Order of Phoenix

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 14 2009

Part II of the Missing Chocolate Bar

This has perhaps been the most exhausting week of teaching yet. This post will be the short story to save time and to save myself from reliving this week.

Tuesday: Ernie’s mom admitted (unbeknownst to her) that Ernie stole the chocolate bar. Her defense was that Ernie said Timothy did it…even though Ernie had it in his backpack.

Wednesday: Day off.

Thursday: Ernie served detention for punching the kid in the face Monday. I found out both Ernie and Timothy stole part of the chocolate bar. Their moms (admitting they saw the chocolate bar in their son’s backpack) responded with quips like, “Well, he only took part of it.” “Why did you have it out in the classroom?” “But he doesn’t like chocolate.” “Why should he have to write you a letter of apology?”
Ernie’s mom came by my room after school-with Ernie and his aunt-to pick up the homework Ernie managed to leave behind, despite the special note I write for him and his mom every day outlining his homework and other issues. Rather than thank me for letting them in hours after the school day ended or for gathering up his homework and the extra attention he gets…rather than focus on what our/her plan will be for working on his fighting and now stealing rap sheet…she said she wanted to talk to me about how I embarrassed Ernie (by this time, the vice principal was in on the conversation): “When he asked for a pencil, you told him to look on the floor. Instead of saying, ‘Look on the floor,’ (she did an impression of me), I try to explain to my kids why I’m having them do something. You should have said, ‘Look on the floor because there is a pencil there.’”
She set a very good example for what you should do if you receive a consequence for hitting and stealing: complain about something the teacher said, and then your mom will change topics completely.

Friday: Timothy strolls into class late, demanding his report card. “Why, Timothy?” “I’m moving schools.” “WHY, TIMOTHY?” “Because I’m always getting the bad hand. This happened to me in 1st and 2nd grade.” Another fine example of parents setting clear messages about the lack of connection between actions and consequences.
After a melt-down Thursday, I realized that it was not in my best interest nor my class’ best interesting to give Ernie so much attention. Friday, I next to ignored the kid to keep my sanity. I couldn’t even look at him. It is not fair that he takes up so much of my time, while the students who want to learn, try to learn, suffer because of it. Education is a two way street. If and when Ernie realizes that, he is welcome to join us.

I am a completely different person than I was last year in terms of how I feel about my class culture, how I feel about going to school. Last year, I looked forward to greeting my class. Now, I do not want to see them. Hopefully with my new view of who gets my attention, this will change.

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    “The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite; revive from ashes and rise.” -Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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