Tough Love is the Best Teacher
This is a good year
This year brought a welcome change in the size and composition of my classes. My classes are much smaller and, unlike past classes, all students in all classes are participating. The most significant change is the absence of students who presented discipline problems in the past.
Angry student lash out
Many students come to school hiding rage and frustration with their home situations. They walk into class with chips on their shoulders and “cruising for a bruising.” Many of the students are in violent, abusive home situations with one parent and the parent’s significant other. Quite a few students live in foster homes. The anger brewing inside often causes them to “flip the script” and strike out.
and then they are sorry
When I turned in my lists for advanced classes this year, I omitted eight girls who consistently showed defiance and disrespect in the past. This year all eight have approached me, individually, asking to be in my class. Their demeanor is quite different from what was displayed last year. Each practically sang my name saying “Hey Mrs. Trotter!” I could almost see the halos around their heads and their feet rising from the ground as their wings flapped.
Last year was a nightmare
Five months ago I had to have security physically remove one of these angels as she swore she was going to get me fired. One told her grandmother that everything I said was a lie. When I contacted one parent about her daughter’s behavior, the parent said, “I heard you are disrespectful too.” There was a mass revolt when I told these young ladies they couldn’t dance to Chris Brown’s sexually explicit song, Strip.
Tough Love Soft Heart
My heart says I should let these young ladies come back to choir, after I have gone over the rules about respect and cooperation. My head is telling me that it will be hard to get them out of the class if they should return to their usual behavior. Going through the discipline ladder disrupts class and frustrates the students who do show respect and cooperate. This is a moral and spiritual dilemma. Do you have any advice?