Far too often school administrators blame the classroom teacher for the chaos they observe when they look through the classroom door or walk into a classroom. The result is usually a strong lecture and maybe a letter to the file which could result in more serious consequences. Sure, some teachers, especially "newbies" have poor classroom management skills and 50% usually are gone from the classroom within five years. However, much of the classroom management issues can be laid squarely on the school polices that administrators use that result in the unruly classroom.
Many schools refuse to take action against badly behaved students who regularly disrupt the classroom and put into place a bewildering step by step procedure that makes it next to impossible to remove am unruly student from the classroom. The result is that the student continues their bad behavior and in many cases disrupts and distracts the rest of the students from learning. While suspending a student may not be the answer, keeping them in the classroom to regularly disrupt the classroom and make learning a problem is certainly not a solution either but that is what many New York City schools continue to do.
Keeping the badly behaved and disrupted student in class is a morale breaker for teachers and for the majority of students who want to learn. Yet, school administrators are unwilling to remove these unruly students by deflecting blame for the situation on the poor teacher. In many schools students are showing up late to class, be it the first or eighth period, since the student knows there is no consequence for being late to class. Even when caught in the hallway, they are shooed into their classroom without any penalty. Furthermore, when the teacher calls home, assuming the phone number is correct, at the high school level most parents and guardians have already given up in disciplining their lovely darlings and have little influence on their behavior or study habits.
The problem is exacerbated by the school administration's response to continued problems by a select group of unruly students who then arrange a mediation session which always seems to occur during a teacher's lunch period or after school and usually results in little change in the student's behavior. Some people call this restorative justice but in my experience it has had little real effect on student behavior. The students believe, and correctly so, that restorative justice is a joke. Furthermore. the assigning of self-contained students in large class sizes and dumping academically and emotionally unprepared students into these classes is a disaster and adds to the behavior problem, which continues unabated under the Bill de Blasio Administration.
In many of the Bloomberg small schools, there are no self-contained classes but since these struggling schools must keep their student population numbers up or lose funding, they take in increasingly large numbers of level one students who, in a large school, would be put into a self-contained classroom with individualized instruction. However, in the Bloomberg small schools there are no self-contained classrooms and that means that these academically and behaviorally struggling students will be dumped into classes with 33 other students and little individual instruction. The inevitable consequence will be frustration, helplessness, poor academic grades, and bad behavior. Yet, the school administration will blame the teacher and not their own short-sighted and failed school policies when dealing with these unruly students.
Unless the school administration collaborates with and not dictates to the teachers in trying to achieve a peaceful classroom, real academic achievement is simply an illusion.