Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Teacher?

Evidently my students are not. (Although, are many people afraid of curly haired Spanish teachers who are barely 5 feet tall?)

Today, I didn't let one of my students go to the Omaha Zoo. Last week I saw her texting - she had her phone in the pocket of her hoodie. I made eye contact and told her quietly, but firmly to stop. I made the announcement to the class that if they were caught texting during class, I would take their phone. Hello? - phone in the purse or pocket+ hands in there=not fooling anyone. I explained that if your phone goes off accidentally, I don't like it, but I understand that it happens, it's not intentional. But texting during class? Is sneaky, rude and shows a blatent disregard for the rules of our school.

So today, this same girl had her hands in the pocket of her hoodie, wiggling around- I was pretty sure she was texting, but not quite. Then, when she thought I wasn't looking, took the damn thing out. I just said her name and held out my hand. Surprisingly, she surrendered her phone.

Later, the kids were taking their first vocab quiz of the term. I spoke to them about cheating, and how it not only hurts them, but it shows such lack of integrity and do they really want to be remembered by me as The Cheater when they want me to fill out their National Honor Society apps or write letters of recommendation for them so they can get jobs and scholarships and into college. I told them that if they were at all talking during the quiz, they would receive a zero, and would not have the chance to make it up. I know, I'm such a hard-ass. About 3/4 of the class was finished, and some kids came up to my desk to ask me questions- blocking my view of the front row. It was like being ambushed by gypsies! One girl, who ironically is an integrated BD student told me quietly that the "girls in the front row were cheating". I glanced over and the girl who sits in front of Cell-phone Girl was turned sideways in her desk, textbook open, talking to her. Cell-phone Girl still had a quiz on her desk and was not finished. I said to the girl in the front row "Are you kidding me???" She kind of got this look on her face like "What? I've no idea what you're talking about." I silently, but ceremoniously found her quiz in the stack and tore it in 2 and threw it away. I then walked quietly over to Cell Phone Girl and tapped her paper and said "You can just keep that."
So THEN, when it was time to go, Cell Phone Girl has the audacity to ask for her damn phone back. I told her I was taking it to the Dean and that her parents would have to come get it. To which she responded by storming out of the room and attempting to slam the door, only it's one of those new fancy doors that doesn't slam- ha ha ha.
She came to find me after school with a woman I mistakenly thought was her mother, but is really her grandmother. And here's where I reveal how shallow I am. The woman had a mustache Burt Reynolds would be proud of. How the hell am I supposed to take her seriously when she shows up at school looking like Jo Jo the Dog Faced Boy? She explained to me that her grandaughter was getting a "legitimate text" from her mother, yada yada yada. I told her upper lip that they aren't to have them out in class at all. Ever.
I was still too mad to address the cheating issue right then.
The thing that gets me is that THEY are the ones who fucked up, not me. And yet THEY are the ones who are pissy with ME. I guess it comes with the age. And, they will try and get away with whatever they can. Grrrrr.


Blogger happychyck said...

Oh! So it's okay for you to break the rules if your mother is phoning or texting you! I hate that one. I have hung up phone calls that were allegedly from mommy. Oh! How rude I am!

How easy our lives would be if students would just do the right thing and not waste their time trying to pull one over on us.

1/31/2007 1:00 AM  
Blogger Wendy Boucher said...

Have I mentioned lately how underpaid teachers are? Sheesh, you deserve a raise.

1/31/2007 7:09 AM  
Blogger Shawnee said...

I am starting to think it has nothing to do with age (think of Teacher Lady's students!) & everything to do with not being taught any sense of personal responsibility & accountability. Obviously you haven't received the memo - the rules don't apply to them!

1/31/2007 9:26 AM  
Blogger Nic said...

1) I hate when they blatantly do that kind of crap and then get that "whaaaatt?" look on their faces, like you're freaking blind, or stupid, or both.

2) "I told her upper lip....." Hysterical! (And I would have fixated too, but I am unabashedly shallow.)

1/31/2007 6:22 PM  
Blogger NYC Educator said...

I hate it when kids cheat, and it's particularly irritating when they deny it after you've caught them red-handed. I had a kid who used to copy his math homework in my class. I told him if I saw him doing it again I'd tear up both his and the homework he was copying.

And the next day, I tore up two copies of math homework, problem for problem identical. The kid denied it vehemently, and stopped doing any sort of work in my class.

And he failed too. He managed to exact his revenge from me, and to show me how serious he is, he's taking the class over.

I wonder if kids like that actually make themselves believe they didn't cheat.

1/31/2007 8:38 PM  
Blogger Adeline said...

Grrrr. When parents come together with their child who is a total crumbum in their own right, there is really nothing more difficult to deal with.

1/31/2007 10:23 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

I don't think it's the age either - I think it's a certain "type" of parenting that has become more common over the years. I'm a big fan of Tim Russert. I saw him speak live and have read his book Big Russ and Me. He writes that when he was back on Catholic school, if he got in trouble with the nuns during the day, he was in even BIGGER trouble with his parents at home that night. Parents, teachers = same side. If I did anything stupid in school, I was in double-secret trouble at home. Now? We're playing on opposing teams and the only team that loses? Team student. This parents vs. teacher thing is VERY bad and VERY dangerous.

2/19/2007 11:08 AM  

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