A Phillie Teacher

I was a starry-eyed teacher from New Jersey. Now I work for Philadelphia Public Schools.

I’m Tired of Fighting

Posted by aphillieteacher on February 13, 2011

Fighting the good fight

Why must everything be a fight?

Battle #1 Before any lesson can start, I must battle students who are out of uniform, wearing a hoodie and/or carrying electronics.

Supposedly they don’t get into the building with that stuff, but all of us (especially the kids) know better. The people at the door with the metal detector don’t do their job.

In reaction to the situation which she let go on for the first half of the year, our Fearless Principal put out a bulletin warning the teachers that if a student was seen in class wearing any of the above items, the teacher would be written up.

Get where this is going? it is the teacher’s fault that

1 the student disobeys the rules and
2. administration didn’t take care of their end of things

So before I even begin a class I have a fight at the door. Some kids push right past me, others put up a long, drawn out debate asking why do I care, others just walk away and I put them down for cutting.

Battle #2Administration hates us and every week we have a new set of imperative directives that should have been implemented yesterday.

It’s an never-ending game of “gotcha.” Informal walk throughs have now expanded into mandatory daily check lists for Junior teachers.

Friday I got caught. For some unknown reason I was distracted (probably by an argument at the door) and forgot to update my objectives on the board. Students wearing all kinds of hoodies, etc were in the classroom because they pushed past me or took the hoodie out of their book bag and put it on *after* coming into the room.

Guess what? yup. Walk-through time. Haven’t seen the hateful write-up yet, but I’m sure it will be a doozy.

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3 Responses to “I’m Tired of Fighting”

  1. Why must urban education be like this? If you fail to update your objective, how does that impact your instruction? I know everyone of your frustrations. They are the same here. And to be honest NONE of it impacts instruction. Students stylize their “uniforms” in various ways, so in the end its less of uniform. Why do we have to worry about it? It has not changed or benefited the learning environment.

    I’m tired of it, too and if I can find another job, I am finished. Another good teacher biting the dust.

    I bet we have so much in common we could spend hours trading war stories.

  2. Shall remain nameless said

    That’s what really got me — the incessant battling, the never having anything that stayed fixed if you weren’t on top of it every single minute. And you can either be on top of everything every single minute or you can take a moment or two out and actually, you know, teach.

    I did an interview/taught a lesson at a private school in my area. I realized how skewed my perceptions were when I was AMAZED to see 60-80 kids in a cafeteria just eating. Talking and eating. There was no yelling from (or at) the kids. They just got their food and ate and stood up when they needed something and they got it and sat back down. I felt like an idiot staring at this sight as though I were seeing flying rainbow ponies.

    In the hallways, again, there was no yelling, no shoving, no slamming of anything. Kids said hi pleasantly to their teachers as they passed by and the worst behavior was some almost running on the way to lunch.

    Teaching was totally odd, because while I had the adrenaline of being nervous doing a lesson in front of several adults and unknown children, it didn’t have the same drama that I was used to for every lesson — the “fights” at the door, the constant fear that something unusual and likely violent or totally lesson killing would occur at any moment.

    There was even a joke made, everyone laughed…and it didn’t take 10 minutes to get back to the lesson!

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