Further Email conversation with Dick.
He really has no idea.
Dear Mr. FCD-
I read your letter today and am obviously distraut about this situation and hope that we can resolve it in a professional manner, which is probably why it is necessary to have an administrator at our meeting as you have suggested in order to offer a third perspective on the situation. I know the Principal and Vice-Principal will return on Monday, the day James returns from ISS, so hopefully it can be scheduled that day or soon thereafter. I have also asked the guidance couselor to sit in on Monday and observe James to see if anything can be gained from that.
As for your “drill sergeant” remarks, I have had to raise my voice/yell at times but I think you might have the wrong impression here. For example, I gave repeated warnings to James yesterday about his remarks, yet he continued them. I did not raise my voice at those times. Did that work? Apparently not, as James continued to shout out and and be disruptive throughout the class.
I would be glad to show you creative lesson after lesson I have conducted the first two quarters that proves that James behavior is not just out of “boredom.” That said, I do not feel the occasional read, write, and discuss lesson plan is not too much to ask of my students.
The bottom line, in my mind, is that James is making poor choices and is making decisions based on impressing his friends and that is the bulk of what is going on here. As for me being the only teacher he has conflicts with, I am sure you are aware that similar problems have occurred with Mrs. Smellycunt so I find that statement incorrect.
While you expect James to receive an education, he has to meet me halfway and be prepared, be respectful, and show a stronger work ethic for that to happen.
All and all, I am writing this letter because I have worked very hard this year and will not accept the assertion that I am the problem (though I don’t make any claims to perfection.). On balance, I have treated James fairly and respectfully and look forward to working out a compromise that will be best for James. I have never said anything personal or rude to hurt his feelings or disrespect him. I certainly have not treated him like a “whipping boy”-I’m not sure where this comes from.
Thank you for taking the time to write your letter and to read my reply, and I am sorry that you are feeling upset and angry about this situation.
Aside from his mis-spellings (which infuriates me coming from a teacher – especially on a computer in this day and age of spell checkers built into everything except IE), this is very unhelpful, and just pissed me off some more.
You have in fact given James ISS for throwing a pencil, which he did not do, and for having a poor attitude toward you and your class which you caused.
That is neither fair nor respectful. You are coming down on him for acting like a twelve year old boy. As it happens, he is a twelve year old boy.
You have turned this into a contest of wills, and let me assure you, you will not win against middle school students by simply punishing on sight. You will not motivate James or any other middle school student with punishment for every little thing the student says or does that doesn’t please you. What you will do is cause the exact problem we are seeing with James. You simply cannot legislate motivation, and you obviously don’t understand that any more than you understand students.
If the problem isn’t boredom, explain why his test grades remained so high for so long after his homework problems and attitude problems began. He is indeed bored, he is interested in enjoying his classes, his favorite subjects are Math and Science and he’s always liked Social Studies. Explain to me how a student has such a sudden and complete break down in the classes he likes the most, and in which he has always excelled, if the cause is neither you nor boredom. It is a god damned shame that he would rather be in ISS than in your class. Notice his work got done, including his homework, and he even had time to read quite a bit.
What does that say about you?
Yes, he is indeed having problems with Mrs. Smellycunt. Funny that her lack of experience is an issue for the Vice Principal as well. Funny that she just gave him an office slip for calling an assignment “gay”. Not because he didn’t do it, he did. She also is trying to legislate the behavior she wants. Are you seeing a pattern here? I am.
You are in fact the cause here, whether you care to admit that or deny it. The evidence here is strongly in favor of that, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe you’re the problem, any more than it matters if a creationist believes the world is 6000 years old. Reality simply doesn’t care what you think.
Do not be sorry that I am angry and upset. Take one minute out of your defensive bloviating and try a little objective self examination. Ask yourself those questions I just asked, and for just a moment try to answer them honestly. Ask yourself if you are there for your students’ benefit, or if they are there for yours.
In short, do your job.
I’m just getting warmed up.