In my year end evaluation, my evaluator noted my high number of student referrals and high number of student removals. His observation is accurate, but I had to qualify those numbers. In contrast to my previous five years of teaching, this year's numbers were an outlier. Until this year, I could always count the combination of student referrals and student removals on just over one hand. But this year's implementation of Corrective Reading brought my numbers up. I had students refusing to cooperate and trying to derail the class nearly every period of every day for the first month.
Very few of my referrals or removals ended up with students receiving much discipline--a morning detention and the occasional in-school-suspension. However, I find the Washington Post's recent account of Jeffery Parker's
handling of discipline in Prince George's (D.C.) Gholson Middle School fascinating.
For those on the outside who don't walk the hallways of many troubled schools, student discipline can be addressed through conversations and phone calls home. But for those on the inside, the problems are much more complex.
Being cussed out is a regular happening in our halls, especially by students wandering the halls who will then refuse to give their name. Our only recourse is to sit at one of the few archaic computers which house the student photos--except those photos often have the wrong names under the student faces. I just don't have that type of time.
In-school-suspension isn't much of a deterrent anyway. There the students listen to their iPods, play their PSP's, and even there, continue to escape to wander the hallways.
Some would say that it's the teacher's fault. That if our content were relevant and our analogies culturally responsive then these discipline problems fade away. I can't believe that. What is needed is a system wide overhaul. But I don't know how to do that.
Let's assume we overhauled the system, that our teachers were relevant and responsive but the students still didn't care? What do we do with a student who refuses to comply? What do we do with a student who continues to disrespect?
Ultimately, I want to see a school like the one I'm at successfuly educate students so that discipline really isn't a major issue--because we all know discipline will always be an issue; I just want it to be a lesser one.