Sunday, May 24, 2015

I Know How she feels

Eighth grade math teacher Stephanie Bush says she knew last fall, just weeks into the school year, that things could get dicey under a new discipline code for Madison’s public schools.
“Usually the first quarter is a honeymoon period when students are excited to be in school and behaviors are good. So when things were already deteriorating rapidly, it was a sign to me that this was not going in a good direction,” said Bush, 50, who has taught at Jefferson Middle School on Madison’s west side her whole career.
It wasn’t a specific incident, but the piling on of several serious incidents so early in the school year that troubled her.
“I’m seeing behaviors on a regular basis that I haven’t seen in 20 years of teaching,” Bush said. Some of this alarming conduct included students swearing at teachers, kicking trash cans, walking out of class, and kids wandering the hallways and in and out of classrooms, she said.
The behavior policy, implemented at the start of this school year, requires teachers to ask for outside help if they can’t control a misbehaving student. But Bush says such calls for help often go unanswered by overwhelmed support staff, who are supposed to walk an out-of-control student out of the classroom and “intervene” to get a sense of the causes of the misbehavior.
“We call and no one comes," she said. "Teachers have stopped calling.”
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This year, I taught at an elementary school for the first time in my 19 year teaching career.
To say I was shocked at the behaviors I saw at our school would be an extreme understatement.
I worked with 4th ad 5th grade students.  I saw some of the most horrible behaving kids, kids so bad that I will be seeing their names in the newspaper in about 8 years in the felony news section of the newspaper.
These bad students were completely disrespectful to the adult staff, ranging from aides, to teachers and principals.  They didn't care because there was little consequences at school and fewer consequences at home.
There were some good kids, of course, but the majority of kids were just bad and throughout the entire school year.  Some kids started good and ended bad, others were just plain bad.  And it wasn't race, the vast of majority of the kids are white.
Now, may of the kids had bad parents.  When the parents came to pick up the kids, it looked like half the parents were drug users, though that may not be fair, it may actually be 3/4 of them.  And for the other 1/4th, the grandparents or others were guardians.
I talked to numerous teachers at the school I was at and so many have said that this was the worst year they have ever had and this also goes to teachers at other schools I talked with.
So, I feel this teachers pain.  It's frustrating when the kids act bad and there is no support from the administration or the district office.
Man, I fear for the future.

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