspension recinded, because his mommy complained. After the third letter in my file, I quit my job.
My only regret is that i didn't sock my AP and Principal in the face. My Union Rep just sat there at the meetings, saying nothing.
I went 16 years without even a memo in my file, and now the Gestapo decides if students misbehave, it's our fault.
I feel sorry for non-vested teachers; with the new evaluation system agreement Mulgrew made with Adolph Bloomberg today, you're lucky if you last five years.
I was in a school that used the Danielson evaluation system, and 65% of us got Ineffective Teacher ratings.

Anonymous said...

Im in a small school, get cursed out on a daily basis and even had a student use a chair to pin me in a corner and threaten to "cut me" and was told, that "because the chair pinned me and not the student directly" they would not do a thing.

NY_I said...

These disruptive students are absolutely instrumental to two NYC DOE goals:
1) Closing down schools. Disruption ensues, it's hard to get that student to perform, it's hard to get his/her peers to perform, the scores stay low, the schools close.
2) Eliminating teachers. Disruption ensues, it's hard to get that student to perform, it's hard to get his/her peers to perform, the scores stay low, the teacher gets an ineffective rating, in the 2nd year of this, the DOE pulls the teacher's license.
It's a win-win for the chaos-loving student and the eager-too-shutter-schools mayor.
Crucial to this entire process are the incentives for administrators to neglect to remove or otherwise punish violent or disruptive students.
Why won't the union ever address any of these issues?

Lois Weiner said...

I don't buy the "disruptive" student focus because it ends saying the problem is the "bad kids," often poor kids of color. No way we can build a movement or get parent support with that line. Plus it enforces a hierarchical climate that disempowers teachers too. We need to fight for schools that are communities, given the resources and supports that allow us to help kids - small classes, good social services, freedom to develop materials that really work with kids - and freedom from these oppressive tests. Yes kids with lots of problems need help - and the school should be doing that. One way is with restorative justice strategies. Teachers Unite has developed some great materials.