Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Don't Let School Administrators Make ATRs A Scapegoat For Their Student Behavior Problems.
In too many schools the administration, lead by Principal looks the other way when students misbehave. In some of these schools the Principal will automatically take the word of the student over the teacher's and give the teacher a "letter to the file". However, since the teachers have ownership over the student's grade, the student will usually think twice about misbehaving in the school for fear of failing the class and the Principal may not be willing to take the student's word as true considering the student's discipline history.. Unfortunately, under the twelve year Bloomberg administration onslaught to demonize the teaching profession and having willing allies in the media, the students grow up with little respect for their teachers. To make matters even worse under the new "restorative discipline policy", students know there is little or no serious consequences by the school for their bad behavior.
In this environment of poor student discipline and school administrative inaction the ATR shows up for his or her weekly assignment at the school. Once the ATR shows up in the classroom the misbehaving students of these schools will revert back to their normal behavior of walking into class late, fail to do any work, refuse requests by the ATR to follow the rules and in some cases antagonize the teacher and rile up his or her followers to be disobedient. The result is usually a chaotic and noisy classroom. The ATR, in trying to either maintain or reassert control as we are trained to do ends up in a confrontation with the misbehaving student.Sometimes this leads to an incident that has negative consequences to the ATR.
Too many times I have heard of ATRs who, in trying to maintain control of a chaotic classroom, confronts the misbehaving student Guess which side the school administration takes in these altercations? The misbehaving student who has a discipline record a mile long or the ATR? You guessed it the misbehaving student. The result is that the ATR ends up being charged with either Corporal Punishment (Chancellors Regulation A-420) or Verbal Abuse (Chancellor's Regulation A-421). and gets a "letter to the file" and a "U rating".
What can an ATR to do? Its not easy, in the worst schools you can only hope the students don't destroy the classroom but try to talk to the class to do their work and "do the right thing". However, in no case should the ATR confront a student or use language of a threatening, racial, or sexual manner. Calling a student disrespectful or undisciplined is fine but don't tell them they are lazy, stupid, or ending up in prison. That will earn you "U rating" and never touch a student even if they are blocking you from closing the classroom door. Just call the dean or an administrator. Its not worth the chance that the student claimed you committed corporal punishment or worse. Just wait for help, don't be a hero, it can cost you your job!
The DOE has made the ATR job a "babysitting position" your job is to hand out the work left by the classroom teacher, walk around the room and encourage the students to do the assignment and if they don't, they don't. Be on time, and don't use your cellphone in class. Nothing more is expected of you and don't add to the stress by going the extra mile. The result could be disastrous.
Remember one of my quotes in my blog is:
The DOE motto "Students lie.....except when it's about their teacher". Especially if you're an ATR!