When the articles pop up on my timeline, I’m quick to click the link to each and every article that looks or sounds like this:
“Teacher assaults student”
“Educator and student fights”
“Teacher fired after brawl with student”
What I find to be interesting is that many, if not all of the teachers involved in the fight with their students, have reported incidents within their classrooms multiple times.
But where are those articles? Where are the news reports of teachers who are verbally and physically abused by students in their classrooms? Where is the documentation within the school district stating the number of times that teachers are abused by students repeatedly, only to have the student show up later that week in their class?
In no way am I saying that teachers have a right to hit students. As teacher, it’s unfortunate that we have to hold tight to patience and self-control when we know help is not coming. It’s unfortunate that WE have to refrain from self-defense when students have the ability to harm us and have it blamed on an IEP or difficult home life.
What I want to bring to life for everyone out there who condemns and bashes teachers who have reached their patience maximum, is the reality of these situations. It can be summed up in one sentence.
We Always Ask for Help, But It Never Comes.
Please do not think that teachers are perfect people who know how to de-escalate any and every situation. We Don’t.
We are humans who have feelings just like everyone else. Teachers hurt just like you. We cry just like you. But one thing we have that some done, we have the ability to ask for help when we’re feeling overwhelmed or unsafe.
But just because the ability to ask is there, does not mean follow-thru is a sure thing.
Whenever you see another teacher on the news for getting into an altercation with a student, please know that the problems that the teacher was having with that student did not start there.
It Didn’t Start There
There is a paper trail of e-mails, write-ups, and anecdotal notes that each teacher has taken for moments like this. Whether those write-ups were formally documented within the school district’s system is another topic within itself. Many schools have teachers report students on a piece of paper or Google Document that doesn’t go beyond an administrator, whose goal is to keep the number of referrals down for the school to keep their numbers looking like everything is under control.
Just like any normal human being, teachers can only bear so much for so long. With the pressure of good data, lesson planning, adapting to new curriculums, trying to teach grade-level content to students who are 3-4 grade levels behind, professional development trainings, grade-level meetings, a decent looking classroom, lack of supplies, overcrowded classrooms, poor school-wide behavior management systems, fear of safety, and the desire to remain integral in ALL of that, we are tired. The last thing we need is the same child who has consistently disrespected us, potentially harmed us, and verbally abused us, to push us, throw things at us, and make us feel less of a human being…
… while we’re STILL expected by the outside world and administrations to maintain our cool and simply take it because “that child just needs a lot of love.”
Nah. We deserve the same respect and love as any child we teach. Click To Tweet
To Those Who Needed Help, but Received None
My heart goes out to each teacher who has been fired or removed from the teaching profession because of things like this. Situations like these have four guilty parties: the teacher, the administration, the student, and the parent or legal guardian. Everyone has a role to play in the success of every student. Teachers cannot be solely responsible for managing a child’s life. It’s a shared responsibility.
As I said before, I don’t support what these teachers have done, but as a teacher who has endured some of the same struggles with students and administration, I do understand why they did it.
Maybe now, others will too.
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