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OT - My 5th year as a teacher in a high needs public school

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

(Insert sarcastic speech about how teachers are some of the most important people in a child's life)

Recapping, I teach 8th grade math, in the neighborhood. Literally. The school is surrounded by townhouses and apartment complexes. 

The kids are out of control. They've overtaken the building, and do as the please. The hallways are forever populated with kids making out between lockers, kids fighting, or kids that just don't feel like being in class. Having a mushy gushy building principal who believes that compassion, and not consequences, brought this on our heads. At least other years were somewhat manageable.

Teachers, for the most part, stopped documenting behaviors and lates. It would get sent upwards, and then the kids would come back with a smile on their face and a kind (ain't nothin' gonna happen) comment when they return to class. Calling parents has resulted in (in my case) 2 parents who have tried to storm the building because I told them that (their baby) did something wrong. (Our resource officer tased their asses into the ground both times - I get along with that guy.)

It's a complete and total clownshow, and historically, I've always been able to compartmentalize stress. I still can - outwardly I'm the type that is impossible to be worked up. On the inside, I began to have pretty bad memory loss - and I started to have heart palpatations - high blood pressure. I'm 31, a guy, and I'm not overweight.

I finally went to a doctor, and he put me on blood pressure meds, and prescribed me xanax. There's a history of anxiety in my family, so I was able to tell them that everyone has been allergic to (zoloft-like meds). I'm totally done, there's no hope left in public education (at least not near any kind of city area). I shutter to think of what this generation is going to try to do to us in our older age, because they're going to be so useless that there's no way that they are going to be productive.

This of course doesn't apply to all students. I still love, and pour my heart and soul into the 25% who still come to learn and better themselves. Most days now, like today, I come to work - pop a xanax - and float through the whole day. Then I go home and deal with the stepkid - LOL.

advice.only2's picture

It sounds like between this and the stress you have at home you need to talk to somebody before you break...that won't do your daughter or soon to be baby any good.

Step life is stressful and it can creep over into your professional life as well. I spent years being nervous, upset and thinking it was mostly my job, when actually it was my home life affecting my job.

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

I do talk to my psychiatrist. I was referred by my counselor. I never thought that I'd need medication to manage stress though.

ChzyBob20's picture

Can you transfer to a much better school or school system? What you're describing is more insane asylum than school wtf?!

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

Teachers can not transfer mid-year. They'll take away your certification and you won't be able to teach for several years.

They trap you.

ChzyBob20's picture

Whoa. I had no idea. D: 

Stay the course and start sniffin'. Is there any way to report the kumbaya bullsh!t Principal and get him/her impeached or something? Lmao.

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

I actually contacted the local newspaper once and asked if they wanted to collab. 

They basically said it's old news.

ChzyBob20's picture

Schoolboard?! Surely, there is some system in place to address shoddy school principals?!

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

It's across the board here. When you file a complaint with the union, the uniserv directors just send a near-automated e-mail back saying that the principals are doing what they have a right to choose to do.

Then you get retaliated upon for speaking up.

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

You can highly doubt whatever you want. I could easily prove it with a 5 second video of the hallways, or even by the discipline files of students. Both of which would result in charges being pressed on me.

What's going on here (near DC) is not isolated here. It's most-if not all of the public city schools. 

GrabitAndGo's picture

What I meant was I doubt anyone's teaching certificate would be revoked for wanting to transfer schools.  My mother was a public school teacher for 40+ years.  I've never heard of a certificate revocation for wanting to teach elsewhere.

I have no doubt at all the students border on feral.  I completely believe that.

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

You sign a letter of intent in April, and then a contract in August that locks you to a position and a building. The only transfer that I've ever seen happen mid-year was an involuntary one for a teacher who was assaulted a student - and assaulted them back. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I've worked in a problem school system and i beieve you. I've seen it. 

Aniki's picture

A friend of mine's wife makes BIG money as a teacher. It is actually considered a type of Hazard Pay because the school is so dangerous. Metal detectors and armed security have not stopped those kids. She's been hit, spit on, had guns pulled on her, had her tires slashed... all on school grounds.

Jcksjj's picture

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Steptotheright's picture

This generation is going to lean on our generation and be dependent on our generation until we die. After that, extinction of the human race.

I agree with you this generation is the worst. Lazy, self entitled, backtalking, disrespectful to parents, heedless, Godless, short attention span, social media crazed so their sense of self-worth is dependent upon superficial reasons...

Civilization is doomed

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

Oh, I think it'll be survivable. Even public schools in more rural areas are amazing. I student taught in that environment. Night and day. The city public  districts will be heavily reliant on the private school + rural district kids. I predict that reliance on government programs is going to rise exponentially by the time these kids hit adulthood. Politics will change, and I hope I'm retired by the time they're pulling 70% of our earnings to support what's currently deemed acceptable in city areas.

Steptotheright's picture

I'm about to be 39 and I thought MY generation was bad. Smh. These tweens and teenagers are just so lost. In rural areas there's more resources per capita and more morals per capita. But the population of the city areas dwarfs the population of the rural areas. How will the few well adjusted of this generation support the majority of dropouts and failures.

Objectively speaking, I just can't see how it will work. My household being a microcosm of society, I'm looking dead in the eye at about 3 dropouts. 1 current, two future. They will siphon the life out of me and SO, until we have nothing left to give. Our household will eventually crumble and be dispersed to the winds like a dilapidated building in a category 5 hurricane.

The only thing that would keep it going is the parents. But what will they have once their parents are dead and gone? Nothing.

somethingwicked's picture

OMG.I hope you can get out of that hellhole..find another school to teach. NOT worth your long term heath.

I live in a very rural area with a mixed socio-economic picture across all classes.And the schools are excellent having won state and national awards ,the kids are well behaved. Don't know how you deal with this mess. Good luck to you.

 

 

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

The problem doesn't lie with poverty. You realize that after awhile. In rural areas, more often than urban, even poor parents teach values.

The problem lies with kids who raised themselves because their useless parents decided that going to the club was more important than raising a child.

I, and this is no lie, once had 3 kids from different mothers - and the same father - all in the same year.

ndc's picture

I have to agree with you that the problem isn't solely poverty.  We live in a rural school district where a very high percentage of kids get free lunch and our district (even the high school) doesn't have these problems.  Sure, there are bad eggs, but it's individuals, not everyone.  I'm still in touch with some of my high school teachers in the affluent suburban district where I attended school, and it's the same there - there are individual problem kids (and more problems with drugs in the affluent area than in my current rural area), but by and large students are well behaved and many are high achieving.

You need to get out of that district at the end of the school year and find another place to teach where you won't be under so much stress.  Burnt out, unhappy teachers don't do anyone any good, and it's obviously bad for your health.  I hope there are other opportunities in your area.

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

And that's just it! A few bad eggs does not ruin the bunch, but there's a point break as far as how many bad eggs it takes to kick in the mob mentality.

somethingwicked's picture

I did not deduce from your description of the school  where you  are presently employed as a "poor" district.Actually as you describe the area as somewhat residential with townhouses and apartments I gauged as solidly middle class.

Where I live there are all economic  class denominations  poor to wealthy but mostly middle working class;and we pay school high property taxes but this is not known as a wealthy area ~ it is a destiny /vacation locale.

BUT there are less transient  type family paradigms. And there exists  many safety nets to help support single parents  or grandparents raisng their grand children with baby sitter or after school programs deeply discounted or free while the parent /grands works.  Most are funded through state and private non for profit  groups and various church/synagogues as well. 

Family and societal values and self respect are learned by the very first teachers ..parents and family ,totally agree.But those lessons are not exclusive  to rural .It depends upon so many factors. The idea of self worth and respect is  what is missing in our overall society as kids are raised by fractured family and influenced by negative self and social media memes via all the social platforms available to and at  every age without any interpretation ,explanation or warning~  and their  young peers have even a greater hold at a much younger age.

I have no answers for society's seemingly rapid demise for all things genteel, law abiding or for the institutions and lack of respect towards those who represent  them .I don't think it is a simple fix but would require so many disciplines working together to eradicate the growing problems.

I only hope YOU can escape before the stress  or some nut job kid with a psycho agenda and a gun kills you.

SO not worth your life.

nengooseus's picture

That kids aren't learning to think about anyone other than themselves anymore, which makes them hostile and entitled and obnoxious.  Heck!  We see it everyday in the discussion of SKs.  No one has taught them how to behave with people, no one has taught them manners or good hygeine, empathy is scarce.  These are the same kids that run through school halls everyday, and I don't know how anyone puts up with it.

I look at my SKs.  They're 15 and 10.  I've known them both for their whole lives.  SD15 can't manage to turn in her schoolwork and chitterchatters her way through class.  She has an excuse for everything.  Nothing is her fault.  SS10 is the same way.  BM has been looking for someone to diagnose him with ADHD for years to excuse his total lack of socials skills instead of just teaching him social skills (which she really doesn't have, either...).  Punishments for bad behavior--like when SS10 threatened to MURDER a classmate--are brief and unremarkable.  I believe the threat resulted in a "talking to" from BM and even the school didn't do much, even after learning that SS lied to the principal about the incident.  Certainly no lesson is learned other than that you can do whatever you want without repercussion.

My bio-DD14 has been taught from the beginning that bad behavior has consequences.  She's been taught to respect other people, not because they earned it but because we respect people.  She's been taught that honesty and directness (and tact) are critical skills that frankly make dealing with people WAY harder than they need to be, but you still have to do it.  She's been taught that you do your best because that's what we do.  I've literally handicapped her for dealing in the world with decent morals, ethics, and a true sense of accountability.  

We're suburban, and DD's school is a special magnet public school that still has a neighborhood component.  I love that her school and principal have taken on character development as a priority.  It gives me hope for the future.  But I know her school and principal are rare and special.  OP, I hope that you can find a way out for yourself.  School or home, maybe both.  This is no way to live.

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

Your stepkids represent a majority of the population here. I'm actualy in between classes on replies.

The murder threat comment got me. That stuff happens pretty consistently without consequences.

THE BIG ONE recently is when they caught a kid dealing pills in the bathroom, and the resource officer said quote "I called the state's attorney to press charges, and he said that because of the "school to prison pipeline banter going on politically", that he would not press charges on a student dealing drugs in school. They did confiscate his drugs, but that's it.

My jaw about broke when it hit the floor. The drug dealer is in my class walking in right now.

Iamwoman's picture

You're 31? I'm 40. I spent 14 years as a public school teacher.

What you are seeing is not something new, nor is it something specific to iGen.

In fact, back when I taught millenials, I experienced much of the same that you do and waaayyy more. I have PTSD from teaching and would bet you do too.

You want to know how iGen will fare as adults? Well, look around at your own generation. I used to think the same thing about you guys.

All in all though, I Gen is actually predicted to do much better in the workforce than millennials as a whole.

At a title one school, you are seeing the worst of the worst. That doesn't speak for the whole generation.

Take care of you though. Sounds like it may be time for a career change.

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

A career change? I don't think so.

I've taken my lashes at this point, I'm hoping that my experience and ratings here carry weight in new applications in the nicer/more rural districts.

Rags's picture

Nothing going back to the future of the principal and coaches roaming the halls with paddles over their shoulders and enforcing the rules wouldn't quickly fix.

Tazing  violent toxic pelvic projectiles who attempt to assault teachers and continuing to hit the sizzle switch until the police show up to haul them off in hand cuffs would go a long way to resolving the environmental issues that breed these young idiots.  Frying their parents when they show up to bow up on teachers for failing an underperforming student or applying appropriate punishments for inappropriate behaviors would also send an appropriate message.

I for one would  be supportive of teachers training and being CWP holders.

The good news is that even with the insane frequency of violent ill behaved young societal write offs, they represent a relatively small % of students.  The good kids should not be forced to suffer the presence of these toxic progeny of failed parents.