What should I do?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by hbcaligirl1985, May 14, 2013.

  1. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    May 14, 2013

    I have had the worst day, it is a miracle if I’l still have a job by the end of the day tomorrow.

    Today, I had my students do a few CST prep activities and then do a journal writing activity. “If I had magic magic powers I would…”

    So I got a few smart @$$ remarks saying they’d use their magic powers to bring back their REAL teacher, I got a few funny ones, a few sweet ones, but then, without giving away too much information, I got one that was an instant reportable offense, basically it spoke about acts towards people and the school.

    The name on it was that of one of my trouble maker students who always gives me an attitude and barely applies herself. Immediately, I took it to the office (I was grading during my prep period).

    The office thanked me for turning it in and she was called to the office. The security guard came in to talk to me, saying that she denied ever turning that in. I said “Yes, she turned it in. It was one of the few times she turned in work to me, so I remember.” A few of her friends were with him saying passionately that she didn’t do it and that they heard someone say they were going to write something with her name on it and turn it in.

    So a nagging voice in the back of my head told me to check it out, so I went and looked. Sure enough, the girl HAD turned in something to me, but it was completely innocent (so I had been right about her turning in work), then I looked at the paper of the student they said they overheard saying they were going to write something. The writing was VERY VERY similar, so I immediately ran up to the office to tell them. They said they would look into it further.

    Oh. My. God. I basically just accused this poor girl and dragged her name through the mud for nothing. I mean, I understand that I had to report what was written on the paper, her name was on it and I haven’t been here long enough to tell if the hand writing is similar or not, but I feel HORRIBLE. They called in this girls mother. If I have a job tomorrow afternoon and am not sued by this girl and her family, it will be a miracle. I’ve basically lost any chance to connect with this girl OR the rowdy class.

    There is no apology great enough, nothing I can do that will ever make this right and I feel AWFUL. I am just sickened with myself right now. :help:
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 14, 2013

    It's your job to turn in questionable material. It's the office's job to investigate it. You did the right thing, even if it turned out to be something other than what you thought. Apologize to the student and let it go.
     
  4. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    May 14, 2013

    I would have done the same thing you did.
    Just be glad the real story came out and the correct student was punished.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    May 14, 2013

    The most important thing isn't always what you do, it is in how you handle a mistake after you make one. I think you handled the situation after your mistake well.
     
  6. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    May 14, 2013

    I think it is a perfectly reasonable mistake, and that you did a good job letting the office know as soon as you realized the mistake. Just apologize to all involved and hopefully it will all blow over and no one will be upset. A lot of people are understanding if you are honest about a mistake. :)
     
  7. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Cohort

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    I wouldn't sweat it, you did the right thing.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    May 14, 2013

    You did nothing wrong. Seriously, nothing.
     
  9. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    May 15, 2013

    Thank you for your responses everyone. I've been crying over this all day.
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    May 15, 2013

    I'm with the others. Yes, it was a mistake, but not a huge one. All you have to do is explain and apologize to the girl. IT's not like she got suspended already, you did what you had to do, and when you realized it was a mistake, you corrected it.
    It happens, you're human.

    Do not let this interfere with your job tomorrow, move on.

    As far as them saying they wish they could bring back their real teacher, that is perfecty normal.
    My P said if all my students loved me to death, it would mean that I'm too nice and I'm not holding them to higher standards. The fact that they still complain (about not being able to talk in class, etc, even they do talk) is proof that I'm handling everything. So any lashing out should be welcomed at this point, as proof that you are giving them structure.
     
  11. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    I agree with you about the last statement. These are the students that drove her to a nervous breakdown (other staff confirmed that this was indeed true). I think they are flustered because I'm not going anywhere (unless I get fired for this mistake), I don't let them distract me from what they need to do, and I make them do their work. They say I'm "mean", but I'm here to make sure one thing happens: They successfully get through the rest of 8th grade. Unfortunately, these kids don't want to do work, so I think a lot of it is going to be packets, reading articles and answering questions etc. The P and VP said "at this point, its a matter of survival, getting through the year" etc.

    I fully intend to apologize to that girl, but I wouldn't blame her if she didn't forgive me or accept the apology. If it were me, I'd be ****** off too.

    Also--I'm sure it's been circulated around the entire school right now. I know the kids are going to try and ask me tomorrow and when I tell them it's not their business, they are going to fight it. What do you suggest?
     
  12. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    May 15, 2013

    I agree that this was an honest mistake and that it will hopefully blow over. You did nothing wrong.

    About the class, be glad the year is almost over. Keep following your normal procedures and discipline policy.

    Apologize privately to the girl, maybe in the presence of your administrator.

    Refuse to engage students who want to discuss it. Tell them it's a private matter that you will not discuss (it is!). If they fight it, ignore (it takes two to argue) or follow your discipline procedure if they won't leave it alone.
     
  13. Scribe

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    Is there a reason why this should be handled in private even when the whole class knows what happened? If I were a student in the class I would be mighty impressed if the teacher made a public apology. Something along the lines of, "I'm only going to address this once, but I made a mistake yesterday and I'm sincerely sorry. It was my job to report it to the administration and I will continue to report such material. I apologize to the involved parties. See? Even teachers make mistakes! Now, back to where we left off yesterday..."
     
  14. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    May 15, 2013

    The reason to handle it in private is that there is a second student involved in the situation. That's just my opinion. :)
     
  15. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    You did nothing wrong. The paper had her name on it. You reported it, as you should. It was the right thing to do. You then got more information, and immediately moved to make corrections. That was the right thing to do, too. I'd be trying to find out the name of the student who turned in the paper with the girl's name on it, because that's the person who owes the girl and her parents and the class and you an apology.
     
  16. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    I would not do a class apology. I would apologize to the girl in private. If a student asks I would either not tell them, or maybe tell them that a student was dishonest tried to get someone in trouble, but it didn't work. In my opinion it wasn't a mistake, it was a set up. The class should know that you didn't (completely) fall for it.
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 15, 2013

    Teachers make mistakes too. I know that feeling all too well. You did nothing wrong, and you'll keep your job, I'm sure of it.

    I would just apologize to the student. If you're worried about other students talking to you about it, simply admit that you made a mistake to them individually and leave it at that. Don't let it get you down and let them understand the best thing to do when you make a mistake is apologize.

    There will be a strain on your relationship with the student in all likelihood, but things like this happen. I apparently made a mistake with a student, and gave him a letter home which he decided to escalate because he felt he did nothing wrong. However because I had given him an instruction and he didn't follow it, even if he was innocent of anything from the beginning he was now guilty of being disrespectful. Right now that student has a horrible attitude in my class now, because he refused to explain the situation and decided to escalate. I can't do anything about it until he comes to me personally and clears it up with me.

    I recommend teaching students how to respond when you make a mistake like this in the future. I don't have a thing in place right now either, and I wish I did. A good response would be to raise their and and ask "Mr./Mrs. ______ may I have a word with you in private?" Something that is polite but would be a red flag that you may have made a mistake, and have them describe what happened.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    May 15, 2013

    I am the only one who doesn't feel YOU made a mistake at all? You were essentially tricked. The only person who should be apologizing is the STUDENT who causes this...and that should certainly happen.
     
  19. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    LOL, I was scrolling down to write this very thing.

    To the OP - YOU didn't make a mistake. You did exactly what you should have done. It is not your fault in any shape or form.

    You can say to the girl "I'm sorry this happened to you. I'm very glad that your friends stuck up for you and helped the truth come out." And leave it at that.
     
  20. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    May 15, 2013

    This...
     
  21. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't think that the OP made a mistake. I do, however, think that it's polite to apologize for the inconvenience of the situation and for not noticing earlier that the student in question had turned in a different paper.
     
  22. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    May 15, 2013

    This. You could apologize to her for jumping to conclusions, maybe.
     
  23. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't think she needs to apologize for not noticing sooner. Not to minimize her role, but she is a sub who hasn't been with the group all year. But even as their regular classroom teacher, apologizing for not noticing sooner? She was grading during her planning on the same day (the way I read it). When should she have noticed? Immediately? I disagree. I'm just not seeing it...

    All fault is on the oh so clever student who created this entire situation.

    Saying, "I'm sorry you had to deal with that" makes sense to me.
     
  24. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    May 15, 2013

    This.
     
  25. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    It went well today. They are still investigating it and thus both students were in class, but I pulled the girl out for a few moments and apologized to her and explained by law I had to report it. She was very understanding. I dunno if she was being polite about it or if she was sincere, but she did not give me any attitude. In fact, nobody, not even admin mentioned it today. Looks like I lost sleep last night over nothing.

    Thank you so much for the feedback everyone. I was really a wreck over this.
     
  26. Scribe

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    May 16, 2013

    Glad it worked out for you in the end, which is good, considering you did nothing wrong! Hope you get some rest and can relax a bit :)
     
  27. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Good job!! :hugs:
     
  28. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    May 17, 2013

    So glad it seems to have worked out. And I agree with the others...you did nothing wrong. Even though you didn't have to apologize, I would've done the same thing. :)
     
  29. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I'm glad you feel more relieved after that incident!
     
  30. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    The real trouble maker was allowed back in class today and apologized to me and the student in question. I still question how he can think that such comments were a JOKE, but as long as he understands the seriousness of his actions, I will not question the admin.
     

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