Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I'm at home on stress leave today and tomorrow, and I'm scared and angry and miserable.

Last Friday, one of my students king-hit another student while I had my back turned for a moment. I took both boys straight to the principal, told her what had happened and asked her to deal with it. Her way of "dealing" with it was to get both boys' sides of the story, then keep the offending boy in in-school suspension for a couple of hours before sending him back to me at 2pm. He wreaked complete havoc on my lesson, stirring up two other boys and causing my entire afternoon to go all to hell.

I was angry enough over this when I got in on Monday, and then I found that the principal wasn't going to be there on Monday and hadn't left any instructions or requirements for the offending boy. I resorted to the standard punishment - sitting on the bench rather than playing at recess and lunchtime. He refused to comply. Then at lunchtime three of my good girls were found out of bounds riding another child's scooter through the gardens and destroying a small tree; students who were supposed to be doing rubbish duty as a consequence for rudeness refused to comply; and at the end of lunch four boys refused to come down from the top of the play equipment having spent lunchtime throwing stuff on the top of the equipment's shade-cloth. They just laughed at all four of the staff members who told them to come down! When they did finally come down we got the mother of the worst boy (the one who hit the other child) to come and get him. I tried to get on with my lessons in the afternoon but a couple of the kids had realised that there was no higher authority in the school and no one was actually facing any major consequences (this has been a problem for a while because the principal just refuses to impose any higher-level consequences). and proceeded to riot. I got on with things as best I could before asking for help, and when the other teacher took them to buddy class I could hear her screaming at them from two classrooms away!

By the end of the day I was a crying nervous wreck and told the registrar I wasn't coming in today. I've been to the doctor today and cried at her, and I've got a certificate for today and tomorrow. My stomach is all in knots and I can't breathe properly and I'm feeling sick and strained and awful, not the least because I have to see the principal for a meeting at 8am on Thursday. I know I need to be assertive and firm and somehow MAKE her realise that while my handling of the problems might not have been the best - it is my first year of teaching after all - the heart of the problem is that she won't back us up or impose any serious consequences herself. I need to let her understand my feelings of being unsupported and out of options while not putting her on the defensive, and I'm not very good at that sort of thing.

I hate this!

I'm currently doing the only thing I can think of to make myself feel better: applying for positions in private schools. I've found three to positions to apply for and I'm going to look for more. If this principal isn't around next year it won't be so bad, but on the off-chance she will be here I don't want to be. I've had enough.


I completely understand understand how it feels to not have administrative support. I dealt with that when I was a teacher too. But I feel you're making a bit of a mistake by taking a day off - the kids will see it as you are being weak. The best thing you can do is go back and show them that you're in charge - it will make the rest of the school year easier.
Oh, so far as the kids know I'm just sick - I had a virus last week and I haven't told them it's stress leave. They'll just think I was unwell.

I didn't want to take any time off either but I couldn't teach while crying!

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