Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bad Day

Yesterday was, to say the least, a bad day.  First of all, I caught some students cheating quite blatantly.  Our student handbook has a very specific punishment for a cheating offense.  When I took the issue to my principal and expected that he would back me up on the issue, he instead informed me that it was my fault because apparently I am unable to keep control in my class.  This is a man, who refuses to back up his teachers and each time we take him an issue, he turns it around on us.  It is never the student fault, it is always the fault of the teacher.  We do what we can to control our classes.  I try to create a good learning environment. Similar to this blog, my classroom is a fun (sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes very serious) approach to education.  Apparently, I am unable to tell a joke in the classroom, or attempt to make the subjects I teach fun and interesting because it leads to the students not understanding that cheating is wrong. How, I do not know?

Instead of the principal backing me, I felt like I was thrown under a bus.  I was berated by him for over an hour, part of that in front of students, making me look like a fool.  To say that I am furious, is an understatement.  I have attempted to address the problem with academic dishonesty with him in the past and been rebuffed.  I guess, I should not have expected more from him, though I did.  Instead of being a teacher who is attempting to make the school a better place, I feel like a scolded child.  The children feel triumphant because they are not going to have to deal with the full punishment that is accorded to them.  Why can't people understand the value of an education?  Cheating is wrong; end of story, or at least it should be the end of it.  I was proved wrong about that yesterday.

I can only hope that this principal will only be at our school for the rest of the year at the most, and we can truly have a fresh start next year.

Sorry about the bitching.  Thank you for reading.

13 comments:

Writer said...

I'm sorry that it was a bad day. I just left a fairly unsupportive job situation. Well, it seemed supportive until the chips were down and it became quite clear that as long as the owner's made their money, the employees could starve.

I hope it gets better. Hugs.

silvereagle said...

We all need a place to vent, to sound off, to get it off our chest....and feel free to do so here, JoeBlow....Not everyone is a leader, and it is apparent that your 'leader' is no leader for sure...either for the faculty or the students.

Chris said...

Wow, I've been there.

I taught at a university two years ago (over here in Europe), and caught a student shamelessly plagiarising his term paper. I was a TA and took it to the head of the department, and even though I didn't get the flak you did, it was made clear that if I wanted to follow the protocol (which allows for the student to get expelled), I would have to do it myself, personally, without the department or the school backing me up. The student in question happened to be a drug addict and had had a history of being confrontational. Now, I am a 5'4'' woman and was a junior member of the teaching staff. I was made to choose between my personal safety and my academic integrity. Can you say, demeaning? I chose the first and am still angry at the department, even though I don't work there anymore.

Just thought I would let you know I feel for you. I hope your situation works out.

Mike said...

It bothers me that so many administrators - some that I've worked with and known- side with the students, and it is the staff that is the problem in their eyes. It hurts morale. I would have at least been on the phone with their parents making them aware.

Anonymous said...

You have my support. I was a high school teacher for five years and I have taught at university too.

RobFather-X said...

I’ve never taught school but when I was in the Navy, I facilitated many training classes. Trust me, cheating is NEVER tolerated in ANY form in the military either! Now, as a retired veteran and a college student trying to earn his second degree, I have witnessed a few students - far younger than me- cheating on exams! The college/university policy is quite clear; signs are posted in nearly every hall and classroom about cheating and yet there are still students willing to push the envelope! Instead of publicly “calling out” the cheating students on their behavior, I chose instead to take the matter directly to the professor/instructor after class. I don’t know if the professor took any action or not. I doubt it. It seems to me that there are some professors who’d rather let things be than take adverse action on such things, regardless of policy. In one, very tiny sense, I could care less if a student cheats because he/she is only hurting themselves; yet in the bigger sense, it really bothers me because I, like so many other HONEST students, take time to struggle and learn the material and prepare for exams. I take exams as a PERSONAL challenge to myself to determine whether or not I am actually learning anything in the class (or from the person teaching it) I am taking or have been required to take, ESPECIALLY if I am PAYING for said class! I fail to understand why other students don’t feel this way. Apparently, the PARENTS of cheating students have not instilled in their kids nor have they ENFORCED the value of an EARNED education on ALL levels of the academic spectrum! And we wonder why America falls so far behind in par with other nations on the education level! Anyway, your principal, like so many others of his ilk, would rather berate, embarrass, and demean, (if not outright terminate) good, caring teachers, than put to risk the reputation of his leadership and that of the school by raising a fuss and having to answer to the parents of cheating students. You have to keep doing what you do and not lower your standards regardless of the principal’s lack of support. Plus, the principal has a boss. Perhaps it’s time you and other teachers in your similar situation, to take up such issues with that person. Be well. ~ RobFather

Max Journals said...

You need to go to the school board and or write an article to your local newspaper.

tamayn said...

As all of these cases demonstrate the great disservice that this principal is doing to their students. What's going to happen when this comes back to haunt them in the real world? They won't have the principal to rescue them.

fan of casey said...

Joe: It's not your fault. Kids will find a way to cheat and moreso the lack of consequences embolden them. Your principal is setting a terrible example.

Your principal is also just taking the easy way out -- he can pull rank on you vs. having to deal with multiple students and their complaining parents. The problem also is parents have become advocates for their kids instead of teaching them responsibility and holding them accountable for their actions.

It is incredible frustrating and unfair but remember this teaching job is merely a stepping stone to better things in your career.

Jay M. said...

What a beast. But it happens everywhere. I saw it at the high school I worked at for five years. A principal that would ALWAYS take the easy way (ie, non-confrontational) way out. It made me soooo damn mad.

Peace <3
Jay

brotherdoc said...

Joe--I second what Max said above. No principal should berate a teacher in front of students for any reason esp. when he has no way of knowing the circumstances under which the infraction occurred. Perhaps you should make a written summation of the whole situation from your perspective and insist some other figure read it, a vice-principal or school board member or PTSA officer. If there's hope this fellow will be gone at the end of the school year, all the more reason this goes into your files. Good luck and you have every right to be pissed.

Dean said...

Joe, you're in a tough situation. Since we know you to be a truly upright citizen, it's your duty to connect with each of the parents and make them understand why they need to take the bull by the horns and teach their kids why it is wrong to cheat. If your school has a clear-cut policy on cheating, your pricipal has no business holding his job if he won't enforce the rule.

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

I know the feeling... Been through a lot of like this... :-(

Cheer up Sir!... Have a gat weekend ahead...

JJRod'z