Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Quit!

I haven't said it yet, but my administration keeps pushing me dangerously closer to saying those two words.  I truly am not sure how much more I can put up with.  There is no accountability, communication, or consistency in my school building.  Students are pulled so often without any teacher notification that it becomes a guessing game trying to locate students.  I don't know if a student is absent because of suspension, counseling, playing in the bathroom, being tested, etc.  Misbehaved students run the show.  (Literally, they run the morning announcements camera, make copies, etc!). Negative consequences are applied unfairly and inconsistently, and administration is nowhere to be found.  Here are some emails and conversations that have taken place over the past two days:

Background: Student Z, who is a severe behavior problem, was missing after lunch.  He missed writing instruction.  I took the kids to specials and found Student Z in the office banging a book on a chair.  When asked what he was doing, he shrugged his shoulders.  Nobody in the office could tell me what was going on.  Student Z didn't return for science (a subject which he is failing).  I tried to find administration after school with no luck.  I found out from an assistant that he had cussed out another adult and was running the halls.  Another teacher stopped to ask me why Student Z was in the principal's office eating cake.  This happens all the time!  Out of frustration, I sent the following e-mail:

I am still confused and frustrated why [Student Z] was pulled today and spent the whole afternoon in the office. He missed science and has no knowledge of the water cycle. He has been out the last three afternoons and he is failing science. Another teacher stopped to ask why he was eating cake in the office.

The principal responded at 8:30 p.m. with one sentence:

You need to see me at 7:15 a.m. tomorrow morning in my office.

This sent me in a panic.  When I arrived the following morning she made me sit down, close the door, and tore me a new one (all while smiling, of course).  She kept asking, "Do you really think that was appropriate?"  and kept saying how disrespectful I was.  She more or less said it wasn't my business and to trust that she's doing her job.  She also admitted to giving him cake (despite the fact that he was in trouble) because she's "a nice person".

I bit my tongue so I wouldn't say anything else or cry in front of her.  The second I left was a different story.  Deciding to be professional and not burn any bridges, I sent a follow up email later that afternoon:

Thank you for meeting with me this morning. I once again want to state that it was not my intention to offend or upset you. My frustration is not regarding what [Student Z] was doing in the office, but more why I wasn't notified. It is my goal to put my students first. Therefore, my frustration and concern comes from his chronic absence from class along with other students which directly impacts their academics. In the future, can teachers please be notified when students will be missing class? I feel like this is a safety issue as well as an academic issue. Thanks in advance for your support.
I look forward to meeting with you for the post observation.

Today the principal approached me at lunch, thanked me for my follow up, and asked if I could meet her along with the 5th grade team and vice principal during planning for a few minutes.  Despite the suffocating levels of tension in the room, the meeting started off positive.  We agreed that from now on homeroom teachers would be called when a student is sent to the office.  (Students are frequently pulled during specials, lunch, or in other classes without our knowledge.)  Administration would send a follow up email with any necessary explanations after school.  Also, due to frequent incidents of boys ganging up on other boys in the bathroom, the vice principal agreed to create a bathroom schedule time for morning and afternoon for each class.  Students are not allowed in the restroom at any other time unless it's an emergency.  My teammate said it sounded like a good plan, as long as it was consistent.  The administrators questioned what has been inconsistent in the past (ummm....everything?) and my teammate provided a specific example.  Without skipping a beat, the vice principal snapped back, "Well you can take a look in the mirror.  If you want to talk about being inconsistent, I'm still waiting on your field trip forms."   (This statement was clearly directed towards my colleague.  The assistant principal was referencing something that I had no participation in whatsoever.  I challenge an administrator to find anything that I haven't completed that I should have.)   She had such a nasty tone, volume, and body language.  Then she walked out!  My teammate started crying and said to the principal, "How is that okay for her to talk to me like that?", to which the principal replied, "Obviously you need to have a crucial conversation with her.  When [my name] disrespected me, I had her come in for a crucial conversation".  My teammate said she was ready to walk out the door and the principal said, "Get your keys."  (She stayed.)  Twice more I was reprimanded in front of my team for "being disrespectful" with the email. 

Things keep escalating and are becoming increasingly more unbearable.  We aren't treated with any professionalism.  The kids aren't put first. 

The only lesson any of us have learned is to keep our mouths shut!

How the hell am I supposed to make it 'til June???

1 comment:

  1. Oh Bonnie,
    I totally understand. This EXACT same thing happened to me last year. I had a student holding a lighter up to the sprinklers in the bathroom. He was given a half day of suspension because it was his first offense. I pulled 10 + office referrals from my file cabinet on this student. When I approached administration about it I was raked over the coals and treated like crap the remainder of the year. I wish I had some advice but the truth is, I don't know that I'll be returning to my old school when I go back to work.