A letter to the editor from a former NYC public school teacher who reports that the inmates are running the asylum:

I can recall a beginning teacher who crafted creative, fine lessons. But, classroom management was difficult for her and she could have used some administrative guidance and support in the handling of her class. One day, a second grader in her class slammed a closet door into her back and then ran away and laughed. She brought him to the principal, and later it was she who received a disciplinary letter! In the principal’s office, the child had been interviewed about the teacher’s performance and his misbehavior was blamed on the teacher’s weak behavior modification program. Flash forward to where students threw a chair out a window that hit a pregnant woman below. Did we not hear the question asked, “Why was the classroom door left open?” … It’s not uncommon for disruptive students to be given the third degree, behind closed doors, about a teacher’s behavior. And there’s not one scenario within a school for which the teacher cannot and will not be blamed….

When parents are called to school for a conference about an incident such as a fight, the principal and the parents will present a united front and turn the meeting into the teacher’s trial. The meeting concludes with the parent “writing the teacher up” and sometimes the students “write teachers up” as well…! Teachers learn to talk in ineffective soft tones rather than be accused of “yelling,” which is now considered corporal punishment! They learn to never physically intervene during a fight because they can and will be charged with assault.


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