So, I finally got a teaching job. Finally. In a really big district (this district has more employees than my last town had citizens).
I’m teaching middle school in a slightly-scary part of town. There are metal detectors rolled up to the doors in the morning that all the students have to pass through.
Well, except for the part where they don’t really watch too carefully which door the students come through. If they come through the cafeteria (they’re not supposed to, but hey, it’s not locked), there’s no metal detector.
Also, I’ve noticed that the students put their backpacks on a table beside the detector as they walk through. Security probably got that idea from the airport. You know, except for the part where there’s a moving belt and an x-ray machine. Mostly the security guards pat the backpacks and then hand them over to the students. Because no student would actually pack a weapon in a backpack in such a way that it couldn’t be felt in a casual pat-pat-pat manner.
Then there’s the new fad among the student, to go out and buy a honking big METAL belt buckle with letters spelling something. So, now the many of the students walk through the metal dectector, set it off, receive their backpack, and go their merry way. Because no student wearing a big ass tacky belt buckle would ever consider carrying any other metallic item that might be used as a weapon.
While we’re at it, why don’t we just leave all the obscene grafitti on the bathroom stalls and never fix the soap dispenser so the “cruise ship” virus that’s making the rounds can take us all out.
Anyone want to take bets on how long I’m going to last?
Good God and Good Luck, you’re a better person than me if you last out the year.
Sounds scary, hopefully it will somehow prove rewarding.
Things I wish I’d known to ask before accepting the position-- Is it recommended you walk to your classrooms in pairs and not stay after school hours? Why are students not allowed backpacks? Why are students not allowed to gather in groups larger than three? Do the guards carry guns and batons and have their routes changed randomly so as to foil anyone lying in wait? Have you had to lock yourself in the room with your students because a riot got out of control? Did they contemplate calling the national guard because the city police couldn’t handle the riot? Do half your students seem to have those ankle monitor things? Is your list of students known to have threatened teachers longer than the list of those who’ve not?
I’m actually lucky to have chosen that school to do my student teaching-- I could have been assigned one of the really scary schools across town.
Being at a middle school does make me a little worried for you, but I bet you’ll last out the year, phouka. I give you ten weeks, tops, if you teach shop though. You do know how to write on the board while still facing the room, right?
It sounds very alarming. Are things often so bad that all this stuff is needed, or are these two extreme examples?
So how close to me is this middle school at, anyway?
That sounds like where I work… visitors hand their bags to the guard, step through the metal detector, and get their bags back without even the patdown… people who’ve forgotten their badges walk through the turnstiles, set off the alarm, wave to the security guard and head off to their cubicles…
The thing is, I’m not scared of these kids. Most of them are just…kids, ya know? Sure, there are a couple of crazies, but everyone, including the other kids, know they’re crazy, and you just keep an eye on them.
It’s just that…why bother? The metal detectors cost money. The security guards could do a better job if they just kept an eye on the troublemakers. The teachers (like myself) would feel more charitable towards the district if we felt like it wasn’t just a dog and pony show.
I will say this for my principal and asst. principals: second week of school, and I’ve seen three of my students suspended for their behavior. That tells me that I get taken seriously when I send a kid to the office. Yay!
Most of the rest is simply the bloat of a beaurocracy that needs to be set on fire, torn down, and have the earth salted where it once stood. These are, after all, the people who sent me to a day long seminar on the last weekday before school started, when I’d only been cleared to work two days previously. :rolleyes: I still don’t have a computer that runs anything more than Windows '98 and WordPad. Or a driver for my printer. Or paper. Or any of the paperwork they expect me to fill out. Or the books they promised me (but that’s okay because the area rep in my field is going to TAKE MY CLASS for an hour and teach them things I already know. I’m so tempted just to let her have them and take a long potty break.)
You know, last district I worked for had fewer employees than this district has HR reps. If something didn’t work, I’d bake cookies and bribe the person responsible for getting it fixed. It was an approach that worked. Currently, I can’t even find evidence that the IT department actually employs a human being. sigh
Oh, and Ponder, you’re safe. This school is about 15 miles south of you.
Sure, but what if the kids have missiles?
I admire anyone who can manage to endure such an environment. And actually teach in it! I’m not sure I’d be able to.
Ashes…that was my high school! We had one police officer who was armed and about 8 security guards who were unarmed, but trained in hand to hand techniques.
We had many-a-“Rebel Lockdown” (meaning the teacher locks the door and we climb under tables to stay out of the window area). Sometimes students went crazy, sometimes someone was shooting on the next street over.
There was another school in town where there was 8 fights in one day (which the district considers a riot) and the tear gassed the whole place.
But, ya know what? Even though my school was the “bad school,” it wasn’t all that bad. The students were amazing, everyone was friendly, NO RACISM like the other schools all had. Yeah, people were a more diverse than the rest of town and had less money, but my HS had a bad rep for no reason.
phouka– My debate coach loved teaching at my high school- rep and all. He said the kids were so much NICER and less interested in material things than at the other schools. Good luck!