Thursday, April 12, 2007

flesh colored duct tape; as a teaching tool

A recent story on KRQE had to do with a substitute teacher who reportedly taped a student’s mouth shut.

I can “understand” circumstances and frustrations that lead to that outcome.

Imagine making all the sacrifices that teachers make in order to prepare to teach; and then to teach for a living. The sacrifices are substantial.

Further imagine that you are a teacher for all the right reasons; you love kids, you love to teach, and you want to serve your community in a most important way.

Then imagine that you end up spending most of your day, most days, trying to manage the behavior of disruptive students; and in fact, do very little teaching at all.

Add to that the fact that, as a teacher, you are powerless to change the paradigm. The underlying problems are absolutely beyond your influence or control, and you have too few resources and too little support to make any difference even if they were.

Perhaps then you can then imagine the frustration that leads one to tape a child’s mouth shut; even if just for a few moments.

This situation exists primarily because the APS has no discipline philosophy. And as a result, teachers are stuck with a problem far beyond their capacity to correct or even mitigate; and then they are held responsibile for the results.

APS has no discipline philosophy because the very first philosophical realization would be that, teachers are not reasonably responsible for (seriously) disruptive students. The problem, and the responsibility, falls upon the shoulders of the administration; from the school principal to the superintendent.

But the problem and the responsibility are not theirs, by their deliberate choice.

Ask a few teachers what stands between them and an educationally efficient environment. Most would argue that chronically disruptive students are a greater obstacle to teaching than “no child left behind”; greater than inadequate funding, and greater than community apathy. All would argue that chronic disruption is a greater obstacle to education than the lack of new administrative offices, and more administrators to fill them.

Superintendent Everitt, and the board, will not explain, defend, or even acknowledge that, APS has no discipline philosophy.

Please, don't take my word for any of this.
Ask a teacher; ask Beth Everitt.


Anonymous said...

Back when i was in school it was 20 or 30 pieces of Johnson and Johnson adhesive tape over the mouth for the rest of the day. And that tape HELD, I know from experience.

And nobody thought anything of it. Nobody ever imagined our 5th grade teacher Mrs. Minor might get in trouble for doing this. It was just school discipline. Of course that was 1963-64. Different world.

Anonymous said...

I see no reason why a teacher should not be allowed to silence a student so that they may continue to teach the other students. I think personally that those chronically disruptive students should be removed from the classroom leaving only the students who are actually trying to learn.