Friday, March 13, 2009
DC teachers, assaulted by students, are scrutinized for "classroom management"
When I was substitute teaching, “classroom management” was an issue with younger or lower income students, leading to problems. Today (Friday March 13) The Washington Post has a front page story by Bill Turque, “Disorder in a Merged D.C. School; Teachers Alleging Attacks by Youths Find Themselves Scrutinized”, link here. The specific problem has to do with the temporary housing of a ninth grade trade academy in Ronald H. Brown Middle School in NE Washington. Teachers have been assaulted, as by having books thrown at them, but teachers who refer too many students to principals are put on 90 day performance improvement programs.
Apparently these were regularly licensed teachers, whose performance, nevertheless, comes under scrutiny under Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s “tougher performance standards” for teachers.
In northern Virginia, substitute teachers, hired often with no education experience or licenses, sometimes experience classroom management problems and get “banned” (with “Do Not Send” or “Do Not Use” letters) from schools and eventually fired under the “three strikes” rules.
In a speech Tuesday President Barack Obama called for tougher standards with probationary periods for teachers.
But classroom management problems sometimes occur because low income male students do not perceive the teacher to be an “eligible” authority figure according to the values and culture of their world.
To answer the comments (which see), please see the July 25, 2007 entry on my main blog a detailed account of my own problems with discipline in northern Virginia, here. The "three strikes" rule is explained in more detail in the Dec 13, 2006 entry on this blog (see the "substitute teachers" label below).
The Substitute Manual of the Fairfax County Public Schools explains the "do not send" or "three strikes" rule on p 6, link here (PDF). The actual personnel regulation is 4311, and is explained in Section VIII at this link.
Picture: Gunston Middle School, Arlington VA (one place where I subbed, 2004-2007)