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Why Teachers Quit

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A D.C. charter public school teacher has had enough.

Hat tip: DCist.

2 Comments

CORRECTION: I quit DC public schools. I'm just subbing at a charter school, and it's great!

I read the post, as well as many of the comments. My first observation is that there are some major problems at work amongst the adults that loom larger than the 5th grade boys BBT (Bust the Teacher?--wouldn't that be BTT?). One is the poor regard and communication between the teachers and principal. Since these are adults, I will levy the responsibility there 50/50, with the additional comment that if what you are wanting is a chance to sit down and talk with the principal, there are more direct (and reliable) methods than tendering your resignation by email.

Next, since the problem, as defined by the two fifth grade teachers, is one whose solution requires change by students and parents, why not involve these two groups in determining the course of action? There are some curiously passive-aggressive things going on when two teachers have defined the problem as the behavior of others, determined a response, called a meeting to announce what they are going to do (to change the behavior of those others), and then complain that the parents didn't show (especially when the topic was to tell them about how bad their children have been). And also feel as though their carefully planned
"program" of rewards and demerits was undermined because they were met by a second-hand statement that "the BBT" would remain in place.

Personally I would have opted for a fifth grade discussion of the problem--with as many adults as would be required to ensure order. I can tell you that about any fifth grade class has within it all the resources necessary to deflate a BBT without skating parties and party favors. Call on the school social worker or psychologist if you need to in order to have the conversation, or the fourth grade teachers (since they had these same kids last year), or anyone who has a relationship with the kids. In a fairly short order, the kids should be able to identify the kids who "belong" to BBT, what they are doing and why--and propose some other things that the class could be doing instead. If the going gets really tough, these meetings could take the place of recess for as long as it takes to solve the problem--but I would expect not.

It sounds like some 5th grade boys doing what 5th grade boys do--expressing their testosterone. Maybe they can reformulate as a fitness club--and lift weights.

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