Sunday, December 20, 2009
I am really starting to appreciate how much school policies can affect learning in the classroom. I am used to working in classrooms of students who do not test my classroom management skills and who are generally motivated and well behaved. In the event that I have trouble with a particular student, I can usually call in administrative support (though this has been very rare). From observing at Chief Sealth and talking to Robin and others in my cohort, I can see how important it is for the administration to adopt policies that support teachers in the classroom. I know that Chief Sealth has dramatically reduced tardiness with a policy that requires late students to get a tardy slip from the front office. There doesn’t seem to be much recourse, however, if students choose to not work or generally be defiant and disobedient. Of course there are ways for teachers to work around these things in the classroom, but for the students there is no threat of going to the front office or detention that a teacher can wield. I have one student who is regularly disruptive in class. I talked to him about having to make a choice between changing his behavior or facing possible detention. He said that if he got detention he wouldn’t come. At which I said, well then it escalates to more detention and eventually to being referred to the front office. He said that happened to him last year and nothing happened. This is pretty frustrating from my perspective that I have basically no recourse with teeth should a student choose to be disruptive. And not only does it hurt him, but it hurts all the other students he distracts or takes attention away from.