Thursday, June 15, 2006

Teenage Tenacity Try Me!

You barked on the wrong bitch booooy!...
I said I'd just come in, teach the language, talk about Twain or White, give the truckload of homework, get my pay then scoot. That's it. But I couldn't...couldn't help it. How come the other teachers could hah?...How come they can be so...so...soooo....uncaring (??) no......that's not the word...maybe...intimidated?....I don't know.....All I can see...is I take charge...I can't help it...I see..sense what is so lacking and I try my best to fill in....
If for example...a next door teacher is late...I barge in and give the students something to work at....without being told. I did that yesterday...I knew Teacher S would be late...The guy teacher assigned to take charge of the kids were just letting the children hang loose...like group themselves and talk about anything......I went in...took over ...gave an activity..... I don't ever want to see kids idle...not reading...not writing....an idle mind is the devils playground....
And just awhile ago I had it out with a kid...13 year old.....He was wearing a metallic something that shouldn't be worn with the uniform. I have told these students time and again to be in proper uniform. It's important that they are. A uniform gives a feel of formality...a sense of responsibility and belongingness...culture....And he was wearing so may dangling things in his bod I had him take out. He answered back in a very disrespectful way saying that the other teachers "don't mind!!!"...."Well I do!"...I said.....
I expect every child that I teach to be dressed decently and to act with utmost courtesy in my presence...More than that, I expect children to be respectful in reasoning out....
The insolent kid went on and on about the merits of his attire and on why it wasn't wrong to wear what he was wearing.
"It is not always a matter of right or wrong...It is a matter of obedience for you kid, I strongly remarked." In the same way, it isn't wrong for me to wear an itzy bitzy shirt that would show my navel and tattoe...It's a free country, I can do that.....but would it be proper for me to come in wearing something like that......will you respect me if I come in attired that way???....We don't just speak through words...our manner of dressing also speaks volume of who we are...there is aplace for jeans and shirts...just as there is aplace for wearing a bathing suit....You are to wear what is deemed appropriate for this environment." That stunned him. I doubt if anybody has ever spoken to him or stood up to him all through his elementary years...obviously not.. And yes, I did. He was hard....but he was no match for an ass kicker veteran like me! I have clambered walls running after students who cut class....hah!
Well I'll be darned....turns out that nobody in that school bothered to lay out the rules in the first place....to orient...to explain to the kids what was expected of them...A healthy breeding ground for chaos. Ofcourse...I used to do this all those years as head teacher and acting principal.....So I took charge and did it once again.... what the administration should have done in the first place....set the STANDARD!!!!!!!!
And I waved the policies I myself have written years ago....read through...explaining all the do's and don'ts....all the ecpectatons...explaining that they are under authority, and by disregarding the simplest of rules a country...an organization...a family will fall....In unity there is strength. ...And a child who is undisciplined will grow with insecurity...a questioning of identity...and a disregard for the authority as well as the rights of others....
He apologized in front of the class....yes...he did...
His demeanor changed...he realized something.
I guess, I taught a lesson of more value than "verbs" today......
humility...respect and basic courtesy.....
And this day and my name will live on in the mind of that boy.......He will never forget me.
Caring is not easy.

13 comments:

X. Dell said...

Uh, oh. I guess I'm a teenager at heart, and am in for more scolding.

I wore a uniform in grade school (a Catholic school--BTW I was never Catholic), and I didn't mind it as much as my parents did. I mean, how many times can you hand down white shirts and navy trousers?

But I was also a Scout, and my school allowed me to wear my scout uniform in lieu of the recognized uniform. I appreciated that for it made me feel special on those days when the pack/troop met.

As educators, I would guess that our perspectives are somewhat different. But I have no quibbles with the way that you have taken charge in th classroom, and I sense it is because you care, deep down. More important, by speaking to him the one student directly, you have done something that I hope that I have always done and will continue to do: take the student seriously as a sign of respect to them.

You have your way, I have mine, but I think that somewhere at the core, we're probably in agreement.

Mayden's Voyage said...

An Iron fist in a Velvet glove...
And I am exactly the same way, with my children, my pre-schoolers, MYSELF!

Lay out the expectations...explain why if an explanation is necessary. Above all, CARE...expect more from a child and almost always- you get more!

I don't play games when it isn't game time...I don't baby you unless you are a baby. I am in charge...the child is going to listen, or else there is a boring penatly to pay.

The most difficult children are usually the least rewarding-- until we make it half way through the year...and then then know they are safe, and cared for, and that I have no favorites--they are all my favorites! :)

Actually, the ones who listen, the ones who reflect what I have poured into them- they are my favorties...but that would be most!

Lux...keep up the good work. All educators have a different approach, and I know many children learn in many different ways...and a good teacher can see that and try to meet those variying needs.

I love teachers...I have not been formally trained as one, except through what life and my heart have taught me- and experience.

Yet another reason why you are so near and dear to my heart.

X- you too! :)

schaumi said...

i don't abide disrespectfulness in students myself whether it is directed at me or other students.
i have my rules established and that is the first thing I explain each year and several times throughout the year if necessary. Amazingly even though i sometimes consider myself somewhat strict, i have several students who always tell me i'm the nicest teacher. i've often wondered about that, but then i realized it is because i don't yell at the children....i speak to the children.

Lady Lux said...

hello' there!...

respect is never demanded..it is earned...

It wasn't the uniform thing really...This student has been really obnoxious and bullying since the first day of class. He would sizzle up to the other kids laughing at their mistakes and is totally..totally uncaring about lessons. I know that this kid probably has issues at home...I haven't delved deeper..I usually do...to understand why a child behaves a certain way......

The teachers let him be..ignoring his attention grabbing antics...snding the wrong message in the process...He was screaming look at me...and I did...

The high school students who have gone through my class...students I have chastised..reprimanded..counseled...they write back to me after high school.....they visit me...they tell me...how much my "minding them" helped them see...(now that they are in the real world...and out of my strict gaze) how precious direction and discipline is...I cry..when they come back to me and hug and thank me....

My country sadly ranks among the lowest in the deliverance of education..our public school system stinks...the best teachers have left for the United States...and other countries where they get paid more significantly...People ask me why I stay....

parents here pay blood and tears to just be able to afford to send kids in a private school such as where I teach...money is hard to come by....

Even more sad is that many children lack the motivation to learn...I try..try..to feed them that motivation...but I want them to realize that unless they listen and abide ...and do their best...then this country will forever be in a muck of poverty..not just financially....but a poverty of the soul as well....The youth..the next generation is our hope...

As much as I can..I know I am not perfect...I consider myself a student as well..always a student...but with all my flaws...and strength..as long as I can..in any way I can..I will teach more than what is required of grammar...and Lit...I will teach about life...about possibilities...about greatness...about bringing back a little bit of dignity to this culture that is blindly at a loss...

and it starts with something as simple as wearing the appropriate clothes at the appropriate time...
thre is a season for everything...this is the season for that child and all children to realize...that learning comes with a price....

X. Dell said...

I agree with you, Lux and Schaumi. You can't let students bully each other, or allow them to use the school as a venue for disrepect, hate, prejudice, you name it.

Like I wrote before, I have no quibbles about what you did, Lux, nor why you did it.

schaumi said...

lux,

you are a true educator and teacher at heart where it counts most. so many in the profession, if they have taught for a while, become jaded and just don't care anymore. they don't care to listen to the students or figure out why a student might me acting the way they do.

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

barking at the wrong bitch????
i love it when you talk dirty.
have any rolled papers over there? ive been bad....
digging, eating shoes, leaving SHB's in the neighbors pretty yards......

/howl

butterflygirl said...

Great post.

When school starts back in the fall we are going to have a uniform of color. I can't wait!

Don said...

What an excellent post!

I was really loving it until I read in your comments that the best teachers in your country have moved to the US. Oh shit! This country has what I would have said was the worst problem with unruly children of any country in the world. Most of the parents are little more than unruly brats so why would the children be better?

Teachers are less respected here than in many countries; and I can't say it's wrong because so many of them are foolish at best; incompetent is more likely. They do whatever is needed to 'get along'. In my state the children need to pass state mandated exams to be promoted. The teachers teach TO the exam; ordinary knowledge is ignored. The only object is to pass the test and, incidentally, make the teacher appear competent.

Your post was eloquent about the need for rules and how they underlie respect for one another. What a great attitude. I wish about a billion people like you would start teaching children all over the world. You could really make this a better world.

Ben said...

Hi Lux

Interesting discussion. As it is, there are no uniforms for pupils in my country and you see, well, a lot.

Of course, there's group pressure on the kids. Got the right sneakers, the right brand of Jeans? That's important and causing trouble, especially for the aprents who are supposed to pay for all that stuff.

So, the powers that be are now actually thinking about uniforms.

As for your style? You give'em what they often do not even find at home anymore, at least over here: clarity, rules and especially: the occasional "No way!".

Gary said...

I like this post. You are an excellent role model and teacher. Good for you.

Lady Lux said...

Thank you people for the encouragement...gosh...seems ages since I last posted...

tired...

Lady Lux said...

K9:

HEEEEY DOOOWGIE!!!!..BAAAAD DOWGIEEE!....haaah!...See what you did there???..what's that???...What's that???....And whose shoe are you nibbling on right now!!!!

BAAAAAAD!!!!!

INSIDE THE CAGE NOW!!!!...YA' HEAR???...YEEEAAH!...STOP WHIMPERING OR I'LL DRAG YOU IN MYSELF!!!

( I really do say this to the pooch...he!he!)