Discussion in 'General Education' started by marcus903, Mar 26, 2011.
Mar 26, 2011
Have you ever written a referral? If so, why did you do it?
Referral, as in office referral?
Yes. Many times. For a wide variety of reasons...
Do you mean a disciplinary referral, as in detention/ demerits?? If so, then Oh, yeah, I have.
Or do you mean for special services of some type? In that case, the answer is no, I haven't.
Discipline referrals? Sure. I wrote 6 this past Thursday - 4 for students out of dress code and 2 for students who had been issued teacher detentions (late to class) but did not show up to them. No show for my 15 minute detention results in a 45 minute school detention.
yes i mean discipline referrals.
Are you having to write your first one?
Sure - I've written three this semester (we're nine weeks in).
One - student was cussing in the hallway and refused to give me her real name when called on it. I tracked her down and sent in a referral.
Two - skipped class twice when student should have reported to the office for a dress code violation.
Three - student went into my desk and removed my gradebook in order to look up other students' grades.
JustMe, Marcus is a freshman in high school.
Marcus, did you get into trouble, or are you just interested in the procedure?
Of course I've written referrals...I teach middle school!!!
This past week, two of my boys received one for completely disregarding something I told them not to do.
Marcus, do you think it's helpful to students when teachers write referrals?
To be honest, I don't write all that many.
As I've said here a number of times, I firmly believe that there's only so much authority in the world. Every time I give away a little of that authority to the dean, there's a little less left for me. So I'm pretty hesitant to give detention.
But there are some times when it's non negotiable. For example, in my school, being caught wtih a cell phone (as oppposed to having it off and in your locker) is an automatic 5 demerits. I have no choice in the matter if a cell phone goes off in my class.
There are a lot of steps between the beginning of a problem and a referral, but I've gotten there sometimes.
For minor issues, I almost never have to write one because I can get the problem taken care of before it becomes a repetitive problem. However, there are some things that result in an immediate referral such as violent acts.
I face many non-negotiables: cell phones, dress code, cussing, fighting, bullying, destroying school property, skipping, cigarettes, trading prescription drugs, weed, and the list continues. And I have excellent classroom management...I can't imagine not having as good a grip on things—just how miserable that would be for everyone involved. As far as authority is concerned, there are only so many minutes I have in class and I find as is I spend far too much time investigating situations and dealing with behavior issues...so I don't always have the option of using my own authority as I have a classroom full of students to teach. Things like talking out of turn, not using time wisely...I'm so on it. There are some other issues, though, that I gladly send to the person whose responsibility it is to handle.
How many administrators are on your campus?
I asked you if you ever wrote a referral, I didn't say I would like to write one.
Tiffany, a principal and vice principal (discplinarian), which is standard for every school I've been in.
I've written referrals for biting, fighting, attacking the teacher, attacking the aide, vandalism of school property and just for good flavor sexual harassment/assault.
I rarely refer students to the office; if I do, it's something major like fighting, flagrant disrespect, multiple instances of dress code violations, inappropriate language or refusal to work. I deal with incomplete homework, the occasional slip of inappropriate language, cell phones and cameras, not following school expectations, etc. myself.
We used to deal with those mostly in-class as well (incomplete homework, slip of inappropriate language, phones, etc.) but then our behavior policy changed. Infractions are tiered, and all those you mentioned and more are part of a three-strike policy where after three instances they are office referrals.
I've really only written two referrals and it was at the same time. Two boys cheated on a test. They are both bright boys, too! I was seeing red, lol.
Fair enough. Most of my experience has been in schools/organizations where referrals aren't part of the process - we've had other disciplinary means. In other schools, I've processed disciplinary referrals, though.
I've written approximately 30-40 this year. 75% of those have simply been for tardies though. Tardy twice? = office referral and a 60 minute detention per school policy.
Other issues have included cheating, disrespect, cell phones, etc.
I've only had to write 3 this year.
2 were for students who got in a fight 3 minutes before class was out.
1 was for a student who refused to step outside and discuss his attitude with me privately. If they're not willing to work out the problem with me, then they can't just sit in class and be an a**.
I agree with Alice--sometimes it is too easy to give away your power.
For elementary students, there is only so much that the prinicpal can do anyway. For elementary in my area, it's only ISS or OSS, and most kids don't mind that. Usually kids would rather go to the office than face me and my consequences. However, I have had to write up a student this year but it was for physical fighting and there was no other option but to write him up. At that point, I'm just a documentarian. He is the one who made the decision to fight, therefore basically wrote himself up.
Marcus, is it easy to get written up in your school? What are the consequences of being written up? Do you think they are a deterent to the behavior that was committed?
Our teachers handle so much on their own (I'm very thankful for that). I'm the only admin for 872 students so there is no way I could take on the minor infractions.
They send me the fights, sexual harassment, weapons, etc. I also help with repeat offenders when it comes to foul language, off task behavior, etc., but not usually in the form of a referral....more in the form of setting up a meeting to speak with the parents. I'm present, teacher is present, parent is present. We work hard to help support the parent (to help support us) and then, if still no change, we start taking a hard stance against the minor infractions. Usually the parents get on board.
Our teachers are very strong in the classroom. They have great classroom management skills and we use staff meeting time to brainstorm what we can do when the minor infraction kids are really just getting on our nerves. They buddy up with other teachers, etc., for time out classrooms, interventions, etc., etc.
I am so fortunate to have them at our site. They would never send me a cell phone issue (but we are elementary, not junior high or high school) or a no homework issue or anything like that. But I know I am very fortunate and I tell them so all the time.
I assume that a "referral" means writing up a formal discipline form, and sending the student to the office.
As a substitute teacher, I wrote discipline referrals quite often, especially when working with a new group of students.
I had a few really bad days when I wrote 3 or 4 referrals; of course, I had many weeks when I didn't write any referrals.
As a sub, I always left very detailed notes about discipline issues (including those that didn't require a referral).
As a full-time teacher in an urban district, I did write a number of referrals in the first weeks of school, until I learned that there was follow up on the referrals (no discipline system, no detention, no follow-up by administrators). The administrators were in a "triage" mode so that only the most severe issues got any attention.
Of course, sometimes it was really "my fault," because I was not experienced enough to "head off" or anticipate likely problems, or to recognize signals before behavior cascaded.
I have written many however most if not all were for issues that I could not handle in the classroom (fighting, stealing, etc). I actually had to write one for students kissing this year. That was a first.
Referrals are a last resort in my opinion. I write one only if I can not handle it or will no longer handle it. Language and rudeness fall into that last category. Oh the joys of teaching 6th grade.
You realize that those of us who do write referrals for things such as phones and refusal to work are simpy following school procedure, yes?
And in my school, a referral doesn't mean I send a student to the office. I've sent a student straight from my classroom to the office only a few times in my entire time of teaching. A referral means I write up a brief report and place it in the AP's mailbox. The AP then assigns the student an after-school detention which a teacher monitors.
That's actually a really good point about standardization - especially in schools that use referral data for problem-solving. Referral data can be really shady because of all the other "complications" of writing them. Standardization can really build consistency/reliability of data, and make teachers feel less guilty about reporting things. Also helps build consistent response from admin. As long as collecting data is confounded with bothering administration because too many procedures are bundled into one, good building-level analysis can never happen.
I find that as my experience level goes up, my number of referrals goes down. That being said, I will not hesitate to write one if needed. My district has switched to a computerized grading/management system (JPAMs), and it's actually really easy to write a referral now - takes about 30 seconds and NO sore fingers from carbonless copies!
Mar 27, 2011
You better believe it!
violence/fighting, sexual harassment (yes a 2nd grader sexually harassed another student), defiance
We are unable to send a student to the office unless there is a referral written.
Sometimes there's something to be said for "leaving a paper trail."
There have been occasional times when we've been asked NOT to deal with particular kids one on one, but to document transgresssions with a detention. (Most often, this happens when the parents are in denial about the kids' actions.) Those are the times when I'm most likely to write a referral-- when the dean has requested we all do so.
The Consequences are:
-Spending the hour of the incident in ISS (in-school suspension)
-Phone call to parents
-Re-scheduling an IEP meeting
If you're fighting, disrespecting the teacher, and being traunt; than you get a referral. I never been written up this year, slightly because I am a good kid.
I'm sure the member was asking you about your experiences and thoughts because you are a student...it's a fair question. Like all conversations, threads take twists and turns...
I've only referred one student to the office this year, and that was because I caught her stealing from my prize box. I'm really lucky- most of my students are angels in regards to behavior. I teach small pull out groups and they see coming to my group as a "treat" so they behave really well in my room. They seem to think if they act up I will send them back- don't know where they got that idea but it works well! I have little to no behavior problems normally.
I have never ever been written up.. and I have a gym teacher who writes the same student up everyday.. he even lied on the student in front of the entire class!!!! Keep in mind there is normally another teacher in the room she wasn't there then... and he said that his goal is to get students in trouble and he gets angry when he writes up a student and nothing happens.. plus no one wants to report him because he knows the assistant Principal. (His own words)
Yep, probably about 17 this year....should have written more probably, but I do my best correct the problems in class. There are plenty of teachers who have written many more than me.
Every teacher and every teaching situation is different. Many teachers feel that they're judged by how many referrals they write. That has NOTHING to do with whether you're a great teacher or not, at least in my opinion. Many schools don't want the data of having too many referrals, so they find other ways around this!
I also do not think a person should worry too much about the number of referrals they've written in comparison to others. Might your fifty to everyone else's ten be an issue? Absolutely. And if it's a terribly drastic difference...well, I just think everyone should be reflective of their instruction and classroom management practices and decide why that would be the case. But because I have faith in my classroom management abilities, I will not worry that I've written twice as many as my next door neighbor (I have no idea of our stats, I'm just saying...). One, because as nstructor pointed out, many teachers simply excuse behavior because they think it's a direction reflection of their abilities. And again, it could be...that goes back to truly contemplating your methods and such. But I know that I'm by the book. Where other teachers openly scoff at the tardy policy or gum policy or whatever it may be, if my adminstrators have asked for me send a referral for every third tardy, I will. Period. I truly trust that my administrators know that some teachers are ignoring the school rules and it's not that my classroom is out of control, that students have no respect for me and my personal classroom policies and what have you. And I absoutely trust—based on our conversations, specific comments on my evaluations, and my positive walk-throughs—they know I have a good grip on things.
nstructor, as far as some schools not wanting so much negative data...been there. It was quite humorous slash annoying to listen to a glowing year-end report on behavior referrals when we all knew the numbers decreased because at the beginning of the year the AP made the statement they would decrease...and he made sure of it by tossing referrals in the trash, literally.