I’m going to make a list of occurrences faced in my workplace and I would like you to guess where I work.
- Being called an airhead
- Being smacked
- Being punched in the stomach
- Eye rolling
- Witnessing fights break out on a daily basis
- Hearing curse words on the reg
- Middle fingers flying high
- Being told “I don’t care what you say! Just stop talking!”
- Being told “Heeeyyy Cutie.”
- Witnessing someone attempt to choke someone else
- Personal belongings are stolen
I am a kindergarten teacher
That’s right. I work with 5 year olds.
I have 11 days left in a Title One school in the southern United States.
As I write this, my patience is G.O.N.E.
The list above contains true events that have happened in my classroom or happen every day. Surprisingly, there are a few more horrific things that have happened but I’m not sure I can share those things.
My students are OUT. OF. CONTROL.
“But wait,” you say. “Aren’t you the one who controls the tolerance of behavior in your classroom?”
Yeah, that’s what I thought before I entered this profession, but that just isn’t true. Let me give you a run down of how an incident is handled.
- Student acts out by slapping another student or talking back.
- Teacher writes up a report and takes student to the principal’s office.
- Principal may or may not have time to handle it. If they do handle it- they say a few words and send us away.
- Student’s behavior is written in parent contact log (if offense was very bad, the parent is called)
- Student gets to return to class
- Student might get overnight suspension (which just means they can’t ride the bus the next day)
- Student acts up the rest of the day
- Student returns the next day and brags about how their parent didn’t do anything to them.
- The cycle continues.
I had one student with 27 behavioral write ups documented (including choking/ hitting/ insulting someone else) and NOTHING was done.
My students bring the same disrespectful attitude every day because they don’t receive consequences.
I spend 70% of my day dealing with unwanted/inappropriate behaviors, and 30% actually teaching. Why are our kids failing state tests? Why are they being held back?
The answer is clear: teachers have transitioned from empowered, respected educators to security guard babysitters who might try to teach.
I’ve heard retiring teachers say that it gets worse every year.
Why don’t you talk with the parents you say?
I DO. However, a majority of parents don’t deal with it. How do I know? I invite them to come into my classroom to witness and deal with their child’s behavior and this is all I get after an eye roll or being talked back to:
“Stop disrespecting your teacher.”
What? You don’t even raise your voice? No spanking? No pulling him or her out into the hallway and setting them straight?
Heaven forbid, if I ever disrespected a teacher (or any adult)- my behind would have been torn up…my mouth washed with soap…and I’d be sent to bed with tears in my eyes.
I am stuck in a tough spot because I cannot lay hands on a student. I can not scream at the students. I’m not even allowed to take away recess time!
These students have figured out that they can get away with ANYTHING. They might be told to “stop it” and make a few rounds in the school visiting the principal and the behavioral counselor, but they don’t get any real consequences that hurt as much as their actions did.
You want something to get angry about? Drop these stupid Anti-Trump, Anti-police, LGBTQIAPK Chicka Chicka Boom Boom crap and start worrying about the kids in these Title One schools.
Wonder why all these shootings are happening? Wonder why bullying is so prominent?
We are inadvertently telling our children that they are allowed to act out and make stupid choices and not get in trouble.
We’re raising a generation of people who receive no consequences for their actions. We shouldn’t just be afraid. We should be ashamed.
I see their behavior at 5 years old and I’m giving you a warning. If things don’t change- If teacher’s aren’t allowed to discipline and the parents are too lazy or to discipline…
We are in trouble.
Me? I’m just a school teacher. They didn’t teach me self defense in EDU 305. I’m told to keep my hands to myself and be calm when students challenge my authority and throw a punch. I leave work with a massive headache every day. Some days I fear for my safety. I’m told to stuff down my desire for justice and integrity and end up taking out my frustration on the people I love at home. I dream of working in an environment where I am respected and given the support I need. I dream of working in a job where physical violence and insults are not tolerated.