Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by uncleal, Apr 2, 2011.
Apr 3, 2011
The OP said it wasn't an issue of snack-that she changed the actual infraction for anonymity.
Yes, I saw that. Thank you.
Isn't it interesting that it's easier for Admin. to change the teacher's behavior than the student's?
This is the type of situation in which I think a photo of the child in action would be a valuable tool for the teacher. It certainly should not be used for minor infractions or even everyday events, but we all have parents that refuse to believe their child did anything wrong at all and the teacher is either making it up and doesn't like their child or whatever.
In those situations, NO amount of written documentation will be enough to convince the parent what you are saying is true; email, letters home, detailed account of the action, etc. The parent will still believe Little Suzy is telling the truth.
Another example from the student I mentioned earlier. One day, he decided he was going to do his coordinate plane assignment in black crayon (since I didn't allow pens). He then decided to just draw pictures on the paper rather than do the actual assignment. I told him to take the paper home, have it signed by his parents and return to me. Guess what? The parents never saw it. However, if I could have taken a picture of the paper (with the child's name on it), there would have been no way for him to deny it.
Now, again, I was lucky that the parents DID believe their son had done at least some of the actions, but they could just as easily have said "Johnny has told us from Day One that this teacher doesn't like him and all of the stuff written here has just been made up." When it comes right down to it, there is no way to PROVE I didn't falsify the documentation, but a picture can eliminate the need for several pages of written accounts.
My main point is that photos of disruptive behavior can be a valuable tool for teachers. It hasn't been commonly used in the past because we didn't have the ability to instantly document, print and file the photo. But technology has advanced to the point where this should be considered just another tool in classroom management. I think it should only be used sparingly, after other interventions have failed, the behavior continues unabated and the parent(s) still flatly refuse to believe it is happening at all.
If you don't feel you need or want that tool at your disposal, that's well and good. But I don't think those who do like the idea are any worse at classroom management just because they want to expand the tools available to them.
If the problem is an administration that either doesn't believe the teacher or chooses not to support them as fully as they could, then I agree taking photos of the action will only add to the problem instead of correcting it.
I don't think this is the issue. I think that we will have students like this in our classrooms every year. We must figure out a way to look at each of these kids as an opportunity to increase our skills.
You will notice in this thread that there is a strong desire by some to prove the parent is wrong or the child is wrong or the admin is wrong. It becomes a battle of the wills, a battle of who is right and who is wrong. A battle to prove that this child is just a brat (not a quote here, just an observation). Once you take this approach, you have ended any chance of increasing your skills and providing support to the family as a skilled professional.
The most difficult students and the most difficult parents have taught me the most in my years as an educator. If life is always rosy, our skill set is at a plateau.
Very true Tiffany! And the OP took responsibility for the error-it's the rest of us arguing the semantics of it!
Apr 4, 2011
I appreciate people's opinions about their classroom management styles, but I personally understand the need to take a picture of the action for some kind of documentation. I do think most of the posters here have the best intentions, but I also think that those posters here are seasoned and much more comfortable as teachers and with their classroom management.
But, I also don't agree with the comment that teachers shouldn't have their cell phones on their person...in my opinion that's crazy. Should they USE their cellphones to take or make calls during the day with students (not during a planning period), no, but the idea that they shouldn't even HAVE their phones, in my opinion, tells the teachers they are no different than the students. They are adults and professionals, and they should also be given the leeway to show they are responsible (of course, I'm sure we all probably know teachers who don't act that much more responsible than the students sometimes). Sorry for the long reply...but I do support the OP, and think the OP should just give the admin the reason for taking the pic, apologize and never do it again, and then forget about the whole thing.
I emailed a parent (custodial grandparent, actually) on the fly the other day. I rarely have to, but for this one particular student, who hadn't brought her materials to class for 3 consecutive days, letting grandma know is the only way to get her to straighten up and fly right. She knew immediately that it was Big.Trouble.Time, and that grammy would be waiting when she arrived home. It would not work with every student, but for this one, does.
That being said, back to the OP. Administrators don't like surprises. They don't like to be blindsided by kids, parents, or teachers, and this situation most definitely came out of left field. My guess is that the admin's reaction was a knee-jerk reaction to a situation they could not, and did not, foresee.
If I were the OP, I would have went to the admin, explained the situation and the repeated behavior, and asked for permission to email a picture. That way, when the student complains or the parents calls, the admin is in the loop. Problem solved.
Apr 5, 2011
I was thinking some more about this. I just can not imagine taking a picture of a student as a behavior management technique. If a student misbehaves, I would want to talk to the parent about it, and it would never have crossed my mind before to take a picture. My word is my word, so if I say that a student for example punched another kids and broke their glasses, me saying they were broken should be enough. no icture necessary
I can understand the advantage of taking a picture of certain inappropriate behaviors, and as long as it's okay with admin I think that it can be a technique. Not necessarily THE technique, but A technique nonetheless.
I am a little envious of teachers who teach in schools where admins and parents always accept them at their word. I agree that it should be that way. Unfortunately, however, it isn't always that way. I've been fortunate in that in most cases the admin at my school has accepted my word. On the other hand, I've had parents, numerous parents, flat out call me a liar and tell me that their kid would never ____. I would love the ability to play back a video from class showing where their kid did, in fact, say "shut the f--- up", accept a phone call during class, steal another kid's iPod, etc. I don't have the technology to do that, though, or permission from my admin, so it will never happen.
When I have kids out of their seats without permission, I take pictures of their empty desk. If they don't move to the carpet fast enough, I take a picture of their empty square on the carpet.
And what's really great is that you aren't in violation of any photography rules your school may have!
Apr 6, 2011
I guess I don't understand where the line is in your mind. It's an abuse of power and bad management to use a cell phone to document the student in the midst of the infraction...but ok to document it if the kid isn't in the picture? (Sarge-not saying I disagree with those actions at all). Just trying to understand the other side's argument.
Caesar-I think that may be part of the disconnect here-just different experiences. I also envy a school where you never have to defend yourself against the word of a child, but I just haven't experienced that either.
I will never forget when I was a teacher's assistant the teacher asked me to stay in with a child who was in trouble, he was losing 5 minutes off his recess. As soon as the kids started lining up, he lined up and I told him he had to sit down because he and explained the consequence. He came over and kicked me in the leg. When I talked to the dad that night his response was "he kicked you? What'd you do to him?". Some parents just have that mentality-their child is always right and some kids find that out very early and use it to their advantage.
I was being funny, along the lines of Sarge's post. No need to question 'my line'. Thank you for your interest, though.
Apr 7, 2011
My word is my word as well. Unfortunately, parents often (and sometimes admin) don't just take our word for what happened.
Do you use any form of written documentation when a student misbehaves, breaks a rule or lies about his/her actions? If your word is taken at face value, that shouldn't be necessary. Obviously, that is not the case in our profession.
Documentation is not only necessary, it is required in many cases to justify any intervention taken in regard to the incident. Of course, written documentation can be faked or slanted just as easily as verbal documentation. A photo provides a more objective method of documentation an action or event. Yes, I know pictures can be faked or photoshopped, but if you download it to your school PC and provide a copy to admin (so they don't get blindsided), then I see no reason to not use this very valid form of documentation.
It isn't about proving "I'm right and the parent/student is wrong", at least no moreso than any other documentation used. After all, isn't that why we document in the first place? To prove we did follow school guidelines correctly and responded appropriately in case the parent, student or admin questions our actions?
If photo documentation is against your school's policy, then obviously it should not be done. If it is[/i] acceptable according to school policy, that information should be included in the information given to parents at the beginning of the school year. A consent form could be included, but then the school is basically asking the parent's permission to document behavior in their facility. If we accept that argument, it isn't a large step for parents to insist on a consent form before a teacher can record any written documentation regarding their child's behavior.
I understand the CYA necessity of consent, but it shouldn't be necessary. Police, ER's and nursing homes all use photos for documentation of events, so it is[/i] a valid and acceptable form of documentation that schools should be able to use as well - IF they choose to do so.
Apr 11, 2011
I still am working at the school. Thank you God.
My mistake was saying that the principal authorized such an act.
The camera phone thing was a rookie teacher's mistake, especially because it caused much more of a distraction to the class. The better thing I should have done was kept going with my lesson and wrote a referral and sent the student out.
For me, this was an educational experience. From now on, I am just going to focus on my students who want to learn and not make a big scene if a disruptive student chooses to be defiant. I am just going to simply write a referral and send the student out. I would rather focusing on the students who want to learn.
I think that's definitely a better idea. If you call out a student in front of others, he or she now has a platform and acts out even more. Dealing with it quietly, and even sending him or her out, is a better choice.
Glad you still have your job. I know you were worried.
Definitely a mistake that is made, and it doesn't have to be a rookie teacher making mistakes.
I made one myself last Friday before Spring Break. I shouldn't have fussed at a boy (out in the hall) and told him he was going to have to learn something because "your mama isn't going to rescue you when you have to show you know it later." Mama got her feelings hurt, and I really didn't want her to feel bad. I do think she spoils her kid and covers for him, but I shouldn't have hurt her feelings. She came in today after the long week break and spoke to me about it (in a nice way), but said it had been bothering her all week. She is right. I must learn to curb my tongue.
I don't think, though, I'll ever make the camera mistake thing because I am so behind the times that I carry a rotary dial phone around with me as a cell phone.
(Just kidding. Sort of.)
I imagine, though, there will be a time in the near future in which there are cameras installed in all the classroom.
Apr 12, 2011
Or, don't laugh, they really make these:
I'm not seeing how what you said to the boy was a mistake. If he was in trouble for goofing off, not doing his work, disrupting class, or not paying attention, he probably needs to hear what you told him a little more often, especially if his mom coddles him as you say. Moreover, by 5th grade, students can be told the truth about their performance (or lack thereof) without any sugarcoating.
To be honest, based on what you said to the boy, there is no need for you to "hold your tongue."
Sounds like mama rescued him again.