Parental Fallout on the Way?

There are two of us special ed teachers at our school. We co-teach a seventh-grade life skills class. Today’s lesson was on test-taking skills. The kids weren’t interested. Some of them refused to open their test booklets. Some of them opened their booklets, but sat and stared at me. Others kept asking, “What page are we on?” even though I had repeated the page number at least half a dozen times, and walked around the room to make sure everyone was in the right place.

After more than 30 minutes of their defiance and indolence, I’d had enough. “You’re on your own, guys. The rest of this assignment is due at the end of the period. You have about 20 minutes to finish.”

I went to my desk and began entering grades in the online grade book. My co-teacher was sitting at another table in the room, where she had been grading papers. Two or three of the boys moved to her table immediately and asked for help. She read the questions and possible answers to them so they could choose the best answer.

For about 10 minutes, the room was fairly quiet except for some giggling coming from the table. All of a sudden the quietness was shattered by my co-teacher’s declaring to one boy: “If you’re going to be an asshole, then I’m not going to help you. Go back to your seat.”

I kept my head down. I didn’t dare look up. I knew I’d start to laugh if I did. Fortunately, the bell rang a few minutes later and the boys left for their next class.

These kids can try the patience of the proverbial saint. My co-teacher and I aren’t saints. She’d finally had enough of their antics and said the first thing that came to mind.

We’ll see if there’s any parental fallout from this incident.

Posted on November 10, 2009, in classroom management, defiance, indolence, relationships. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. My first year teaching, a group of my kids were behaving really obnoxiously at lunch on my first day of lunch duty (holding other kids’ arms behind their backs so other friends could punch them in the stomachs and chests – WTF?). I was PISSED, so I went over to lecture the whole group, both the active participants and those watching. As I was haranguing them about their bad behavior, I got to the threatening part: “And if you do this again, I’ll write all your asses up!”

    And then thought, oh CRAP, I just said ass to a group of kids. So I kept talking to try to cover/distract them and then immediately went and told my AP. After I spilled my tale of horror and woe, he laughed, said the judicious use of ass is a time-honored tradition, and told me he appreciated the heads up. Not one parent called, I think because the kids knew they’d been out of line and hadn’t wanted to tell their parents at all because then the reason I’d said it would come out, and not one kid brought it up to me (until a few months later, as part of a general conversation about language after school one day; I apologized, they laughed and said they’d thought it was funny).

    I’m all about full and early disclosure when I say dumb stuff, at least when it’s to a group and not just to an individual student. 🙂

  2. It’s always just so wrong how they can act like the words we cannot say aloud.

  3. Ugh. The reality is that there probably WILL be fallout. Kids will jump on the TINIEST thing.

    Case in point? One of MY darlings is calling the school to complain that I’m telling his class that he’s “faking” his illness. He’d writtent o me to say that he wasn’t coming to school because he suspects he has H1N1, to which I replied that I was sorry he was unwell, but that he should have such a diagnosis actually confirmed before he makes the claim of the illness. In class, someone said that “J has H1N1,” to which I replied that he MAY, but that it’s not been confirmed yet. That got back to him that I was telling the class he was “faking” it, and his mother called to bitch out my director (who promptly shut her down with a firm, but oh-so-polite letter).


  4. As a parent of a special education child, there would be fallout. As a teacher? I think there are some “neurotypical” students that deserve the A word but I think more understanding and patience have to be used with special ed kids.

  5. These kids can try the patience of the proverbial saint. My co-teacher and I aren’t saints. She’d finally had enough of their antics and said the first thing that came to mind.
    We’ll see if there’s any parental fallout from this incident.

    Yes that is one of the reason why I am not a teacher anymore – alway bee afraid of the parents that have a different view/opinion and that the head master is to weak to say that the parent (sometimes are wrong).
    Of course you have to bee nice to the kids BUT sometime you need to ´tell them straight up when something is wrong.

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