Sorry this is so long. My principal ripped me a new one today as I was about to leave. While he was out of district, I assigned three detentions to three different boys. It was easy enough. After we finished class, I asked them to stay after and read off a list of things they'd done. I told them this was a warning and if they behaved like that again in my class, they would be the ones calling home to read whatever I wrote down that they did. Two out of the three admitted wrong-doing, signed the slip, and asked to serve their detentions immediately. The third agreed to the detention but hadn't served it yet. (This is a new elective that started last week, by the way.) My principal got back today and I knew he would approach me about this because I don't usually write a lot of detentions and, lately, I have been. We all have been. The kids, especially a select number of boys, have just been ridiculously disruptive and/or disrespectful. We're free to write detentions as we see fit so long as we have the kids in our room (we can't assign detention and then have a coworker cover it.) After this kid got a different detention last week in one of my other classes , my principal floated the idea that if he was good on a Thursday and Friday, I should rip up the detention. The kid was good, so I did. Anyway, he doesn't ask about why or anything, he just mentions the last kid wants to serve it today after school. No problemo. My prep. period rolls around and the kid shows up (again, it's midterms) begging to do anything to get a passing grade. He has a 68 and in my district a 70 is a D-. I tell him if he sits down right now and writes a five paragraph essay convincing me why I should bump him those two points, I'll consider it. We go next door to the class he is supposed to be in and get the all clear for him to come in and make up his grade. The kid sits for an hour in a desk with no distractions and cranks out a relatively insightful paper about how he used to enjoy school in sixth grade, and he doesn't know why he's lost that love. That he doesn't have any missing assignments in my class, it's just that he scores poorly on tests and he could do better (show more effort) on assignments. At the end of the day, the same kid comes to me to serve his twenty minute detention. I tell him why I consider us square and send him on his way. What would he gain by sitting at a desk staring at a whiteboard for twenty minutes while I pack my stuff and then stare at the clock waiting to go home? Well, before I can go home on what has been a pretty great a Friday overall, my principal finds me and starts chewing me out. What was I thinking? I just rewarded that kid. He got out of a detention and raised his grade from failing in one day. I just let him spit in my face. He's probably down there bragging right now. I look like a pushover. My classroom management has really taken a dive lately. I say that I'm sorry, I thought it was fair. I didn't realize I was in the wrong. I had forgiven detentions before (hello, you just had me forgive one last week?) Since the kid was in the building, did he want me to march down and tell him I was mistaken and he needed to come do the twenty minutes now? No. Too late for that. The damage is done. You've just made it that much more difficult for anyone to assign him a detention because now he thinks they aren't enforced. Sorry again? I honestly didn't think it was that big of a deal. The kids original detention was a formality because I wanted documentation that he'd been warned I would have him call his parents next time. He did great today. Then he came in to do extra work and I thought that would suffice. Oh, he was pissed. He left fuming. A coworker peeked his head in to see if I was okay. You see, I feel like even if I was in the wrong to let the kid off the hook, my principal should have politely said something more along the lines of: hey, I just saw you let X out early. In the future, I would really prefer it if when you assign a detention, the student do the full punishment regardless of any positive improvements that occur afterwards, okay? Have a good weekend. Message would have been received loud and clear without anyone getting upset. Instead, I went home crying. I didn't cry in front of him. I tried to make it more of a conversation than a lecture: Oh, I see. Yes, it does make sense that since he's been getting so many detentions lately, maybe I shouldn't have been lenient with him. I was mistaken. I'll keep that in mind next time. It won't happen again. Is it just the millennial in me? Thanks for listening to my rant.