Letters: The life of a teacher
The teaching profession is not only under siege, it is also underappreciated. Teachers are too often second-guessed and shortchanged by administrators who do not always have their best interests at heart.
The incident at Santa Monica High School involving a teacher who evidently had to resort to physical force to restrain an unruly 18-year-old student brings into sharp focus the ambivalence of a school district when conflict arises in the classroom. As usual, the benefit of the doubt is given to the student, even though police arrested him.
Meanwhile, the teacher, who exercised his rights to discipline and self-defense, remains on administrative leave pending the outcome of the district’s investigation. The student is now charged with, among other things, violence against a school employee. The teacher has not been charged. So do the right thing and reinstate him.
Apparently we are in the middle of a cultural change, according to one teacher quoted in the article.
I would call it a behavioral change. “Culture” is too noble a word in this case. The 21st century has ushered in an era of unprecedented superiority for students at all levels of education. Countless hapless teachers are told to take a leave.
Nevertheless, there is a silver lining to every cloud because there are still optimistic young people who are eager to enter this profession.
Sandy Banks could not have been more on point.
This past Friday I retired from the Los Angeles Unified School District. I taught physical education for more than 36 years.
All my teaching experiences were in very challenging environments. With some classes having more then 60 students, classroom management was of utmost importance. When I did call for school security, students inevitably went right back to class with no consequences for their misbehavior.
Throughout my career, I was not given the support that I needed to do my job. As a result, my only viable option was to retire a year earlier then I planned.
Teaching has definitely become a profession under siege.
Banks addresses a topic that has been largely ignored by school administrators.
There are times when immediate action must be taken by teachers; should one wait to protect others or risk losing a class period of instruction while cowering? Dealing with disruptive students takes up a large portion of a teacher’s time. Put the blame where it belongs: on classroom hijackers.
Parents no longer accept that their child is a problem, and few schools take meaningful action. The first time bad conduct is reported, parents ought to be notified. It should not take long before a pattern is noted, including how the parents react.
Suspension isn’t the answer, but well-kept records provide evidence.
A cure for the common opinion
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