Sunday, November 19, 2006

Student Update

Many of you have asked about the student that I blogged about earlier. She is now back at school and as undisciplined as ever. We have not observed any more bruises or welts. She is still loud and boisterous. I did notice that on her first day back when I was really sweet and nice to her, she was not happy. She wanted to be fussed at. Because of this our team has adopted a new policy with her which is to calmly reprimand her no matte how much of a rise she tries to get out of her. We've done this for 4 days now and she is definitely frustrated. The implications of this are enormous. We believe that because she is used to being yelled and fussed at, but cannot figure why she needs this at school. We have also placed her into the TST process, however the principal has stated that she only has two more times to get into trouble before she is expelled so we don't know if she will make it to the end.


During my first year as a teacher, I cried every day. I hated my job. The students were horrible and the principal was a nut. There were many days that I thought about quitting. at the end of that year, I was talking with some of the students on class day and we were discussing the year. One commented, "Ms. Bowens, I learned more about life this year with you than I will probably ever learn again." At that point, I realized that not only am I teaching language arts, but I am also teaching about life. Many students spend the entire school year watching their teachers in an attempt to model themselves after someone. I realized that if I carried myself as a lady and a professional at all times then I had the opportunity to positively affect some child without saying a word. I also realized how important those talks were that I always considered a waste of time. I began to see that teaching is so much bigger than we as teachers can imagine during our first year and more rewarding than we will know in our last.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Conscious and Consequences

Paige* is a sixth grader at Brinkley and she caught my attention early this school year because of serious behavior infractions. The things are mostly middle level discipline issues, but on a consistent basis. During the last week of August we noticed several bruises on her arms and a black eye. She was immediately referred to a counselor whom she promptly told that she plays football with the boys. Paige* is 5’6” about 170 pounds. She backs down from no one and gives as good as she gets. With all this in mind we were inclined to believe her.

The next week Paige* was acting out in class and her mother was called. She left school that day and was not seen again for 3 days. Now although we are concerned about her missing class, the team is definitely not stressing over her absences. We are actually enjoying the peace of mind that we were having.

Paige* returns to school unable to move her left arm. She also has bruises all over her arms. She is again referred to the counselor who calls DHS. They investigate, but we have no knowledge of what they found or did.

Meanwhile Paige* is terrorizing the school. Everyone from the principals down to the teachers are afraid to call her mother or institute any type of consequence that could possibly cause her harm from someone at her home.

Paige* continues on her path of destruction for a month before the team begins to go postal. As team leader, I take the responsibility for our actions and call her mother in. The mother and father are now sitting in front of me stating how “the problem is that you have not had a beating in a good while.”

Now we are at a crossroads. Her behavior has not improved and she is most definitely headed for expulsion, but she still has not received any assistance in her dilemma. As a teacher, I can no longer accept her behavior. As a parent and a person, I cannot accept sending her away where she will never get the help she needed.