A tough year

After a year at Indianapolis’ worst middle school, Jeffery White, the new principal, has kept students from roaming the halls, but hasn’t made much academic progress, reports the Indy Star.

Magnet coordinator Lauren Franklin tried to help Debora Searfoss teach students how to use computers to research science questions.

One boy faked the sound of passing gas, and another stuck his tongue out, mocking Franklin. A tall 15-year-old in the back row danced in his seat, snapping his fingers and gyrating. Another boy spit across the room.

The tall boy belched loudly as Franklin approached.

“Ewww,” she groaned.

“I said excuse me,” he said.

A boy began honking as Franklin demonstrated how to draw tables of sources for flash cards on the computer. Searfoss escorted a boy out of the room, and he suggested she perform a lewd act on him. Classmates giggled.

Some teachers are able to motivate students to pay attention and do the work. Most struggle. Teacher absenteeism is high, despite White’s offer of Starbucks cards to teachers with perfect attendance.

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  1. Miller Smith says:

    The admin at this school is not doing anything to stop the behavior of this type as they are told by their bosses to keep the suspension rate down. The admin ignors and/or refuses to help teachers with bad behaving students on purpose! All so the stats look better.

    You want me to show up at my job most of the time? Take your Starbucks card and (place dark place referrence here)! You make my workplace a nice place to work and help me stop the bad behavior.

    Notice that stopping bad behavior was not even offered as a option?

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Frisco tried that and in-school crime doubled. Why do we expect children to learn when educators won’t.

  3. Jason Bontrager says:

    Either bring back corporal punishment or abandon the idea of warehousing problem teens. Let them drop out and dig ditches (or go to prison) for a few years. Keeping them in the system is ultimately harmful both to them and to the other students who, presumably, could actually benefit from an education.

    Of course that will mean hurting their tender feelings…

  4. It happens mabye once every three years. A student who doesn’t know me simulates the sound of passing gas and then laughs and then the whole class laughs with him.

    I laugh too. And then I sit next to the student and I make the sound too and laugh. And eveybody laughs louder. And then I do it again and again and again and again and again, about 12 inches from the student. I make the sound and I laugh and after maybe the 20th time, the student’s smile has faded into a worried look. Maybe his teacher has lost his mind.

    When the student stops making the sound, I beg him to do it again. But he won’t. So I go on making the sound without him.

    I go on and on about how his parents must be proud of him for having such remarkable talent. Maybe he learned how to do it from his father? Maybe this is how they entertain themselves after dinner every night? And then I pretend to be the father and I make the noise and so on.

    Out of the corner of my eye I see some of the other students with worried looks on their faces. Maybe they should call the office? Mr. Wright has lost it and he might be dangerous.

    Sometimes it takes five minutes. Sometimes 20. But the point is reached where the student is near tears. I ask for the wonderful sound one more time, the student shakes his head, and I resume my lesson as if nothing has happened.

    I don’t get angry at all. I just do a lot of in-your-face laughing. And, of course, the sound.

    Is this cruel? Maybe. Would I be justified in getting fired for unprofessonal conduct? Maybe. I don’t know. But I do know that I never hear the sound again–unless, of course, he happens to be authentic.

  5. Robert,

    I wonder if this method would help stop 2nd graders from picking their noses and eating it?

    But then again, I’d have to sit next to them and eat my boogers to make the point. Ewwwww!

  6. Mike, I expect a lot out of teachers, but not that!