Desperate for advice

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by newbie12, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. newbie12

    newbie12 Rookie

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    Oct 21, 2016

    Hi guys,

    I'm a senior science teacher working in a very tough community (high crime, low unemployment). I have two senior classes that are completely out of control. Its become so bad that I often cry myself to sleep at night, knowing I have to see them the next day (I see each class three times a week).

    The kids just do whatever they like. They come in whenever they feel, they take and break whatever they can find in the class, they spit on the floor and they get into fist fights. When I ask them to sit down and do work, they tell me to 'f__k off' and that they are going to 'f__king kill me' if I don't leave them alone. My class is made up of boys and they are all 17 and much taller and stronger than I am. I'm genuinely scared for my safety and the safety of others

    The school I work at are supportive, but ineffective when it comes to addressing the situation. I report everything that happens in class, and the school readily suspends any students found to be acting inappropriately. However, the student always returns (usually after 3-7 days) and continues acting just as they did before. No remorse whatsoever. Most of my kids have been suspended 10+ this year and its done absolutely nothing to change them. They simply don't care.

    I need help. I've tried everything. Detentions, calling parents. I once tried to ring the parents of one student and they just refused to believe anything I said about their son. They said the problem is that I am a "nasty b__ch." Therefore I don't call parents any more.

    Sorry for the long post, but I don't know what else I can do. I've asked for help, but there doesn't seem to be much else that school can do. I don't feel that I should have to put up with being badly treated.
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Oct 21, 2016

    I'm sorry you are living through such a terrible situation. Is there any way you can quit and get another job until you can find a better teaching situation?

    Meanwhile, I am sure you are documenting the threats and vandalism, etc. Sometimes you can take that information to the district HR and force them to transfer you.

    Or, if you are willing, tell administration that you will bring the police in if they don't get those kids under control.

    Those are all things that I have seen teachers do when faced with a problem like yours.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 21, 2016

    Are any of these kids on probation? It's very surprising that there would kids this bad and not have gotten in trouble with the law. If they're on probation, your job is easier.

    You said your school is supportive when it comes to enforcing things if a kid acts inappropriate.
    I would send out a kid every single time if he:
    -spits on the floor and doesn't clean it up (of course he won't clean it up)
    - gets into a fight
    - cusses you out
    - calls you a name
    - basically does anything and everything you described.

    You might have 5 kids left in the class.
    Do this every single class, every single day. Write up everyone and document exactly what the student did and said and what you did and said.
    When a kid comes back from suspension after 7 days, the first time he cusses you out, spits on the floor, refuses to sit down, (ok, for the last one give him some warnings), you kick him out again.

    It sounds like for a week all you will be doing is kicking kids out and writing them up, but I have a feeling, that after a few days it will stop. Maybe after you kicked out 5 kids it will stop.
    Some of these are tough guys because they have an audience and you seem powerless, but they're little pu..ys once someone does something.

    Other than this I don't know what else is there to do.

    Yesterday I had a little freshman kid lose his mind, got pissed off after I warned him several times and told him to leave. He kicked the desk in front of him so hard, it stopped 3 inches from my knees. Of course me being me, I said "why don't you kick it a little harder so it can crash into my leg??"
    He got up, called me a "dumb bi..c", then started walking out, said it again, I followed him out, (kinda too closely lol, he could've turned around and punched me, but I'm not worried about it) told the front office to make sure they have a chat with him because he cussed me out.
    Wrote him up, his probation officer was notified, teachers and secretaries were making sure that it happened. The kid got so scared, he took off running. He's such a tough guy, he can cuss me out, but when he's about to get locked up he runs.

    Your students are probably like this. Once you take charge, most will stop. Some won't, but keep removing them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2016
  5. newbie12

    newbie12 Rookie

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    Oct 21, 2016

    Thanks for the advice. I have organised with another teacher to send kids to them if they are misbehaving (unfortunately I have 19 kids in my class, and we are not supposed to send more than 2 or 3 as the other teacher is busy teaching her class at the same time). Our school doesn't allow you to send kids to the office.

    As for probation, I don't have access to that information. I know one is a big time meth dealer because the kids have told me, but I don't know if he is currently on probation.

    I guess the difficulty is what to do if they refuse to leave. Just yesterday I had a child refuse to leave so I had to get my Head of Department to remove him. Later on, my HOD criticised me for having poor classroom management. I feel that so many people are quick to judge you, but no one is willing to come in and show you how to make it better.
     
  6. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Oct 21, 2016

    Do these students care at all about their grades? I'm sure they don't care too much, but is the threat of failing and not graduating any kind of worry for them?
     
  7. newbie12

    newbie12 Rookie

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    Oct 22, 2016

    My class is for the kids who will not graduate high school, but decide to stay on anyway. They don't finish high school with their SATs or anything, they just get a certificate of participation (basically saying they stayed to do some extra studies). They get the certificate whether they pass or fail.

    The whole thing is a complete joke. Unfortunately I'm the one in the firing line.
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Oct 22, 2016

    Then your school isn't supportive.
     
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  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 22, 2016

    I thought you said your school was supportive, and readily suspends students for inappropriate behavior, although all of it is not effective because when they come back it continues.

    If they don't allow you to send students to the office for whatever reason you see fit, then they're not supportive. If you have 5 kids calling you names, cussing at you and are acting threatening, what do you do, choose 2 or 3?

    How are other teachers doing with all this?
     
  10. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Oct 22, 2016

    WOW. That's rough. So, basically, there's no motivation for them to do well.
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Oct 22, 2016

    And no real administrative support.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 22, 2016

    Your school sounds like a recipe for disaster. You have kids with no motivation + no support from admin + extreme behavior problems + unsupportive parents. If you just had 1 thing out of 4, you had something to work with.
     
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  13. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Oct 22, 2016

    I wonder if there might be some kind of motivation that you can add to the equation. Like, maybe some kind of three-strikes-you're-out deal. Have a movie party each Friday, and each student who gets fewer than three strikes in the week gets to watch the movie.

    A movie might not be the best use of instructional time, but it sounds like you don't have much to lose. I'd say getting the behavior under control trumps everything else.
     
  14. newbie12

    newbie12 Rookie

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    Oct 22, 2016

    Thanks everyone. Admin do try and be supportive. Unfortunately we have a rule that we can not send them to the office because our school has a lot of bad behaviour. The office would soon have 60 out of control kids to deal with if we were allowed to send them there.

    A movie day might be ok, but I have nowhere to send the kids who are going to miss out on the movie. I also worry that parents or the school might find out. In the penultimate year of schooling, having classes devoted to just watching movies might leave me open to complaints or reprimand.

    I feel quite overwhelmed as I'm a beginning teacher.
     
  15. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 23, 2016

    How do the other teachers feel about this? What are they doing that works for them? There must be some strategies or ways they're handling most of this that are at least somewhat effective.
     
  16. Expo Markers

    Expo Markers Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2016

    Do you have a mentor teacher? Since you're starting out, you'd think these other teachers would try to throw you a bone or something.

    Ask what gets done in other classes. I doubt that they're allowed to coast all day and still get a sheet of paper at the end of it.

    And if they really don't do anything, and your administration doesn't do anything, you've got to triage for your own sanity. I think the movie day is a good idea.

    Get your portfolio in order, because you're going to want to leave as soon as you can. Write a good resume, and get ready to roll for the new year. You only have so many days left. You're so close to halfway done. And if you're block-scheduling, you'll get a new group of students and you can seriously nip this behavior/management thing in the bud before it becomes too pervasive.
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 25, 2016

    Yikes. I'm sorry this is happening. So from what I'm hearing, your school will suspend for inappropriate behavior, but they just don't want a bunch of students crowding up their offices. Makes sense. So in a way, you have the ability to suspend a kid, as long as he makes his way through the office quickly and out of the school.

    You need to exercise that right ANY TIME you feel unsafe or disrespected. They're seniors. They don't get to fall back on "they didn't know the difference between right and wrong" excuse anymore. No holding back any more in terms of consequences.

    Second you need to figure out how many suspensions it takes before a student is expelled. If a kid is causing safety issues every time and continues each time even after they come back from suspension, you need to document all of these instances and prepare a case for expulsion.
     
  18. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Oct 25, 2016

    At some point before I came to teach at my school, the teachers got together and decided to use some of our annual budget to staff a Behavior Management Center in our school. We can send students there if they misbehave. We also have a separate discipline office from the main office. That lets us send kids out of class without disrupting operations of the school.

    Does your school have security guards or a police officer? If students behave violently where I teach they are removed from school and may even be arrested. I know that the "school to prison pipeline" is a bad thing, and it's not like the SRO arrests every student who is a troublemaker, but in extreme situations of violence, weapons, or drug use, I'm glad we have our police officer and security guard on campus keeping us safe.
     
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  19. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 25, 2016

    It truly sounds like your school needs a quasi-in school suspension classroom, only to be used period-by-period for students who need to be contained. The one school I've seen that utilized this method not only was able to catch up academically, but the volume of students being removed slowly dropped.
     
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  20. sophomorehope16

    sophomorehope16 Rookie

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    Oct 27, 2016

    I've experienced this same situation last school year when I took over a position two months into the start of classes, I was the fourth teacher in such a short time. Sending students to the office several times, same faces, same offenses, and nothing changes. Until one time, I hit the end of my ropes when the curriculum head AP told me that I don't have his back. So much for the support. I quit. To make matters worse, they're badmouthing me at my prospects telling them I was not rehireable when in fact, I'm on probation and did not breach any contract.
     
  21. Mr Magoo

    Mr Magoo Comrade

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    Nov 1, 2016

    Does your school have a police officer ? Have the police officer at random times come and sit in the back of the class. (And get that police officers phone number on speed dial)

    Just my 2 cents
     
  22. Learning Hypothesis

    Learning Hypothesis Rookie

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    Nov 2, 2016

    I don't have a lot to add, but If you are being threatened contact the SRO immediately. I agree with another commenter that I am sure that some of these kids are on probation (being in school is probably part of their probation agreement which is why they are there- thanks justice system).
     

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