Monday, January 23, 2006

What's Your Worst Quality?

My biggest problem as a teacher is the all-too-direct connection between my brain and my mouth. It's been causing me problems since I was a child, and while I've made some improvements, I'm not quite where I'd like to be. If I'm not 100%, I don't come to work. If I did, I'm sure I'd say something incredibly offensive, stupid, or both.

I have more sympathy than I should for kids who can't control their mouths because I understand exactly what they're going through.

In any case, as Chaz reminded me, "corporal punishment", in NYC at least, may entail "verbal abuse" or "damaging the self-esteem" of a student. To further emphasize that point, here's an anonymous post I received today:

I came back to school after being out sick, and the students were misbehaving, my lesson plans were not followed by the sub, and I still was sick as a dog.Later that day some children returned late to class and I was upset with them and raised my voice.

As a result, they reported me and now I have a verbal abuse letter in my file. My very first letter ever in over 20 years of teaching.

Sometimes situations are not taken into consideration. It didn't matter I came back to school sick as a dog with little sleep because I wanted to get them ready for the ELA.

Moral: Not feeling well--stay home! No one cares if you made the effort to come in sick.

Too bad Unity frittered away our right to grieve those letters.

There's quite a lot of pressure on teachers and kids facing that ELA exam. I know because my kid just took it. I really appreciated her very pregnant teacher coming in and working very hard to help her pass. She and that poster did better than I could have.
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