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BOTD 02-28-2017 Substitute Teacher A Beaver Production

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Skater

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Bransom Postmaster
Substitute Teacher
A Beaver Production

You are the father of twelve-year old Jacob, who attends sixth grade of the local middle school. Jacob is a good kid, but prone to pull pranks and so is not unaccustomed to the sensation of a burning bottom. Your wife has used a wooden spoon for discipline since a couple of years, and you followed suit after you started feeling that a spanking left not only Jacob’s bottom, but also your hand quite sore as you had to deliver more spanks to leave an impression.

Jacob - 12
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Today, you received a call from the principal, informing you about an incident that happened in the history class. The class is being taught by a substitute teacher since the regular teacher is on sick leave. Her name is Ms. Pearson, a 56-year old woman, who in her younger days was active in the feminist movement and cares deeply about issues of social justice and the environment.

You recall a previous conversation with your son about that teacher, during which he joked about how incompetent she was and that nobody took her seriously. Her method to establish authority in the classroom is a chime, a kind of bell that she strikes to produce a calming sound, which is supposed to work as a sign for everybody to calm down. Unfortunately, teenage boys find this rather ridiculous, and so Mrs. Pearson is having a tough time.

Today was only the sixth time she taught in the class of your son. Or more precisely, was supposed to teach. After entering the classroom, Ms. Pearson realized that she forgot her materials, and so she excused herself to quickly fetch them. The principal informs you about the subsequent events: Apparently some of the boys in the class found it funny to move a cabinet to block entry to the classroom, effectively locking Ms. Pearson outside. And that is indeed what happened: After coming back with her materials, Ms. Pearson stood in front of a door that did not open anymore. Asking the students from outside to let her open the door, she was taunted by a horde of laughing boys. Ms. Pearson, unable to control the situation herself and starting to cry after begging the students to open it, rushed to the principal for help. The boys didn’t move the cabinet away in the meantime, so soon after a furious principal arrived together with Ms. Pearson at the scene of the crime, demanding entry.


Ms. Pearson
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The result of this prank is that the entire class has to serve  detention for the rest of the week, one hour before the start of regular classes. The principal further informs you that he has reason to believe that your son was one of the ringleaders instigating this prank, and while he won’t face any further consequences from the school given that this cannot be substantively established (Ms. Pearson gave an erratic testimony about what she heard from outside the classroom), he still wanted to inform you so that you could have a talk with your son making clear to him that this behavior is unacceptable.

How do you handle the situation?


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Y Lee Coyote

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Deputy
I have very serious doubts about Ms. Pearson qualifications.  She forgot her lesson material in her office when she went to teach a class.  She left the class unattended -- a major no-no for safety.  (Another teacher should have been told and two classroom doors kept open.  (and there should have been a second door.))  She apparent lacked any understanding/experience of middle schoolers and broke down like a trainee teacher.

All that said, Jacob is certainly not an innocent angel and needs a lot of talking to about proper, rational behavior and respect.

Y.

P.S.  If she hasn’t got the student respect (or fear) than she can not be an effective teacher at least in this school.

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jackson1


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Being a teacher of middle schoolers and looking like that is asking for it.

Whatever Ms. Pearson's deficiences as a substitute teacher this was mutiny and I would be having a chat/interrogation with Jacob regarding his involvement to establish whether it was active or passive. If the Principal's evaluation is corroborated then the wooden spoon will be deployed.

18Smacked

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Cowboy
Rule number one for any teacher when leaving a class for any reason is to notify another teacher that this is happening, and asking that other teacher to check on the class in his/her absence. This was not done here, and it is a major lapse on the part of Mrs. Pearson, who, just like the kids in the class, should be held accountable in a strict fashion of some sort.

I also need to make the rules of behavior clear to my son, and explain the standards to which I will hold him accountable. School is neither the time nor place for pranks. Once I have clearly defined the expected behavior to him, I will then make sure I hold him to this standard- or else.

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David M. Katz

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Marshall
I agree that Ms. Pearson is not a good match for kids this age. I will lodge a formal complaint with the principal but, for now, I need to deal with my son.

We are going to have a heart-to-heart. There has to be a good reason that Jacob is suspected of being the ring leader. I have a way of talking with my son and convincing him to tell the truth.

I detest whole class punishments.

If I find that Jacob is innocent then I will protest the detention sessions.

If I find he is guilty, and, frankly, I think he is, then the entire class should not be punished for his actions. I will suggest that Jacob has a week's worth of detentions to serve but it would appear that the other students should be let off.

This is a serious issue even though it was exacerbated by Ms. Pearson. Considering the seriousness of the issue and considering that Jacob did not fess up when he saw his whole class in trouble means that the spoon is coming out for a deluxe spanking.


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squarecutter

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Sherrif
While I also deplore whole class punishments it does appear that this time most of the class were involved so I understand the Principals reaction. If a teacher couldnt shift the obstacle then I suspect it took at least more than a couple of middle schoolers to put it in place and then there was the mass taunting. I will also talk to Jacob. If he led this I will paddle him. If he participated in the noise coming from the classroom or the moving of the furniture his detention will stand. It does seem to me that while this lady may not be up to teaching middle school this does NOT justify the behaviour and some punishment is earned, Jacob has some explaining to do

ivor

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Marshall
Thought I had posted a reply earlier, but it seems to have vanished in the ether

However, I see Square has basically said everything I intended to say.

He can't have acted on his own based on the scenario so a whole class punishment seems perfectly logical.

I will talk to him about the incident and if he happens to say it was his idea then a spanking from me will follow.

As for Mrs P, if she is only substituting for a day or two there ought not be a problem, but she may well not be up to a long term position

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MemoryMan

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Sherrif
We'll have a talk about following the mob but since the school has already dealt with the issue and Jacob is not normally subject to double jeopardy I would need more than a woolly "reason to believe" assertion to single him out for extra punishment.

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Jack

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Admin
"The principal believes that you are one of the people who barricaded the door, and he thinks you might have been one of the prime instigators. Why would he think those things?"

If there was proof of these instigations, I would wear Jacob out. However, if there was proof, I think the principal would have done more to him.

I'm going to ask point out how the innocent people in the class feel about being punished, and I'm going to ask him what should happen to boys that got their classmates in trouble, then didn't accept the blame. Then I'll ask him if he qualifies. If he's honest and was involved as the principal thinks, he will be getting some added punishment, but, because he owned up to it by then, it won't be excessive.


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Beaver

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Wrangler
Thanks for all the answers and to David for picking the picture of Ms. Pearson. It is certainly a very fitting one. Smile
It seems that most here believe she is not a good fit for a class room. In my experience, many people who work as teachers are quite inept at their job. One reason is that people are drawn to this profession because they don't feel tough enough for the business world and see working with kids as an escape route. Or they might prefer the large number of holidays and the working hours, which make it easier to raise a family while having a job at the same time. What I am saying is that many people who become teachers do so on grounds that have nothing to do with a love for teaching. They are often woefully unprepared when facing reality.

While this is a fictional account and Ms. Pearson does not exist, the BOTD is based on a childhood experience of mine: when I was in sixth or seventh grade, my classmates did block the classroom entrance by moving a cabinet, and the teacher - who really had a chime to calm students down - indeed lost it. I remember this quite well because I found the collective detention very unfair at the time, given that I didn't play a part in this prank, except for laughing hysterically as the events unfolded.

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Jack

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Admin
Considering how many people on this board are teachers, I think I'd be careful with using the word 'many'. On the other hand, I won't argue that it's totally unfair, except that you limit it to teachers. I've dealt with inept people in many fields. I think the problem is that teachers tend to have less direct supervision than many other jobs, so it might be harder to tell when one isn't performing to standards.

Substitutes, on the other hand, are a complete different argument. It seems to me that, for every competent, experienced person who just doesn't want (or isn't able) to teach full time, you have a dingbat who's just trying to pick up some extra money. Like Beaver, I also had a female substitute teacher - I personally liked her, but she wasn't assertive, and she had to run boys' choir. A room full of 12 to 14 year olds boys with a non-assertive teacher? It was worse, because some of the more unruly kids had brought rubber bands. We ended up strip searched in the gym, and I think six boys got paddled that day. While one of them swore he was innocent (I think he provided, but didn't shoot, the rubber bands), it seems much better to me than a mass punishment. Of course, I was pretty happy with the scenery that day.


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