Sans Guidelines

December 9, 2009 at 2:40 pm 3 comments

At my student teaching school, I never saw a referral slip. I presume that we had them, but we never used them.

At LMS, I tried to avoid writing kids up. No one wants to be the new teacher who deals with classroom management by sending all her trouble to the principal’s office, and some of my colleagues prided themselves on the fact that they had never used a referral form. Turns out I don’t have that kind of patience or management skills – or maybe I didn’t have that kind of students. I did end up filling out my fair share of referral forms before the year was up – things like kids hitting each other or stealing things off my desk or flagrantly cheating.

Then I came here, to CHS, and the discipline issues are like nothing I’ve dealt with before. And all I’ve really been given, in terms of advice for management, is that “You’ve got a really good support system here.”

Discipline here is all over the map. Some teachers kick kids out into the hall if they act up and leave them there, unsupervised, for the entire period. Some teachers put them in a corner of their room. Some give up their lunches for lunch detentions, and others stay after school for afternoon detentions. And the main word I hear is “referral form.” Since it seems to be the primary thing that teachers do, I started doing it, too.

And then I got fussed at by the Dean for writing kids up. I guess he thought that, in that particular case, I should have dealt with it in-house. If the infraction had been X degrees more severe, then I should have written him up – but in this case, it didn’t need to be taken to the Dean.

Okay, fine. I didn’t take offense. It’s just that it’s so hard to figure out what this particular school wants done, what SOP for CHS discipline issues really is. Each school has different unwritten policy – will someone PLEASE tell me what CHS’s is?!?

So I emailed him with a suggestion. I asked if we could maybe make a sheet with examples of infractions and suggested consequences. Like, “Copying another student’s assignment – first infraction –> call home. Cheating on test –> referral form.” Stuff like that. It seems to me to be a terrific idea. Teachers new to the school need to know what’s expected of them, what the appropriate thing to do here really is. And frankly, teachers not new to the school might out to have some guidelines, too – there’s some (IMHO) highly inappropriate classroom management going around. One of my neighbors locks his door at the bell, and if a kid – keep in mind, we’re talking high school here – is late, s/he has to sit out in the hall and miss 87 minutes of instruction. I didn’t tell the Dean that stuff, but I really made a strong case for creating a list of issue/consequence guidelines.

He didn’t respond.

Today I have a report from Monday’s sub that I had students leaving class without permission, roaming the halls, sitting on each other, and sleeping on my couch. I caught a student getting into my personal cabinet and suspect him of stealing supplies. I confiscated a note passed between two male students that consisted of a pornographic drawing of them having sex with a female student, her name labeled.

So what do I do? Is it a demeaning act of sexual harrassment, or is it just the eleventh grade equivalent of schoolboys drawing penises on their desktops? (I mean, I know what I think, but what does my school think?)

Sans requested guidelines, I’ve decided to email and ask him about each of these infractions, in the hopes that his direction on them will get me on the right page – and that maybe he’ll get a little irritated and realize that my list of guidelines is a good idea after all. After all, one of the things that we were taught was highly important about classroom management is that consequences be clear and consistent…


Entry filed under: BAD BEHAVIOR, NEW SCHOOL.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. OKP  |  December 9, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I’m sorry you’re having such a frustrating experience.

    For me, anything that 1) stops students from learning or 2) stops me from teaching in a significant way is referred. I try to handle most small issues ‘in house’ — that is, a verbal intervention in the moment and a private conversation afterwards, but anything that continues to be a problem leaves my room. It’s not fair to the other students, and while we might feel we’re trying to show patience and compassion, the other kids see it as a behavior that’s allowed, because the perpetrator isn’t getting into trouble.

    Your suggestion for a more consistent policy is a valid one. If your colleagues (maybe just a few at your grade level would be enough to establish the right atmosphere) or admin won’t help you, then you write up your expectations and your consequences and let the kids, parents, and admin know what you’ve established. Post it and enforce it.

    “leaving class without permission, roaming the halls, sitting on each other, and sleeping on my couch,” “getting into my personal cabinet” and “a pornographic drawing of them having sex with a female student, her name labeled” are ALL referral offenses. Concerned calls home, coupled with a consequence — absolutely.

    I wish you luck.

  • 2. Alycia  |  December 10, 2009 at 7:15 am

    Thanks for the post. You’ve given me some room for thought as I finish my final teaching prac. I’ve had issues this prac and all others about where to draw the line between sending kids to ‘isolation’ basically in-period detention in another class, and writing up a behaviour report card. I’ve resorted to using either, often, and usually first as a threat, because the behaviour is just so out of control. I worry though that I’m not using them correctly and not being taught too well either, so as I start at my next school, I’m going to question on certain behaviour and what to do, have my own guidelines per se.

  • 3. Dissertation Writing Services  |  December 21, 2010 at 6:31 am

    Wonderful to examine about the teachers kick kids out into the hall if they act up,also post is really amazing to read.


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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

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