Thursday, January 10, 2013

You're Rufflin' My Feathers Here

I am beyond frustrated. I am P.O.'d. Ya, that's right. I said it. I'm pissed off. In the past, whenever I would get worked up like this, I'd open my mouth and 3,901 words would come tumbling out, when I only meant to say 3 and only to 1 person and not everyone who came within hearing distance of me. Then I would immediately regret having said anything at all. But, now I have this wonderful blog where I can say anything I want, and only a handful of nice people who take the time to read my blog are here to listen. (Thank you nice people) Ready? Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable, cuz I'm gonna let it rip...
A couple of years ago (Sept. 27th, 2010 if you want to look it up) I posted about Landon's class. They are a rowdy bunch and they are the class that every teacher dreads. I should add here, that not every child in the class is like that. There are a tiny handful of really, good kids who are getting the short end of the stick by having to be in that class. If I was their parent, I would be even more ticked off than I am! (Please know that when I am talking about the "wild child's" in Landon's class, I am including Landon.) Anyway, I was blown away by the disrespectfulness that the class was showing to their teacher and here we are in 5th grade now, and I don't believe it has gotten any better. Why hasn't it gotten any better? Why do they continue with this horrible behavior? Because they can! Because nothing ever happens to them!
At the risk of sounding like a, "When I was a kid, I had to walk 44 miles in the snow barefoot to school..." I am going to share a little story with you. When I was in the 7th grade, (My parents let me quit the church school that year, and I was allowed to go to a public school which I loved!) my girlfriend and I decided to skip school. It was the one and only time we ever did that! Why? Because for a week after school, we had to sit in the principals office for an hour and write 1000 (That's a real number here!) times, "I will never skip school again!" It didn't matter that I would miss the school bus and that I would have to sit outside the school by myself for another hour, because my parents couldn't pick me up right away, because they had to work. (We lived in the country and I couldn't just walk home) It didn't matter. Also, one of my teacher's took it upon himself to make an example out of me and made a big speech in his classroom about what I had done. (Yes, I cried during the whole speech. But, that didn't matter. The speech went on.) I also had to do all my brother's chores for two weeks and I lost my t.v. time. I had to sit in my room for an hour every night so that my brother could enjoy his t.v. time. (That was the worst!)  And guess what?
So what happens when a child misbehaves in school today? Well, they get a little talkin' to, or they get to sit in the principals office for a few hours and do their school work. Big deal. They aren't afraid of that. They aren't afraid of the teachers or the principal. Now, before you get your undies all twisted up, (I know, I know, you never want children to fear an adult figure....I've read all the books too.) let me change that word, "afraid" to "respect." It's really the same thing. There isn't any respect, because nothing ever happens, to respect. It's a big joke to them. Now it's all about being "positive" and "rewarding them" for good behavior. I'm all for that, but if that isn't working, then maybe it's time to try the other direction. Consequences for inappropriate behavior. Let them write a sentence 1000 times and see how often they push and shove in the hallways after that. Let them spend an hour every day for a week with the principal, doing nothing but writing and see how often they raise the roof in the classroom after that. Why can't we do something about this? Why? I honestly haven't a clue. I've had moms come to my house for a disscussion. We accomplished nothing. I've been the voice to get parents to attend a meeting with the principal. We accomplished nothing. No one has answers. All I hear is, "We are taking care of it." Ummm... No you're not! I am so frustrated! And pissed off.
So, why are my feathers getting all ruffled up today? Yesterday, I was informed that Landon is going to be watched and his actions would be recorded, so they could figure out what is triggering Landon to misbehave. (He is ADHD and I posted about that last month) At first I thought that was a good idea. Then I got to thinking about it, and I thought, "Wait a minute! What is triggering Landon's behavior? Are you kidding??"  I'm not excusing Landon's behavior. It is totally unacceptable to disrupt a classroom or make the teacher's job difficult. No exceptions. But, tell me how can Landon improve his behavior when the rest of the class is allowed to misbehave? I know that there is only one teacher and it is impossible for her to teach and babysit these kids all day long. She can't do it alone. So, maybe it's time to send each and every child (my child too!) that disrespects her to the principals office, for a "real" consequence. Over and over, day after day, until they "get it," Until it stops.Yeah, it's work. Yeah, it's disrupting the schedule. But, you only get out of it, what you put into it. Our teachers need help. they can't do it alone.
 Landon has been struggling with being bullied by another kid this year, and all that is happening is, "The principal is going to call his mom." Or, "We talked to the kids." In fact just yesterday afternoon (After I was told Landon was going to be monitored) the bully kid jumped on Landon. Luckily a couple other kids stuck up for Landon and told his teacher what really happened. This alone is enough to cause him to lose all focus in class. Then throw in all the other CRAP that goes on during the day and you've got one nervous, anxious, ADHD kid on your hands!So tell me now, why does this bully kid feel so comfortable in school, that he thinks nothing of jumping another kid? Why does he think nothing of stepping on the back of Landon's shoes, or calling him names, or getting the other kids to join in? Over and over.... Because he can. He knows nothing is going to happen to him. Nothing at all. I requested a meeting between Landon's teacher, the principal, the other kid, his parents and Landon, Tim and I. I was told, "The principal is going to call his mother." Oh, good. Now it will never happen again....Yeah, right. They also want someone to come in and observe Landon's behavior. Oh, how I wish I could be there to see that person's face when the rest of the kids start up with their not so angelic behavior. In fact, I've got a better idea. How about they record the class for a week on a hidden camera. Then let's invite all the kids and their parents to the school for movie night?  I'll even bring the popcorn! Now if any of the parents get upset or start to argue or show any disrespectfulness towards one another or the principal, don't worry. I've got it covered. I'll just call their moms. Yeah, that'll take care of it.

* I need to add that in no way am I implying that any of this is a teacher's fault. Present or past. I feel the whole school system, and we the parents, are at fault. When the kids run the school, that is our sign it is time for a change. A BIG CHANGE! The sign is flashing. Can you see it?