Horrible day...

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by MikeTeachesMath, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Mar 3, 2012

    What an awful day today was. This is really just a vent... everything I talk about is sorted out.

    Went to my health class this morning... got a C- on the midterm. I have no idea how that happened. I studied for a while, but I admit that I put a much higher priority on studying for my calculus exam than this one... but I still thought I would be able to make at LEAST a B. Sigh. Oh well, I still have time to make up for that.

    So then I go to calculus... and I failed the exam. Absolutely devestated... I've never failed a math test in my life. My heart sunk when I saw that F. I'm really down on myself right now... how am I supposed to teach calculus one day when I'm failing this? Given, it's Calc 2... the most dreaded undergrad math class to ever exist... but still, I don't know. I went to my professor and I left realizing all of my mistakes. Here's to doing better next time? I was doing all the homework fine... getting concepts in class... answering questions... but apparently that's not enough in this class. Crazy.

    After all that, plus a few hours of lectures, I headed over to the high school to do an observation. Surprise! Teacher wants me to do a lesson. It went very well. I taught how to solve equations involving trigonometic substitutions. I pride myself on knowing trig COLD, so I was able to answer a slew of questions.

    Now, keep in mind this is NOT the same section as last time. It's still Algebra2/Trig but it's not the honors section.

    Everything was going great until this one kid decided he wanted to be a smartass and ask irrelevant questions... "why do you write your t's like that?" "why is it called ARCsin?" (okay that one was fun but he didn't care about the answer) "why don't we just write SINE instead of SIN? kind of sacreligious if you ask me". I was getting really annoyed, so I said "If you want to ask any more questions that aren't relevant to understanding this material, please come to me or Mr. K after class." so he says "Wait, I have one more!" and I ask "Is it relevant to this material?" "No but---" "So I said see me or Mr. K after class." So he groans and mutters under his breath "****ing faggot". I thought I heard him say it, so I stopped and looked at him, and saw some of the students looked SHOCKED. So I looked at the teacher and he gave me a look as if to say "Handle it, I'm not here." So I looked at the student and said "Excuse me?" and he said "You heard me. I know you're a faggot." Then I was able to confirm what he said the first time. So, without hesitating, I said sternly "Get your things together." Went to the phone, called security for an escort ASAP. Turned back toward the kid and said "Get out of my classroom. That kind of language is absolutely unacceptable and I will NOT tolerate it. There are kids out there being bullied and killing themselves because of words like that." So he retorts "You can't prove I said it." At that point security came running into the room (talk about ASAP...) and I let them take him. Class erupts into applause. I was sort of shocked.

    Bell rings. I get back in front of the room and ask the students to wait a minute. I said "I'm very sorry you had to see and hear that. But please understand that that sort of language is extremely hurtful and nobody should tolerate it. I obviously do not." Wished them a good day and sat at my desk. It was 9th period so everyone was leaving. Teacher closed the door and sat next to me. At that point I had my head buried in my hands and started to cry... it was just all so overwhemling. That was the LAST thing I was expecting to happen. I'm part of the lgbt community, and I have friends who have self-harmed and one who attempted suicide because of bullying and their sexuality... and his comment cut right to my heart. Brought me right back to high school. I guess I need to learn to be able to control myself if something like that ever happens again. Teacher told me I did the right thing and I handled it as best as could be expected. He gave me a tissue, told me to clean up, and we headed to the main office to talk to the VP.

    We explained everything exactly as it happened, and the VP was ******. She actually got up and gave me a hug. She called the kid in and long story short he was suspended. I feel so bad... but I guess it's a necessary evil.

    I really am so lucky to be placed in this district. I have an amazing "host" teacher and the faculty is incredible and really dedicated to this school. I couldn't be happier here.

    Phew. Long, long, long day.
     
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  3. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Mar 3, 2012

    I think you handled that situation really well. It sounds absolutely horrible, and I'm sorry you had to experience it. My jaw dropped when reading. I'm glad you have the support of your school, and I hope that kid can learn that it's NOT okay to treat anyone that way, ever. Hugs, and I hope things look up next week. <3

    Does your school offer any free tutoring services in math? Maybe you can have someone look over your work and see where you're going wrong. I also surprised myself by doing poorly on a test this week, which never happens. Apparently the class average for the lecture of about 400 students was a D. Sigh, I know how you're feeling on that one!
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 3, 2012

    I'm very sorry that kid was such an horror.

    You handled the situation perfectly, right down to keeping the kids for a second to speak to them.

    The silver lining is that your credibility in that room, and in every room in the school, shot through the roof.

    (Also, for what it's worth, I almost failed both Precalc and Calc in high school, yet they're my favorite courses to teach now. Don't sweat the midterm! CalcIII is SO MUCH easier than Calc II.) To be honest, I think the experience made me a far better teacher than I would have been had I never struggled in math. I totally understand that feeling of "I'm so lost I don't even know what to ask."

    I'm hoping you ended the day with a glass of wine and some time out with friends. Hang in there.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 3, 2012

    Wow! Sorry that the student seemed to have no tact or respect for you.

    But here's to a better Monday!
     
  6. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Mar 3, 2012

    I think this sort of situation happens to every teacher. I hate confrontation too and react similarly. You've had the experience now and you handled it well so it will be easier next time. You won't have to handle it very often though because of your decisive action. Good job!
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Wow! Great job. Sounds like you handled it professionally and expertly.

    I'm happy you were given the leeway to handle the situation because you have now showed you are a strong person that looks out for the interests of everyone and will not tolerate unacceptable behaviors. Yet, you handle it professionally.

    Great job.

    I wouldn't take any of the remarks personally though. I'm sure this kid would have done that to anyone that dared to disallow his game to continue.
     
  8. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    Mar 3, 2012

    **Big hugs to you!*** I know that you will be a great teacher because that is exactly how to handle that situation!
     
  9. funnyface07

    funnyface07 Rookie

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    Mar 3, 2012

    Wow... give yourself some credit, you handled that situation very well! I'm sorry that had to happen though.
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Mar 3, 2012

    I'm so sorry that happened to you! However, I think you handled it great! I had a kid during my student teaching drop the n bomb during his presentation. I was shocked! Thankfully my cooperating teacher was in there and jumped in right away. I had no idea what to do! Sounds like you were much better prepared than me!
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    You handled the incident and follow-up with the students far better than many veteran teachers would. I'm sorry you had the day from the nether regions, but you should be extremely proud of your backbone of titanium. This is what you are supposed to be doing with your life.
     
  12. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Great Job. You taught a lesson more important than any subject matter.

    English was my least favorite subject matter in high school. (All that ambiguity!) I aced everything but English. Now I've been teaching it for thirty years, and I love it. (All that ambiguity!)
     
  13. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Mar 3, 2012

    I don't even know what to say. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this forum... nothing but great advice and feel-good praise.

    My mood is immensely better after a good night's sleep and reading all of your posts. Teacher and VP sent me an email this morning to make sure I'm okay. He's seriously the best... no idea how I'm going to leave him when I transfer!

    Alice & TeachOn -- it's a relief to hear that. I was a little dramatic last night haha. I'm not going to let one exam sabotage me. It's not like I'll be teaching Calc BC my first year either!
     
  14. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Mar 3, 2012

    As a fellow pre-service teacher, you make me proud. :) I will keep you in mind if I ever have to deal with a comment like that. I also feel very strongly about such innappropriate language.
     
  15. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Something similar happened to me in my student teaching. A student said something very offensive to me on my first day, and I handled it the same way you did. I think you did great with the situation as well.

    About the Calculus...don't worry about it. College can get really tough sometimes because the material is not easy. I think struggling a little bit makes you a better teacher because you understand the students' problems a little better. My sister is a doctor, and she failed organic chemistry. She retook the class and got an A in it. I almost failed a Statistics class the first time I took it, but I retook it for a much better grade. If you feel like you haven't mastered the material, retake the class and I'm sure you'll do great.
     
  16. Jinkies

    Jinkies Rookie

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    Mar 4, 2012

    Aw I'm sorry that this happened to you. I think that you handled the situation wonderfully. Just remember that once your a "real" teacher if the situation ever happens again you have had experience handling it.
     
  17. kme93

    kme93 Companion

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    Mar 5, 2012

    All of that is so true. I can't sympathize about Calc II (it was my favorite!); but you're totally allowed to bomb a test. I failed my first statistics class, but I now have my master's degree in statistics (my thesis adviser is the very professor that failed me too!).

    I'm sorry you had a hard time with that student. However, I am glad that you had support. It sounds like you reacted well.
     
  18. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Please keep us in the loop with how this week goes, mostly with how that student reacts when he returns from suspension and how you react to him. Please feel free to vent with us. That's why we're here.
     
  19. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    Wow! Kudos! You did an awesome job and you probably taught a lot of us how to handle this type of situation in the best way. Thank you for sharing your bad experience so that we can all learn from you. Sounds like you are going to be one heck of a great teacher. :)
     
  20. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    So I walked into calculus today, and the first thing out of my professor's mouth was "I f***ed up." He used the key for his other section, which had a different test, against our test. My 46 shot up to a 92! Sigh of relief. Like I said, I was doing fine on the homework, I was answering questions in class, etc., so I just didn't know how I did so badly. I understand calculus again! Haha.

    catnfiddle - yeah, I've been thinking about that. He's back in school on Thurs and I'm back in the classroom on Friday... of course I'll treat him like it never happened, but I'll still pay extra attention and brace myself for any kick-back he may give.

    isabunny - thank you! :)
     
  21. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Wow...that's awesome!
     
  22. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I'm a new teacher too, and I wish I could say I could have handled that situation the way you did swiftly and confidently. I'm a member of the GLBT community as well, but I don't think anyone's picked up on that yet. Our school is in the Bay Area too, so our school has a strong stance against stuff like that.

    Also, I actually had a harder time with Calc 3 than Calc 2. Vectors confused me. @_@
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Woohoo, riku92mr! I'm glad your professor confessed, although I'm sure you recognize that isn't exactly the way you would want to do so on the secondary education level. :whistle:

    Do you have your field time every day? If so, can you sit down with your mentor teacher and discuss strategies? It's one thing to be able to handle a crisis on the fly, but you should ponder and even practice how to handle the student's return. You should do so with the advice of a pro who knows this kid.
     
  24. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    "I'm glad your professor confessed, although...I'm sure you recognize that isn't exactly the way you would want to do so on the secondary education level." - catnfiddle

    I'm not sure what this means.
     
  25. bison

    bison Habitué

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    TeachOn, I'm pretty sure catnfiddle means that she's glad the calculus professor admitted to making an error with the test but not to learn from his use of the F word. :thumb:
     
  26. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Exactly. It was meant to be a light joke. Sorry for the confusion.
     
  27. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Sorry: that's duh for me. (Not my first)
     

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