Sometimes when I experience what can only be described as pure insanity, I wish that I were making these things up! As an educator, I stood my ground as someone who fought the good fight for all kids just as I would hope that someone did for mine. I treated all children the way that I expected my own to be treated.
As my connected educator life changed me as a teacher, I longed for those changes to filter to my own. Unfortunately, when you live in a town where “sharing on the internets” is still considered an educational crime, more often than none, you just expect to be completely disappointed. I call it the curse of being connected. We know better and we do better. Sometimes, we get to deal with other teachers who do not and it is in those moments that truly define how our connected learning ignites us.
Today, my son came home from school and told me that he was transferred for the third time to a different class. We are in the sixth week of school and such transfers are highly irregular. He started in home economics, a sewing class. With fewer machines than students, he was asked to transfer. He was sent to Health Science Tech, a class that gives a health credit. The problem was that he had health last year so this class would not serve him. Knowing this, I notified the counselor 4 weeks ago and only in the last day or so was he moved to art. Here is where it gets FUN!
He enters his art class and is immediately told by the teacher to go back to the counselor because he could NOT stay in her room. She told him that she didn’t want any more “altercations with ME” and that he had to go. (Just to be clear, my SON was told this)
Two and a half years ago, this art teacher, the spouse of one of my son’s middle school teachers, decided to tell her students about how “horribly misbehaved” my son was, a boy that she had never personally met. To be clear…he was not any different than any other bored middle school boy. At any rate, my students began to discuss matters of my son in my classroom and there was a highly professional conversation that followed. There was no altercation…period.
For some reason, this teacher decided to throw my son out in the most inappropriate and unprofessional way imaginable. Even as I write this, I can’t imagine any instance where this would be okay. The bright side is that he has now been moved to theater arts…where he can act out and as he put it…”girls are there”.
My Connected Thoughts
We chat often about building relationships with students. We understand that our plight is to build our students up to be the best of themselves. As a leader, I have engaged in conversation with many teachers about the right and wrong way to approach students. Telling a student that you do not want them in your class has to be one of the worst things that a teacher can say. Tying your feelings to an emotion felt towards their parent is even lower.
As a local girl, I’ve had my share of students who could not be in my classroom for one reason or another. In a small town, it happens. The appropriate way to handle such situations is by privately expressing concerns with administrators and counselors. There is NEVER a time when it is appropriate to express such thoughts to students.
In essence, she told my son that he did not belong…that he was not wanted…that he did NOT matter.
Thankfully, he has parents that have taught him how to handle himself in situations such as this…when his head is in the lion’s mouth.
He held his tongue, came home and told ME.
Why This Story is Important
There may be situations where students are faced with negative interactions with adults. This particular situation will be handled between myself, administrators and hopefully this teacher. How do we prepare other students? What about the ones without support at home? I can only imagine how my personal students would have reacted in this same situation. The outcome would be entirely different.