Post # 16
timonandpumba : Where exactly are you located? I get the feeling either Australia or NZ. If so please contact your union. Both countries have strong teachers unions.
Are you new or newish to teaching? Because students can be brutal on new/ish teachers. Do you have a mentor or year co-ordinator that you can speak to?
I never came across a single person responsible for discipline during my time in education but I also was never at a school with 1000+ kids. I would seek clarification from your department head or equivilant as to what the guys position is supposed to be and what it really is.
I think before deciding on a course of discipline you and your supervisor (or whoever else is included in the discipline meeting) should hear what the students have to say and then decide on discipline based on that. Please do not meet with the students/parents alone.
What I would do in your situation (and I have been in similar or worse situations since I mostly worked with disengaged and discarded students) would be to be firm (most schools have a no violence/harm policy) but also evaluate what would be the best punishment that doesn’t result in (further) disengagement from education.
Things like would they benefit from being separated and some moved to another class (if possible) on top of any discipline measures might be a good idea. Also I have always viewed suspension as a holiday for students (and most students would agree unless they had tough parents) and much prefer in-school suspension. So basically they sit in a room by themselves under supervision and do their classwork. They also get lunch at a different time to the other students so that they cannot fratenize. It is more effective imho than sending a student off to do who knows whilst their parents are at work.
You should feel safe at work and if you are not being supported by the leadership team then definitely talk to your union. You might want to go to the doctor and get checked out and get in on record what happened just in case, especially if you are in Australia and want to lodge a work cover claim.
Post # 17
Your expectations for what should and shouldn’t be allowed in your classroom are entirely too low. I’ve been teaching 14-16 year olds for 7 years now and I’ve never had one even come close to what you’re describing. If you don’t want to get the police involved then you still need to press for the highest in school punishment possible. You are teaching these kids that it’s literally ok to run over you. If you don’t set an example now the rest of your kids will understand that they can get away with just about anything. You’re making life harder for yourself by not wanting to step on toes.
Post # 18
- Wedding: October 2016 - Wedgewood Las Vegas
I’m sorry, but you need to be harsh with ALL of them. They ALL need to have the same punishment to be fair. So be it if it means being suspended.
They made a calculated decision to do this to you. They are definitely old enough to understand what is acceptable and what isn’t. If you try to be ‘compassionate’ and let them off with a small slap on the wrist I guarantee they will do this to you again. And again. Your classroom will suffer.
This is an important life lesson they can learn at this time. Actions have consequences. This may even serve as a wake-up call to them, and they may turn completely around.
For the record, I am not a teacher. However, I have been involved in enough youth groups to know that teenagers will push boundaries, and become worse if there is no clear discipline. I’ve seen even incredibly out of control teens turn completely around when there was firm, but fair, leaders. I know of one teen who came back a couple years later and thanked his teacher for getting him kicked out of school, as it was a wake up call for him and set him down the path of becoming a good citizen.
Post # 19
FutureMrsBex : I don’t think the problem is that my expectations are too low- I have high expectations, but I struggle to put it into action, and it feels like I’m freefalling down this hole to classroom hell and I don’t know how to implement ideas.
j_jaye : I’m in South Africa, and yes, this is my first year of teaching. The in-school suspension idea makes a lot of sense. Oh golly, what you said about “evaluating what would be the best punishment that doesn’t result in further disengagement from education” hits the nail on the head. It took me since January to get to this point where most of the class is actually doing work (even though some are still terrible at it) it took seven months to build some sort of relationship with these kids (even though we have our rocky moments) SA is a very diverse place but its history is still causing subconscious biases out there. I am one of three non-white teachers at the school, and compounded with me being new, it took a long time for the kids to sort of trust me. I am trying to find a suitable punishment that will not alienate them and make them hate maths more than they currently do.
I think that on some days, teaching is like a fancy balancing act- between having empathy, passion, and thinking out of the box while actually teaching, doing admin and follow all kinds of rules and protocol for everything. Some days I wonder why I’m even doing this….
Post # 19
You’re teaching because you want to help kids. You start implementing a new management plan on Monday. It’s never too late to re evaluate what is going on in your classroom and make changes. You will absolutely be met with resistance, but it’s your job to stay firm with your expectations and actually keep kids accountable for their actions. Teenagers need stability and routine even if they don’t realize it. Once they realize that you are holding them accountable for everything then they will be more willing to comply. They will try and push against everything you try to implement at first and it will be hard. It sounds like you have it rough simply because you have no support from admin and that’s really tough, so you will have to discipline in class as much as possible. Sometimes, however, you simply have to remove the problem from the room because you’re hurting the rest of your students to save one. It’s not fair to your other students who also deserve an education.
I’m not saying give up on that student you remove by any means. I had to send a student out yesterday for refusing to work. I redirected several times and even had a principal speak to him outside to see if that would help change his attitude. Unfortunately it didn’t and he came back to class with a worse attitude so I sent him to the office. I spoke with him when I had a chance to go to the ISI room and let him know that he’s allowed to have bad days but my classroom is a place where he comes to work. I told him we will start fresh on Monday like the incident never happened because the past is the past, but he had to be willing to put forth effort and comply with the rules of he wants to stay.
I hope you have someone in your school acting as a mentor who can help you. Best of luck.
Post # 20
FutureMrsBex : I agree with everything you said here. I value your work ethic and believe you are a great value to your community.
timonandpumba : I am also a first year teacher, starting with my own class on Wednesday. I am a white teacher in a non-white district. I just want to say on top of what MrsBex said, you sound like a really nice lady and I hope you don’t let these kids get away with it. I understand wanting to get to every child, but these four need discipline and it is not your job to protect them from what they have gotten themselves into.
Please talk to a mentor teacher or your union rep or vice principal about the situation. You shouldn’t be dealing with this alone.
Post # 21
I know that you don’t want to hurt these kids’ future, but 15-17yr old boys can be the size of grown men and really could have hurt you badly! There absolutely should be consequences for their actions. I’m still not understanding why they decided to do this, but it’s 100% inappropriate and needs to never happen again. I’m so sorry this happened to you to begin with!
Post # 22
timonandpumba : I have to say, I find it very strange how much you’re putting on the girl beyond what you’re putting on the three boys. I understand that some of that must come from the fact they apologized and she didn’t, though I’d imagine they apologized because coach told them if they didn’t they’d be off the team.. But aside from that, I really don’t think it’s reasonable to believe the girl is *more* guilty than them for joining in.
As for what to do, I think the bees covered it and I just want to say I appreciate how thoughtful you’re being regarding what to do. You should like a kind and thoughtful person–I do hope these children are appropriately disciplined for what they did to you. Also, I’m glad you’re OK.
Post # 23
amanda1988 : The boys apologised in the following period, I don’t think their coach made them do it. As for the girl, a few minutes before the rugby-scrum-tackle incident, she was rude (from a previous update:“she was making a noise during the lesson, and when I asked her to quieten down so that others can hear, she backchatted (I don’t even understand what you’re saying Bra’) instead of keeping quiet for the moment like most of the rest of the class would do.”)
Just that comment/attitude would have been punishable (of course not to the severity of suspension), compounding that with no sign of remorse/apology for the latter incident is the reason why I’m thinking of advocating for different punishments for the two groups.
And to the other Bees, thank you for all the suggestions/support that you give. Have a great weekend everyone!
Post # 24
timonandpumba : based on your update- am I correct to think students who ASSAULTED you are white and you are black? If so, do you think they would have done the same thing to a white teacher?
Post # 25
I have a teenage son, and if he someone got the dumb ass idea in his head it was appropriate to tackle a TEACHER, I would want hlm to have the highest punishment available. Not punishing them is what makes kids think they can get away with shit and why teachers aren’t respected and burn out so fast.
I don’t know South African laws, so maybe it really would mess the kids up, but in the US I’d say call the police – at minimum the police could talk to the kids and scAre the crap out of them.
Post # 26
My FI has worked in classrooms, and now school administration, in a pretty rough district. If 15-17 year old students (or really anyone above primary-level) attacked a teacher like that then the police would’ve 100% been called – that’s criminal assault on a staff member and completely unacceptable. At least in the US, outside a school environment these students are old enough to be treated as adults in the judicial system and it’s really unacceptable that an apology is enough to get them out of trouble here. If they engaged in the same behavior outside the schoolyard they could’ve been arrested.
Please, please go to your program supervisor (I don’t know what structure your school uses) or principal and document what the disciplinarian person said to you in case you need to escalate it further to the union level. For your safety, and also for the sake of students who are learning that they get a slap on the wrist for assault, you really need to take this further. I understand that you don’t want them to get expelled, or their permanent record impacted, but it needs to be impressed upon them that this type of behavior has serious consequences.
Good luck bee, I’m sorry that you’re going through this without support.
Post # 27
Bees, I thought about this for a while. I think I am going to type up a report detailing the incident with any evidence that I have, along with my reasons why I do not support suspension of the learners, and give the report to the Grade head and the head of discipline, and then they can take it from there.