Admin who ignore major issues

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by irishrose, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. irishrose

    irishrose Rookie

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    Mar 14, 2019

    Hello everyone,
    Before I begin this post, I would just like to state for the record that I have scanned the message boards for a similar post. Yes, I did look through several pages of several boards. I say this because I have had someone jump down my throat about a post I made because I should "look around....[the person was] sure there's a similar post on here..." So I have taken my time to look, have not found a similar post, and would just appreciate some perspectives on my question . If you personally know of another similar post I should check out, then by all means suggest it as well...

    Now for my question: I teach 9th grade. I have a class in which the same 3-4 students create a disruption of some kind every time we have a "common assessment " test. These typically take all of class. Students are required to remain quiet and asked to read when they finish, although of course many do not...
    In this class yesterday, I had a student cuss out another (he was still on his test). The other responded by standing and posturing in front of this student, threatening to punch him. I wrote a referral for both.
    The same student who stood and threatened the other eventually pulled out a phone and played music out into the room. I tried to take up his phone. He refused to give it up, so I had to do another write-up for defiance, which is in the student and also teacher handbook. The listed consequence is ISS and behavior contract. Finally, a third thought it would be cute to just blurt out and loudly ask questions about why his friends were in trouble , etc. After about 4 warnings to get quiet and focus, I ended up writing him up too. This type of thing happens about once a month.
    We had a team meeting this morning and I asked the principal what was ever going ro happen with this class. Her response was to stop writing it up and handle it in the classroom!
    I told her I believe some things are beyond both my place and my capacity to handle! Furthermore I pointed out that these types of serious disruptions are NOT fair to the other students who are trying to concentrate AND that this does not happen in my other classes. She proceeded to ask if anyone else on my team was having trouble with these students! The 1 with the fighting threat and phone defiance has been 100 different kinds of trouble to everyone ,even her (the principal) since school started. And she is not a new principal.
    As I've said, this does not happen in other classes. I have done only 17 writeups this entire year. The FIRST was all the way in November . The offenses were phone defiance (3), extreme disruption (1), being MIA (unaccounted for - 3), sexual harrassment (1), bullying (3 - same day, three students, same class!), language (2, after multiple verbal warnings. And this was extremely derrogatory language - 1 was using the term "queer" and the other called some students effing b-words...), and 1 count of plagiarism on an essay test, which violates the school's honor code. He plagiarized the ENTIRE essay, not just parts. Of those 17 writeups, 11 have been in that class for these same students!!
    Is there anything I can do about this? I am just really stuck and frustrsted. I mean, I think I have got the immediate problem figured out thanks to a talk with a veteran teacher ,but I am anxious about the idea that I have no more support than that from my principal! I mean, I really cannot get over the fact that given the nature of what was in these writeups, her solution was to stop writing them up!!
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Mar 14, 2019

    Please don't yell at me, but you have been given an answer, just one you don't want to hear. Admin feels that either these particular students are lost causes, so don't ask them to be involved. Or, admin feels that they are overburdened, and they are passing the buck. Or, they simply hate squeaky wheels, and right or wrong, these issues are slowly pushing you into that category.

    I didn't say that any of this is right, but reading what is happening with your admin is crystal clear. Lack of write ups allows admin to assume all is well, and learning otherwise rocks the boat. Most admin would prefer to fix what is wrong, but your admin chooses not to want to hear about your concerns. You don't mention how long you have been in your position, so no way to tell if this has been coming on or always the way things are. Let me wish you the best of luck.
     
  4. skyline

    skyline Rookie

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    Mar 14, 2019

    I'm sorry you're not getting the support you need from administration. I wish I had tried and true advice, but I'm currently student teaching, worked in early childhood classrooms in the past, and currently work with primary age students.

    Has your administration offered advice on how to handle those behaviors if writing them up isn't an option? What does she want you to do? If a kid refuses to hand over a phone or turn it off during a test, what's the next step?
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
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  5. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2019

    Irishrose,

    I wonder why you chose to bring this up at a team meeting? Perhaps this is status quo at your school but I wonder if you would have got further by talking to the P one on one? Your question "what was ever going to happen with this class" sounds like you were suggesting that the P was responsible (kind of like you were laying this issue at their feet) and maybe you would get further if you talked about how the 2 of you could work together on this.

    I also think that referring 4 kids in one period is a lot. If I was referring that many students, I would be having a conversation with my P about - why this was exceptional for me - and what I could do to contribute to a better outcome next time. If this happens every time a specific activity happens and it is only 1 a month, I'd be calling those parents and the first 3 would be placed elsewhere during that period to do their assignment - the library, in ISS, etc - and I'd develop that plan with my P.
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Mar 14, 2019

    Have you called home? Assigned detention? Any other consequences? Why four warnings?

    I ask because we have a series of required teacher-administered consequences that have to be met before a student is sent to the office, with the exception of violence or a few other things classified as major issues.

    Do you work at a particularly rough school? Seventeen write ups seems like a lot, but maybe that isn’t at your school.

    I’m wondering if “stop writing it up and handle it in the classroom” was meant as a way to strengthen classroom management by not always relying on someone else to fix the problem. I’ve heard that mentioned in various classroom management programs over the years.
     
  7. irishrose

    irishrose Rookie

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    Mar 14, 2019

    I am a first year teacher. Writeups, and writing up more often were in fact recommended to me by the leader of our new teacher program. I don't know. Yes, I have called home and assigned extra homework. In 2 cases calling hime hasn't worked. In one, I can never get anyone. In the other, it's been hinted at that his dad could be violent. He may get on my nerves but I don't want him harmed. So, I'm kind of afraid to call his home. As for why I brought it up at the team meeting, that was what was recommended by my team.
    You know, I'm getting tired of playing these little tip-toe games that seem to be required (at school, and/or with principals I mean), like why did I bring it up in the meeting . I just thought that was as appropriate a place to bring it up as any, and the suggestion made sense.
    With regard to what I plan to do, after speaking to the veteran teacher, I now plan to take up the 3 phones and put 1 student next to my desk, 1 in the hall, and 1 in a neighbor teacher's room when we test. What this "solution" does not solve are things like: 1) what to do if the students refuse to give up phones now that I know, and I guess by default THEY will know that the principal doesn't care, 2) what to do if this happens next year and the neighboring teacher has a class at that time.
    I originally thought I would give them lunch detention but after talking to 2 other teachers on our team who did that, when the kids don't show up the prinicipal does nothing and they incur no consequences.
    What I would like if at all possible is a way to make her care and do something to enforce the rules. And I don't care about being liked or disliked as a "squeaky wheel." I wanted to work here and would like to keep working here, but if things get too bad I am not afraid to resign. I may be a first year teacher but I am not green. I am 35 and have lived in several places and worked many jobs, always with dedication. But I would like to pursue every avenue before I just resign!
     
  8. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    Mar 14, 2019

    Sounds like my school! Only our students use far worse language!
     
  9. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2019

    Irishrose,

    Your colleagues may not have your back. Telling a brand new teacher to bring this up in a meeting is the worst advice I've ever heard and makes me wonder if your colleagues are trying to get you to do the "heavy lifting" about something that is annoying them.

    I also don't think speaking to your P one on one (as opposed to in a group) is about playing tiptoe games. It's about approaching your P with the intention of trying to work together to solve the problem. If you are asking your P for help, it makes sense to talk to your P one on one.

    If as a group you have a problem that you want the P to know about then it would make sense for the senior teacher to talk to the P about the situation (not send the newest teacher out to bring this up in front of the whole team).
     
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  10. irishrose

    irishrose Rookie

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    Mar 14, 2019

    My whole team has told me nothing happens on writeups. And its funny you should say my team may not have my back because I actually like my team, so it kind of hurts to think that might be true. But the same lady from the school board who said I should write the kids up also told me that our team leader had bragged on me to our head principal. ....I don't know.
    And yes, thank you, I will try talking to her one on one. I guess since I assumed based on what is being said that she doesn't really want to do anything, I also assumed talking one on one wouldn't help. Maybe it would. Also, she seems kind of annoyed when I approach to talk to her, like she barely has time. I have met with her over students before a time or two, and it did help, so I guess I could try that. Thanks also to the person who suggested asking what my next step is if they won't give up their phone. I'll try it.
     
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  11. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2019

    Irishrose,

    Your team may love you. They may also have encouraged you to bring up something that they won't bring up themselves. They can think you are great and still give bad advice (that may also be on some level self-serving for them).

    Talking to your P one on one may not help but I think you are more likely to build a positive relationship with your P (which will help when you are dealing with discipline) if you go to your P and say you are seeing a pattern with certain kids and you want to figure out how to move forward than if you follow your team mates advice and ask 'what is going to happen' to certain kids in front of a group of teachers.

    I would also just let go of the narrative that "she doesn't really want to do anything." That narrative isn't going to serve you. Instead, I would work with your P on every situation that comes up. You may want to ask the P what the outcome of the 4 referrals were and what the next steps the 2 of you will support if the behaviour continues.
     
  12. irishrose

    irishrose Rookie

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    Mar 14, 2019

    Thank you Always_Learning. You know, I know this is somewhat off-topic but yet it directly relates in many ways: why does it seem like a person is so much 'on their own' in education. My team may love me but may not have my back and may be using me to serve their own interests... My principal may love me but be annoyed at having to deal with me....
    Trying to work in education so far reminds me of trying to live in gang land. Really, you are on your own and you can't trust anyone, or very few anyway. And sadly, even gang land is more loyal and reliable than that!
    And yes I have had some prior teaching experience. Before this, while getting my degree I was at a school where a student actually threatened me and I was called unprofessional when I took them to the office. Another teacher told me a student had brought a gun to school intended for use on them and nothing was ever done about it. And this teacher was a veteran teacher, male, and very level-headed so yes I fully believe them, which is why stubborn as I am, I got out of there ASAP!
     
  13. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2019

    I don't think it is so much that we are on our own as we all come to the table with different perspectives and needs.

    Your team mate may say "you should ask....." and feel like they are offering you good advice without thinking through why they haven't asked that themselves.

    Your Principal may have been in the middle of something else when you sent 4 kids to the office and may have been annoyed.

    Ultimately, everyone is human. No one is perfect. But working in a field that is all about people I think we have to assume positive intentions.

    For example, when you made the comment about tiptoeing I could have assumed it was meant to minimize or dismiss my perspective and I could have responded negatively, but instead I assumed positive intent and chose to believe you were trying to communicate a level of frustration so I considered that in my response.

    You can assume your team cares and recognize that their advice might not be the best. You can assume your P thinks positively of you and recognize that they still may not like how you deal with every situation. I think it is just a balance.
     
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  14. irishrose

    irishrose Rookie

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    Mar 14, 2019

    Thanks, and yes, it was the frustration thing. It does feel like we have to tiptoe around a lot of things instead of just being direct. I really much prefer a straightforward approach, and it has often made people take me wrong especially until they get to know me. So yeah , it had less to do with anything you said than how I was already feeling. Thanks. I really appreciate the advice and talking me through it.
     
  15. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Mar 15, 2019

    Your principal sounds like a lazy bump on a pickle.
    I think it is definitely something to bring up at a team meeting because I'm assuming these people at the meeting also work with these students?
     
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  16. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    Mar 16, 2019

    With the kid whose parent you suspect is violent, did you fulfill your professional and legal duty as a mandated reporter?
     
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  17. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Mar 16, 2019

    A lazy bump on a pickle?! LOL, I love it! That’s one for the history books, folks.

    In your honor, I wrote a poem which I affectionately title, “Ode to the Fickle P-ickle”. So, without further ado:

    “Twas the week before Spring Break and all through the high school, the lazy and unkempt principal was being a fool.

    Annoying their teachers and parents and students alike, they didn’t lift a finger to do what surely was right.

    Micromanaging the teachers and devoted faculty every single day, and doing nothing but complaining while still earning their pay.

    An irritant, a bother, the teachers would say, how did this bump on a pickle end up this way?”

    That’s all, folks. :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  18. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Mar 18, 2019

    :rofl:
     
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  19. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Mar 18, 2019

    I couldn’t resist! :D
     
  20. Nicolebeason

    Nicolebeason Rookie

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    Apr 27, 2019

    Whoa. Sounds like the movie "Dangerous Minds". I have heard and been told that principals do not like to have to deal with discipline problems; however I sure hope you get the support you deserve.
     

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