this whole thing kept me up last night... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 01-29-2004, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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ds is in 8th grade at a public middle school that i'm not too happy about. he gets his report card yesterday and gets all A's,B's and one C in science. i hardly ever see him doing science homework and he doesn't talk about the tests so i go to meet with the teacher with ds yesterday morning. he is young and not very parent savy when speaking to me. he gives me his email and he says "but don't let any of the other kids in ds's class get the email" ok, i won't i wasn't planning to. so we go into why ds get s the C. I'm satisfied with his answer. then i ask if there will be any field trips and he says no and if they ever do experiments and he says "I can't trust these children with fire" and i wanted to say "then supervise them" so then he invites me to stay for 2nd period science class to observe how horribly behaved one particular group is, how they swear, throw things at him and at one time, threw condoms at him. ds told me about the incident. By the way, at the beginning of the year ds school sent home a copy of their disipline policy and i thought it was pretty good and rather strict. so , are you still with me? good because this gets better. 2nd period comes and he is right one group about 6 boys are terrible, passing a magazine back and forth, yelling acrosss they room, not taking notes, throwing pens at the teacher, nobody pays any attention to me sitting in the back. they tell the teacher to shut up, go jack off and other vulgarities. in the whole 50 minutes of class all he did was put up on the overview a paragraph about bases and acids!!

so after that class ends i am really disturbed at the behavior i have witnessed i go talk to the principle and he was very receptive and said "he has no business teaching. this is his last semester here" i expected him to say "we'll deal with those bad boys right away" but he blamed their behavior on the teacher saying that he is not implementing the disipline policy the way he was told to , and as an employee myself of the unified school disctrict it takes months to get rid of a teacher. which i know is true. i should say i've sat in on other classes of ds's and none are like this. the teacher is in complete control. yes, there are kids who are disruptive but they are dealt with right away.

now i feel badly about ds going to that envirionment. i'm thinking about doing the science thing myself. but, how? maybe during 2nd period i can meet ds in his school library with his text book and school him myself.

please, help.:
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#2 of 4 Old 01-29-2004, 02:07 PM
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Yuck! Junior high can be awful, and it sounds like the teacher has let it get out of control. The hands-off attitude of the administration isn't very impressive, either: if they know the class is a gong show, and that the teacher isn't following policy, they need to step in and set some boundaries.

How does your son feel about the class? Have you talked with him about it? Maybe the two of you can brainstorm some suggestions together. If you unilaterally decide to tutor him yourself, he may resent it. On the other hand, maybe he's yearning to get out of the class for that hour and would appreciate having his mom provide the reason. If he wants to stay in the class so he doesn't stick out, I would maybe say to him that you're concerned that being in such a lousy class is going to take away any enthusiasm for science that he might otherwise have had. You can agree to his continuing to attend if he agrees to do some enrichment activities with you in his free time: a nature walk, a visit to a science lab at a university, join a club, meet a scientist, etc.
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#3 of 4 Old 01-30-2004, 01:33 AM
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I would go above the principals head on this one. Immediately. There are several options he has including assigning an experienced team teacher, having the classroom teacher send disruptive kids down to detention, hiring a temp aide to help out maintaining order, placing the science teacher on library duty and assigning his class to another teacher that is known to maintain order. He can also have the schools dare police officers sit in. They can move the most disruptive kids out of the class into another science class. The teacher should be writing the kids up and send them to detention, then they would have grounds to suspend them.
That is so horrible. And I would fight the grade if you do not feel it is acceptable. Grades can be changed. You can opt out of science, homeschool that one subject area. If you decide to do something like that or want to get him some science curricula to homestudy after schoool or over the summer to catch up, you can pm me and I would be happy to help you find the resources you need.

I also feel badly for this science teacher, clearly he did not get the training and support he needed from the other members of that schools staff at the beginning of the year.
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#4 of 4 Old 01-30-2004, 01:54 PM
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My dh is a ps science teacher for 9th grade. It does sound to me like the teacher could use some good mentoring, and should get pointers on maintaining discipline.

However, you should also know that what the administration is telling you might be very misleading. Dh's school as a disciplinary policy, too, that looks good on paper. This year, however, the administration has completely stopped backing up the teachers. If they write up a referral and send it in to the office, the administration now essentially just sends it back to the teacher and refuses to keep records that the kid was written up. The classroom environment has gone to hell pretty quickly because the kids now realize that there are no consequences.

It has to do with the NCLB legislation. The school's disciplinary policy calls for certain consequences, which increase in severity from detention to eventual suspension. Evidently the administration is under great pressure to not suspend kids. Their reaction is to just pretend that infractions don't happen.

Whether or not the teacher really can remove disruptive students from the classroom (as was a big political rallying cry a few years ago) depends on the area. Where I live, it's been totally watered down to the point where the teachers can't do a thing to get the troublemakers out.

Dh makes every effort to keep doing labs, but he has had to ditch a lot of the more interesting ones because the kids deliberately break so much equipement that the school can't afford to replace, and because he has too many kids that will not follow instructions regarding safety.
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