Sunday, June 1, 2008

Get out of my face!

Buz read with interest Dan Rodricks column today on the travails of an idealistic young man who tried to teach in the Baltimore City Public Schools. To use a sports metaphor, their bench was deeper than his. It seems that the first order of business in teaching kids is "classroom management"--which Buz used to think was a B.S. course. I mean like kids will do kids stuff. But some of the things that column mentioned mirrored Buz's attempt to teach high school kids a couple of classes at Walbrook--allegedly a "magnet" school back then.  The class would not stop talking, or throwing things at each other.

Buz and an assistant could not control the classes for even 5 minutes: since what we had to say was not going to be on a test, and we were not their regular teachers, they were not interested. In the school, fights, running the halls, and fires were not uncommon.

The quote "get out of my face" says it all. Buz would never have dreamed to say it to one of my teachers in any of my schools. The kids who say that and throw things at the teacher and talk in class are actually preparing themselves for a life of the streets and the prisons. It's really sad: public education is there and available; a few misfits destroy it for all.

Perhaps the kids should have a smoking break so that they could smoke a couple of blunts and "relax": "it's hard out there".  I guess so if you don't even have a high school education or GED.

I'm puzzled why the teacher blames himself, as opposed to the parents, or even the kids themselves, or the schools system. He wants teachers paid $100K a year; that's a good idea. But it sounds as though we would be getting highly-paid prison wardens--at least in some schools.

The Sun recently had an op-ed columnist who reported that the drop-out rates in the city for the Teach for America and Resident Teacher programs were about 85% after  2 years in the system. An MSTA official recently told your consultant that the rate at which new teachers had their contracts not renewed (fired) was about 50% in the city.

The point of all this is that this is where crime begins: the kids learn that they can do whatever they want, say whatever they want, and no one tells them that there are consequences. "Get out of my face" works on the corner, or basketball court, or in jail with other inmates--maybe. Don't try telling that to your new boss, the inquiring cop, or to the judge.

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