The moral of the story is this: It is difficult to discipline students and at the same time to show them they matter. It is a difficult situation unless you already paved the ground for that to happen. You can’t be a jerk and then suddenly show a student that you care. You have to cultivate that ground, to till it, and to plant those seeds just right. You have to cultivate it from day one. It’s not something you can just start. But that doesn’t mean teachers can’t change.
I had a student today that skated the boundaries of appropriate behavior all period. He wasn’t exactly…overtly misbehaving, but was a continual annoyance. He had done the same thing to the teachers before me and the ones after me. I wrote him up on a negative disciplinary referral. I then spoke to another teacher about how we needed a form to document behavior but didn’t require disciplinary action. Something to give the principal so she could talk to the student or send to the school social worker so we could assist them in improving behavior without punishing them – a “second chance” so to speak. He agreed that we needed something like that and he had often wanted to write a student up without disciplining the student.
How can I adequately express to you, the reader, the love I have for my job. It’s not the job I love; it’s the students. The love and appreciation I have for them is greater than the love I have for the discipline I teach: history. I want to keep their identity confidential, but I want to share with you the difficulties they face each day. I realize those of you who are educators may deal with students like my students. But perhaps not to the same extent as I see it everyday.