Teenagers (Even if we consider them to be "bad") are People Too!

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by chemteach55, Sep 23, 2013.

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  1. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I am sitting in my classroom this morning reading A to Z as I always do before my kids come in and I find it very disheartening to see teachers label their students as "bad" or not worth their time. Granted these exact words have not been used but this has been the spirit of some posts lately and I know that many of us use this as a tool to vent and we need to be able to have a place to vent but please remember that our students are still growing whether they are 5 or 15 or 20 years old and need our understanding and guidance. I will admit that I lived an ideal life and teach in an ideal school but we never know what baggage these kids come to us with. Even the "good" kids have baggage.
    Thirty one years ago today my best friend in the world should have been waking up to celebrate her 16th birthday but she did not wake up at all. The night before she had swallowed 30 Darvocet pills in an effort to rid herself of her problems which seemed great at the time but are now trivial compared to the price that she paid. She was really not old enough to realize what she was doing and it was over the fact that 3 girls at her Catholic school had spread some vicious rumors about her. Her teachers knew that she was upset but she was such a "good" kid that they thought she would get over it. If the "good" kids have baggage, I can only imagine what the "bad" kids carry around--some may not have eaten last night so that a younger brother or sister could and some may be selling drugs because it is the only means of support they have. Students act out because they need a role model to show them to be different. Those who teach at "rough" schools, know that you and your students are in my daily prayers. I ask everyone to reach out to a student today so that Kim's life counted for something. She was only on Earth for a short 16 years but she lives on in my heart everyday and is the reason that I treat ALL of my students with care and respect and because of that they usually show me care and respect in return.
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    :clap::2up:
     
  4. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Excellent post. And a great challenge to all of us to remember Kim. Thanks!
     
  5. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    To play devil's advocate, some kids are just assholes. I'm sorry, but the world isn't as dandy as we'd like it to be. You absolutely wish there is something good in every kid, but if you stress yourself to squeeze the absolute best out of every kid, you will be facing an early retirement. You need to walk the finer line and help every student possible, but your energy is only finite. It comes to a point where you have to accept certain kids need to live their life on the wrong track until it hits them smack in the face because there is no other way for them to learn. In those instances, you let things take its course and you focus your energy on another kid.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We have a PD Day today, so no students are here, but I will certainly take your message to heart when I greet them tomorrow.
     
  7. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    No, the world is not a dandy place like we'd all like to think it to be. And yes, there will be those kids that you feel like do not deserve your attention because they are "assholes" as you put it. Have you ever thought that they are "assholes" because their family gave up on them? Have you ever thought that they are "assholes" because the other teachers before you gave up on them, too? Have you ever thought that they may continue to be "assholes" because YOU GAVE UP ON THEM?

    :2cents:
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Joe...

    Yes, some kids are incredibly difficult to love. I'm not the perfect person or teacher and I don't want to come off as thinking I am, but I can assure you I truly do try to love those kids more. They need it. And they deserve it.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Fine rant, Preskoo, though I'll venture that its object is elsewhere.

    Most of us most need love precisely when we're hardest to love - and often we make ourselves hard to love as a defense against anticipated rejection.
     
  10. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I'm truly sorry for what happened to your friend and I do understand your perspective. On the other hand, I don't think I've ever read a post where someone said a kid wasn't worth their time. Maybe I missed it?

    I have seen kids called "bad" and maybe that's not an appropriate thought for a teacher. However, as you said, sometimes one has to vent. Unless you've had some kid threaten violence upon you, look up your address (where you live with your children) and mockingly say it to your face, throw rocks at your classroom window from the outside when he sees you sitting in front of it, publicly suggest you're in a sexual relationship with another student, punch and throw pencil shavings in the face of another student in your class right in front of you, disrupt every class he attends, and laugh in your face that you might be "homeless" now after he finds out you've been RIF'd...you really can't fully understand why someone would need to vent about a student. Having experienced all of this, I have no issues with venting.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Just a gentle reminder:

    Teachers, even those who have lost their way, are also people.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Yes they are. But sometimes those who have lost their way need to find a new path to a new place. Some have never cared for the journey or thought the trip might be all fun or easy. This is a great place to find guidance for the journey, signposts, route directions. But sometimes travelers need to adjust their itinerary and take the next exit for the good of both themselves and those with whom they are sharing the road.
     
  13. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I feel so lucky to work with teachers who allow each other to vent without judgement and I respect others' need to do that here . But I have no patience for teachers who resort to name calling regarding students. Yes, some students carry a lot of baggage that causes them to behave in ridiculously inappropriate ways and that makes them hard to love or even to like. Just remember each student deserves respect- not because of how they treat you, but because we are the adults and because it is the right thing to do. How else will they learn how to behave in a civilized society?
     
  14. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    One of my many mantras is, "Every student has a story." Sometimes it's tough to keep that in mind, but it is the truth. The hardest thing to figure out is how to handle incorporating that story into your dealings with the individual student. Some simply don't have the time, resources, or energy to do so.

    If you're finding yourself in that position, try concentrating on some of your tougher nuts (not the worst, or you'll just bang your head) and see what happens if you just compliment them now and again, even if it isn't about their academic work.
     
  15. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I saw on Pinterest a quote- kids that need the most love ask for it in the most unloving ways. I also have seen for myself many kids that act their worst to see how bad they have to be before you give up on them the way other people have. Some of these tough kids are really hurting and acting out keeps them from caring about you.
     
  16. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Yes, some have lost their way....and some are just assholes.

    Even though we try to help every teacher possible, our energy is only finite. Sometimes we just have to let some folks follow their own path while we focus our efforts on another teacher.
     
  17. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    This is all pretty much in response to the other thread and is starting to feel like a thread passive-aggressively bashing one member. Personally I feel this thread has little purpose other than to just rehash the other thread and should be closed.
     
  18. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    But if someone sides on the latter, no one will ever be helped.
     
  19. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I just want to make something clear--this is not a thread against any teachers or their choices. We all need a place to vent and this is a safe place to do that. This is a very difficult day for me but it is one of the reasons that I choose to teach high school. I always knew that I wanted to teach but this is the reason that I choose the grade level that I am in. I teach chemistry but I also teach kids respect by respecting them and that they are loved no matter what they leave my classroom and go to. I know I see through rose colored glasses and some kids are harder to love than others but maybe that is their way of reaching out for help. I cannot call Kim today and wish her a Happy 47th Birthday but I can love , respect, and be there for my students and pray for the ones that seem unreachable right now.
     
  20. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    This has nothing to do with any other threads. I have asked this same favor many years on September 23rd in the years I have been posting on A to Z. I apologize if you feel this way but this is just my way of remembering a friend that my husband and children never got to know so they really do not understand what today means to me. I was reaching out to friends or so I thought!
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You are among friends.:hugs: reflecting on ways to better reach our misunderstood students is a great way to honor your friend.:love:
     
  22. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Trust me, I get it, chemteach55. If I hadn't been scheduled for a chemistry tutoring lesson right before my 15th birthday, my parents would have let me nap until dinner. By that time, the phenobarbital I had ingested (my mother's) would have killed me. I was one of the good kids that frustrated the teachers like crazy. They told me and my parents that I was lazy, that I would never get into college no matter how smart I was. My parents agreed with them and let me know that they had no idea how a child of theirs could get grades so bad. Meanwhile, I was the kid that even the unpopular kids would pick on, who could barely get through the school day without crying. The teachers had no idea, my parents had some idea, but not the full extent.

    In a very odd way, chemistry saved my life. I wound up retaking that class in another school when my parents agreed that I needed a fresh start. My former tutor was now my teacher, and he was very patient and warm with me because he knew my background. It wasn't an easy class, but my lab partners didn't act like I had cooties, so I enjoyed what I could learn.

    Okay, now I'm sobbing while typing this. Lots of memories.
     
  23. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    :hugs: cat
     
  24. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    OK I am crying now also--but I needed a good cry today. Thanks for sharing!!:hugs:
     
  25. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    I am very sorry about your friend and know how devastating it can be to lose someone so close to your. I only thought that this was, at least in part, about the other thread because you referenced it in your first sentence. If I misunderstood I am sorry and wish you peace today.
     
  26. Pisces_Fish

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    With an attitude like that I'd say more like you'd be facing an early termination.
     
  27. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    :hugs: cat
     
  28. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I really was not referencing any thread in general just an overall feeling that I had when reading this morning coupled with a co-worker complaining that all teenagers today are "bad" and a little extra sensitivity due to the day.
     
  29. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I agree that some kids are just a-holes, but I love to kill them with kindness. When I see them doing their a-hole thing, I just smile and think "how cute, he's trying to hard to look cool/seek attention/etc. again..."

    But I've looked for the good in every student this year, and especially with one student, oh my god, is it paying off. I almost have tears of pride for this student, but he still is dealing with a lot of things and I was very sad to hear that things are happening that may lead him to be removed from the country. The ones I'm having trouble with are not the normal behavior problems anymore, I connect more strongly with those kids than anyone else. It's the entitled "good kid" who is used to getting their way with the teacher and being the teachers' pet because they know every answer and are used to being called 'smart', so they try to sneak things past you, and get personally offended when you stop it in its tracks.
     
  30. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    chem and cat, thank you both.

    The dark and cold lie not so far away from any of us, my friends. In this space at this time, let us speak gently, and let us look rather to salve the wounds the world works on those around us rather than to deepen them.
     
  31. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Thank you for this, TG.
     
  32. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    My son was not an easy teenager to love...but I did and so did some wonderful teachers. I find that those children (especially boys) that take more of my energy and time are usually the ones I end up loving more than others. Today a teacher's class was walking down the hall...they were hitting each other, running, and basically being out of control. She was on planning and they were switching between music and pe. The PE coach made a comment to me in passing, I said something to that teacher a few minutes later about her being a patient person. She smiled at me and said, "Yeah, but I still love them!" Thank God for teachers like her for loving my unlovable child. Every child has something good in them. It is our job to find it and help it grow.

    Chem, I lost my high school sweetheart the year we graduated. While I know in my heart we would have never stayed together, I also know we would have been best friends. I miss him every June. I wish he could be here to meet my kids. I know he and my husband could have been best friends. And he would have loved my son. I am so sorry for your hurt today. I hope that loving some student today will help fill that vacant spot.
     
  33. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I don't think it's ok to call students assholes. Each student is someone's child, each has his or her own (often sad and tragic) story, and most of the things that make them 'bad' are out of their control.
    You have to separate the behavior from the person. A student having a rough day acting horrible does not become a horrible person. Just having a horrible day with horrible behavior.

    The best thing to do is find out about the student and see what the problem is. There is always something there. Sometimes you help by just listening, other times you can help by talking or coming up with a solution and other times you actually have to intervene (refer or report) to keep the child safe.

    I feel lucky because I'm at a small school and really get to know my students. Their stories really break my heart.
     
  34. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I never called kids a-holes, but when a few do here, no one says much.
     
  35. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I get this, but some students use any and everything as an excuse for their behavior or WE use it as a way to excuse their bad behavior. There is a difference between having a bad day and being disrespectful/disruptive everyday. I call it an excuse because these kids know how to control their behavior when they want/need to - like if Admin is trying to suspend them. They choose to misbehave.
     
  36. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to give them an excuse. Even if they have a horrible day and a very tragic situation, they still need to learn that cussing me out or hitting another student for no reason is not appropriate, and they can't do that, regardless.
    I'm just saying that we need to consider their background before just write them off and say they're horrible children. That there is a reason, and maybe showing them some compassion and a way to handle things might work better.

    I have a student who has been disruptive since the first day, acting crazy-goofy, just really interestingly-amusingly-bad :) It took me 3 weeks to talk to him, giving him consequences almost every day, writing him up, probation talking to him, etc before he turned around and showed improvement. Haven't been able to make parent contact at all. Now he's being back to how he was, and even my P said we need to see what's up because something is off with him.
    Obviously something more is there, and I need to find out, but even though he acted horribly today, I still wouldn't call him a name and wouldn't just write him off. I'm still happy to see him tomorrow nd really want to find out what's going on.
     
  37. live

    live Companion

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    I found that some of my "bad" students last year were often the most creative and passionate.
     
  38. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yes, same here. I imagine it's likely because they have life experiences many don't...struggles, pains, losses, etc.
     
  39. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Today one of my "worst" students performed his monologue, a short poem. This kid is often in expulsion hearings, is in a gang, and generally causes trouble, though not usually in my class. Now, his performance wasn't perfect. But, he worked hard and memorized the whole thing, and really took the assignment seriously. I taught him several years as a freshman, and now he's a senior and may get to graduate on time, and I am abundantly proud of him! He might drive me crazy again next class period, but today I am so proud! I refuse to give up on this kid, even though I'm sure several people have.
     
  40. readingrules12

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    Thank you Chem Teacher. I do like what you said on your post a lot. Thank you for reminding us that all teenagers have value.
     
  41. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Usually, whenever I think I am upset with a student and start to have ungenerous thoughts, I realize that what I am really upset about is that I don't know how to help them, and that makes me feel inadequate. They expose my weaknesses, and once I realize that, I know I need to work on my skills, not blame the kids.
     
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