Everyone who knows me knows I'm a teacher by trade though I've held many a job lately.  Because the school systems are what they are, my field of study (Social Studies:  History, Government, Economics, etc.) is saturated and as a result, I've had to substitute teach if I want to teach.  I substitute for all sorts of classes and subjects and some of my favorites though I have no talent for it is Science and Math Classes.  I have taught all grades K-12 but usually I prefer the older ones.  Little ones can be little Tasmanian devils as they should be at 5-7 years old.    Not to mention all the extra stuff that comes with it: the tattling, the crying, the accidents, etc. 

However, I feel like I'm way too old fashioned at my age (39) and out of step.  I started teaching in the City Schools along with the County Schools.  The difference between the student populations are staggering.  The City Schools have 16 buildings: 3 Middle, 1 High, 12 Elementary. There is income inequality, high crime areas, a severe education gap, and little to no administrator support.  Most of the county districts have one or two of each school. 

Discipline within the schools are also staggering.  In the County schools, misbehavior in the classroom results in lunch or recess detention. Disrespectful actions toward the teacher, administrator, or another student results in being put in In School Suspension, being sent home and suspended.  They take their steps seriously.  When a substitute is in a room, if you misbehave you get double the punishment from the administration.  Why?  Subs are doing them a favor and are visiting their school.  To show poor discipline is not setting a good example for the school.  Upset the teacher enough, he/she won't come back and that district is down one teacher. 

In the City, the students rule the roost.  They get away with bad behavior.  Sending students to the office results in those students being sent back to class to "try again to get it right."  While I'm all for giving second chances, by the time the child gets to the office level all their chances to improve have died off.  I don't want a student in my class that disturbs classmates and the teacher, refuses to follow directions, shows abject disrespect to the class and teacher, and ignores all discipline actions (move you card, pin, bus...lunch det. no recess).  I have decided after 2 hellacious days of teaching 3rd grade students, I would ignore any requests to return.  I told the principal that I would not returning to that class.  I have never been cussed at by an 8 year old for simply doing my job, and actually, I haven't ever been cussed at like I have today.  This class was notorious for being awful by every teacher and tutor and administrator around me.  In fact, several teachers and administrators, and even social workers popped in to check on them.  In my day, If I acted like that, my parents would have spanked me in front of the class and sat with me the whole time.  In my day, the role of adult and child was clear.  Not now.  I'm frustrated and exhausted from raising my voice.  I think I've spent more time writing reports and referrals than anything else.  I've stopped and started lessons too many times to count.  I'm weary and totally second guessing my decision to take jobs in the City. 

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Comment by Angelia on February 2, 2014 at 10:14am

Thank you Dr. Cullen.  I don't know if I made an impact or not.  I think I might have done a little better on Friday with Career Day and helping to teach Middle School students what it takes to be an adult.  Some eyes were open wide, especially when they had to do an adult budget activity.  City Schools are a far cry from working in the County, it's almost as if I have to be two different teachers.  Sometimes, I don't like the teacher I have to be.  It goes far against what I know my personality is.  It confuses me and makes me very sad.  It's like I told the principal.  I love all the kids.  I don't like many of them.  I have some thinking to do before my contract is renewed.

Comment by Carlisle Cullen MD on February 2, 2014 at 3:36am


It sounds like you've had a rough week. I agree with you, there needs to be severe consequences for behaviour such as you are experiencing. I do not understand how an 8 year old feels they have the right to use profanity and ESPECIALLY towards an adult! I don't blame you for not wanting to return to the city school as a substitute. But think of it this way. Perhaps your energy was enough to sway one child from misbehaving? Perhaps something you said or did changed that child and gave them another view? What if you DID make a difference to ONE child? Is that enough to withstand the abuse of the others? I can't speak for you in that area, only you can decide. It seems that you have a very level head on your shoulders. 
It is said that one person can move mountains, change the course of the world. It matters if it's even just to one child.
Think on that....
You are an amazing person. I hope you will go far in life, I think you care a lot more than others. Hang in there, It's a rough sea out there.



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