Tag Archives: school administration

school discipline is just not my thing

First, let me review my classroom management skills with you. I taught high school students for 21 years. All grade levels, all sizes, all personalities. I got them all in the elective classes that I taught. I believed that those classes should be so engaging and the students so involved that they didn’t have time nor inclination to get into trouble. I set up the room and the lessons to maximize classroom control. It worked most of the time, but there were occasional miscreants.

I handled those miscreants on my own. Occasionally I moved a belligerent student into another room or made them step outside, where I could still see them, while I continued with the class. When I got to a point where I could step away, then I lit into the kid with the bad behavior, pointing out what they did and what they should have done and were they ready to get back to work OR did I need to call home. My method worked better than 99 percent of the time. I seldom had to send a student to the office, but I did occasionally write up a conduct referral if I thought a good talking to from the vice principal or counselor would make a difference.

The last year I taught was one time I had to call the office for help. I had a kid show up in my advanced multimedia class and insist he was in my class now. Nope. Not on my roll. Go away. He refused to do so. Just sat himself down and would not leave. My students were busy with a website design so they didn’t have time to pay much attention to this character, but he was a little scary in that he continued to loudly insist I give him an assignment. I called the office to send help.

When the campus assistant (CA) showed up, he was rather sheepish. “Did you call for help?”

“Yes, I did,” pointing to the young man. “This kid is insisting he is in this class but he is not enrolled. Please take him away.”

The CA chuckled and got the kid on his feet and headed to the door. “I couldn’t believe it when I got the message that YOU needed someone. You never call for help.”

“Darn tootin. I don’t have time for such nonsense.”

Now fast forward to my days at Columbia Elementary. The office always has kids in there that teachers have sent to the office. I don’t get it. These kids are much smaller than those high school kids. What’s going on? Why can’t the teachers handle these kids? Things have changed, but that much? Who is in charge? Who is the grownup? What is going on in those rooms, curriculum-wise? What are the assignments that these students are trying to escape?

I sit with some of these miscreants and we talk. It all seems easy to me to handle, but I’m not the one in the classroom. I’m not the one whose back is up against the wall to produce higher test scores. I’m not the one who has to answer to parents. As I said in the title, school discipline is not my thing.

Addendum: Maybe teachers would have fewer problems if they had lessons like this one.

Teacher retirements save money

I have been following another teacher’s blog, an art teacher in Arkansas. Just as with so many other teachers out there, she too is having a bit of an upset with what and where she will be teaching. She, at least, still has a job; as we know there are so many who have been pink-slipped and then given final notice. Here is a quote from her blog:

…my job is changing next year.  I will no longer be the art teacher in my building.  It’s tough to give that one up.  I have really enjoyed these last three years of teaching art to grades 3-6.  There are four of us who are instructional facilitators in our two buildings, primary and elementary.  Two are math facilitators.  The other two of us have been half art teachers and half literacy facilitators.  Well, the new administration decided that wasn’t working, so we were told that three of us would be kept on as facilitators and one would have to choose another open position.  The other art/literacy person decided to take the art job.  She will be teaching 29 classes per week over seven grade levels in two buildings.  I didn’t want such a strict schedule.  She will barely have time to pee each day!  So, although I will really miss teaching art (really miss it!), I will be full time facilitator next year.

After reading this post, I commented about the way my district is handling things this year:

I am assuming you work for a school district that did not offer buyouts for their employees? Only reshuffling of positions? My district offered veteran teachers a full year’s salary if they would retire this year. Instead of the usual 200 who would retire, there are closer to 600 who took the deal this year.

One of the commenters left this message:

Wow, what kind of school district has 600 people retiring?! Our whole district only has 70 teachers TOTAL.


That made me smile. The district for whom I worked for 21 years is the biggest employer in our city, after the IRS which has an outpost here for the west coast tax collection. There are over 10,000 employees for about 76,000 students in this big district, the fourth largest in the state. I have honestly lost count of the number of schools, but I think it’s 110.

Budget woes have caused the district to scramble to find a way to cut costs, like $71 million. Getting rid of veteran employees who have high salaries is the easiest. Teachers with the district for over 20 years are making about $70,000. With benefits hitting $17,000 for each employee, you can see that it would be cost efficient to hire two new teachers at $35,000. More bang for the buck.

The inner city high school where I taught all those years has 20 staff retiring this year. A few others have been shuffled, sort of like the art teacher in Arkansas, to other positions at other schools. Next year will be interesting, to say the least.