Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Disciplined for Disciplining

A few weeks ago, one of my classes was really acting up. Their task for that particular class period was to write a response, in class, to a service assignment they had been given previously. I repeatedly asked them to be quiet, only to have them continue to chatter. After telling the the same information repeatedly because of the continued talking, I informed the class that no, they were not allowed to submit the assignment late in this particular case because of my having to repeat myself, sharing the same information multiple times, information that would have not had been necessary to repeat had they been listening. Students were having trouble finishing on time because they weren't focusing on the work that they would have had enough time to do if they were to just write. (Since then, the majority of students have not had trouble finishing similar assignments in one class period. Those who need more time, of which there have been very few, have come to ask if they could hand in the work late.)

I should note that, if not a district policy, it is a school policy to allow students to hand in each quarter's work until the last day of that quarter. I've been accepting work since my first day as a substitute teacher; this one instance in this one class was the only instance in which I would not allow late work to be submitted (obviously, if a student were absent, or if there were other extenuating circumstances, the situation would change).

Today I was pulled aside by the principal (very nice woman that she is) about this. Apparently the student had complained to his or her parent, who then called the counseling office. I explained the situation to the principal as best as I could remember at the time, but I was still a bet nettled (although that may be too strong a word). The principal did not know which student had complained; she had been approached by the counselor who had been called by the parent. Clearly the student must have noticed by now that I'm constantly accepting late work, so I'm not really sure what the issue is. Perhaps the student didn't understand why I was upset, or thought I overreacted, or wanted to cause trouble for the sub; perhaps the student didn't explain the situation well to the parent, who thought I would no longer accept late work. (I'm really not a fan of accepting late work willy nilly, but I'm only here at this school a short time, and now is not the time to fight this battle.)

The principal didn't seem too upset by the situation, thanked me for doing a good job and working hard, etc.; she said she'd pass on the message to the counselor, so I'm not sure anything else will come of it. If anything, the student will be encouraged to come talk to me about the situation, but I'm not expecting anything more severe than that.

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