Friday, March 30, 2012

Deborah Ashton acquitted

Notice: To all teachers, get a tattoo on your covered regions and protect yourself from baseless accusations of sex.  The alleged victim did not know there was a volleyball sized tattoo on the defendant's stomach.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Teacher who commented on cleavage resigns

OMG!!!! I was like, you knowww, wearing my clothes and trying to blend in.  Then she made me feel stupid.  How embarrazzing.  See it on fb later. My mom says she won't be around to bother other girls like this.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What? A teacher with student boarder who's NOT a pedophile?

It is a sorry state of affairs when a relationship between student and teacher that goes beyond the usual is tainted by doubt and suspicion.  We have become so used to the idea of seeing human relationships in terms of same aged peer to peer, that the idea that, say, a middle aged female teacher might become fond of a teen aged boy, seems suspect.  That is a shame.  This is where I have a problem with school culture at its roots.  Teachers are expected to keep a social distance in order to do their jobs and that is understandable within the contemporary context.  Why?  Because having 30 students at a time who are mandated to be in school as we know it, means that signs of familiarity could hinder getting them to do what they might not care to partake in. That's one reason your typical usmc sargeant is not Mr. Rogers. SCHOOL IS NOT A NATURAL ENVIRONMENT. I could explain why but I presume most thinking people see this as somewhat obvious. But I digress.  This particular teacher was kind enough to let a student stay in her home, but ended up resigning and having her name put on the sex offender registry once the authorities found out.  The story states that she was able to get it removed.,0,512821.story

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Teacher reads a passage from "Ender's Game" now on leave

A parent called the book "pornographic."

Police were called....nation on red alert.

Peeing in bucket could cost district $25 K

Actually, it might be more.  Art teacher Gonja Wolf told a student she could pee in a bucket if she had to go that bad.  I suspect she was tired of the "endless stream" of requests, and used some sarcasm, not expecting it to be taken seriously.  Now the student's parents want a $25 K settlement with the district. 

People who haven't taught don't necessarily understand how disruptive and detrimental little things like bathroom breaks can be.  Remember the teacher that took away points when kids said "bless you?"  He had many adults riled up over the small courtesy of saying "bless you."  But in a classroom context it becomes a game which I witnessed myself.  You might get 5 sneezes and "bless you's" in a minute's time.  The same goes for bathroom breaks.  They become an excuse to get out of class, and disrupt whatever momentum the teacher has.  I often had 8 requests for the bathroom in a period.  I probably had about that many academic questions in a year.  I must have been a "bad" teacher like Ms. Wolf.  Note the anger in the commentary on huffington post.  There's a real wave of bitterness in the population towards teachers, in general.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

NO TOUCH! horseplay or felony crime?

There are real issues at stake here. One of the issues with charges of sexual abuse are built in.  People committing such heinous acts seek privacy for the crime.  If a teacher is accused, chances are they were alone with a student at some point so the charges come down to hearsay.  Not being able to disprove the allegations leaves outsiders wondering/ doubting whatever comes of an investigation.

I do not know whether Mr. Ziskin is guilty or not.  It appeared to a school worker that he had a hand in some boy's pants while seeing him wrestling with some boys during lunch or break.  At this point, seeing physical contact between a teacher and students can set alarms off.  I used to play basketball, touch football, and even wrestled some of my students on occasion. And speaking of physical contact, I had a 4th grade teacher who scratched my back while we were watching movies in class.  I do remember being creeped out about it.  I didn't know what a pedophile was and, frankly, I don't think it describes him.  I think he thought I was a cute kid. I didn't like it but I quickly got over it.  I am not advocating that teachers do this by any stretch of the imagination.  At the same time, I am not happy about the direction things have swung where the bottom line is to play it safe in case someone decides to ruin your life. 

It is easy to say "no touching."  "Do not be in a room with a student alone."  Those are the 2 big ones and they are not hard to follow on a day to day basis.  They make it easier for a district to do cya.  Nevertheless, it is sad that many kids could use a hug and one has to think twice about something so innocent that demonstrates inter-human affection.  Perhaps it's our old Puritan obsession with sex.  We can't look at human contact as anything but driven by libido.  When I lived in Paraguay, I routinely saw girls walking hand in hand.  I got on buses where we were packed like sardines against each other. People's idea of personal space was different. I think I probably inherited my own inclinations from my father and his mother.  They are/were friendly midwesterners who lived in a time where there was more trust between strangers.  My father can't get to the bathroom at a restaurant without stopping to say "hi" to some kid he sees at a nearby table.  Once in awhile, he gets a look of suspicion from someone.  How can I not find that to be a sad example of where trust is at in our society? 

As for what the school worker who observed Mr Ziskin saw.  Is it possible that their perspective was swayed by their own subjective biases?  We all have them.  Take the test from the link below and see how astute your own powers of observation are.

Mr. Ziskin has served 6 years out of his 15 year sentence.  What is significant is that one of the accusers is now saying he was wrong.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The flogging will continue until morale improves

Coach Jason Mair, is on investigative leave.  He used a foam sword called the "motivator" to tap students here and there.  The accusation of abuse unraveled when one of his students was found in the locker room crying.

Teacher mentor, Bill Rogers, gets it

Bill Rogers, a teacher and mentor in Australia, is saavy enough to see that issues with students aren't necessarily solved through "better classroom management."  I hardly had any behavior issues the first year I taught in a bilingual classroom in inner city San Jose.  The worst year I ever had was my final year of teaching in a small town in California.  My neophyte principal would call me into his office over some manufactured complaint by a student.  I would explain they were doing this...because they could.  It was a power trip that involved their peers.  Generally, my experience had been that  boys were rowdier and more apt to stray from the class focus.  But the last year gave personal meaning to the term "mean girls."  They were sneaky, manipulative and spiteful.  There are times when I meet a nice kid and recall that I actually did like them when I started teaching.

Roger says:

The particularly disturbing issue of teacher bullying is also addressed. Some students (in our schools) use calculated, intentional, purposeful behaviours to intimidate, manipulate and "control" group behaviour towards some teachers. This is bullying. It is always wrong. No teacher should have to put up with the psychological harassment of some students in some of our schools, (most bullying is psychological).
Senior staff need to be alert to, and aware of, such behaviours in their schools and support colleagues who experience such behaviour. Teachers who may be more vulnerable to the power-seeking behaviour of some students should never be subsequently blamed under labels of "poor discipline" or "poor teaching". Bullying (of any kind) is always wrong and must be confronted in an appropriately restorative way. This issue is also addressed (at some length) in the book.

Here is the full article 

The mind set of the persecuted- Shawna Lloyd believes the teacher is racist.

  1. See earlier report from February  
    Add caption
    Well these dumb ass ppl are lettin tis teacher go back to work and teach kids after it was founded that she hit my son. There excuse was she was just tryin to redirect him. They said it was not against any law wat she did..WOW.... So if you have a child that goes to Brazos Middle School in tha 7th grade watch your kids that have Linda Hewgley as a Science teacher.......
  2. At wISD admin they called me in to have a meetin they made a final decision about tha dumb ass teacher that hit michael... Details cumin soon.....

Friday, March 9, 2012

The best dentists have large arms

If I walked in on a dentist who had, say, 8 child patients at the same time, and watched him/her struggle to clean their teeth and drill cavities while attempting to keep the mouths of half of them open with various tactics, I would wonder how pragmatic it was for them to do their job.  If 2 of the patients couldn't stay seated, perhaps they might use a brawny fore arm to keep one of them seated so they could operate.  If one of them started to cry, perhaps the specialist might give them a sucker and a timeout somewhere else until they returned to a state of semi-composure.  If we added 5 more patients, the dentist might still be able to operate but now they might have 2 extras whose attention wanders off and forget to keep their mouths open. So the dentist might feel like the best thing to do is have a short group chat with all involved explaining how important dental hygiene was and trying to motivate them to comply.  Maybe they'd get a ring or lollipop or whatever afterward for being good ( I recall this in my own experience).  But as the numbers grew or as time went on, we could see that the dentist was doing less and less of what their original  mission was (dentistry) and more organizing, cajoling, motivating, physically restraining, etc.  If this specialist now had 20 patients at once, it might actually be more important, that they were strong enough to hold children in their seats, than their expertise in dentistry.  But we (the public) would now call this person a "dentist."  And we'd say "Hey...that's what a dentist is expected to do.  How can you maintain dental health if you can't get access to the patients mouths?"

Which brings me to the current state of public education in our country.  Teachers generally accept all the additional and supercilious things they are expected to do in order to JUST DO THEIR JOB OF... TEACHING.  Maintaining order and controlling a class are, and have been, par for the course for awhile now.  Increasingly, parents and the administration have shifted more of the responsibility onto the teacher.  If Johnny acts up, ...."hmmmm....what is the teacher doing wrong?"  The old paradigm said "Johnny's at fault here."  Then this slowly shifted to other factors, ie home life, medical treatments.  Still, the teacher could send that kid to the office where admin dealt with them.  But as cultural entropy has increased, admin increasingly holds the teacher's responsible for handling discipline. Yes.  There are things a teacher can do, but what happened to personal responsibility?  Why is all this dumped on the teacher? And, of course, this presumed academic magician, has to do all this while making sure the child has a big smile on their face the whole time.  That is, consequences,  and punishment are last resorts; and anything smacking of corporal punishment is anathema.  While this is laudable as an abstraction, the reality is the circus we see today where there is little order, and being able to maintain this "order" has supplanted being able to teach well. you know why the best dentists have big fore arms.

 I feel for kids that can't stay seated.  I was always a bit squirmy after 15 minutes in a seat myself, and still am.  If  a student in class can't stay seated, how many options does a teacher have?  I had a wiggle worm kid who I had do art.  Some days it worked, other days were mayhem.  This child's behavior held the entire class captive. He would throw pennies across the room, mess with girls' hair, get out of his seat at any moment.  I recall asking him to do pushups and then was scolded by the principal as it is deemed "corporal punishment," in the absurd environment we call a public school.

Given this scenario, I can understand a teacher resorting to taping a kid to their seat.  That student has already done plenty to call negative attention to themselves and the teacher has probably tried any number of things to keep them from continually distracting the class.  What frustrates me is hearing the mother bemoan this while not considering that the rest of the students (not just her child) are losing out an an education when this student's behavior distracts the class.  All over America, this educational travesty continues because no one wants to hurt anyone's feelings.  Great....we have close to half our students who can't read and write at grade level and who will graduate with few prospects for the future, but at least their feelings were never hurt by a teacher.  Kids that can't, and probably should not, be in that particular school or classroom, hold everyone else hostage.

These days, it seems that one of the marks of a great teacher is someone who can find something to occupy this youngster so the rest of the class can accomplish something.  More power to them.  I hold the white flag on this; and, frankly, resent having spent so much time and energy dealing with this phenomenon. At this juncture, I, admittedly, detest all the peripheral things that teachers are expected to do....just to be able to do their job.  Organizing, streamlining daily protocol and tasks, pushing the self esteem agenda, promoting inquiry, and motivating students, creating lesson plans where the priority is simply to keep order.  Blasphemy to say this....I know.  It's not that I did not try and do these things, but somewhere in the mess, the idea of actually teaching became smaller or was even lost.

Do I think taping a student achieves its purpose?  No.  I suspect the kids get a laugh out of it and the squirmy kid gets a bit of attention and temporarily settles down before things probably get worse. But the parent that calls for blood over something like this is missing the forest for the trees.

cannibal math homeowrk has real heads rolling

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Acquitted teacher still faces civil suit

Peter Eramo faces a civil suit from a plaintiff after a judge denied his motion to dismiss a lawsuit against him.

Here is a story regarding the first trial and his acquittal.

False accusations and suicide

This is an old post (2004) from NAAPTA regarding a teacher who took his life after being falsely accused.  It is not only case I have seen where false accusations ended so tragically.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Confessions of a "Bad" teacher

An opinion piece by one of those terrible "big salary and pension, hiding behind the union" teachers.  I found it poignant to read that he was in one of those binds where you just can't win.  It is sickening to have administrators hold you responsible for poorly behaved students crammed into a class on top of each other.  The article underscores the prevalent attitude that poor outcomes for students are all within the realm of responsibility for teachers.  Do the students have responsibilities?  The parents?  Maybe it's not surprising that as the culture's fabric becomes torn, and institutions like schools, and the police get left to try and put things back together, that ideas regarding personal responsibility get stretched to the point of absurdity. 

What happens to teachers that have healthy boundaries and say "the student needs to meet me half way or close to it.?"  They get accused of things like "not answering questions in class," or worse.  They become the ones "who didn't care enough," "didn't believe in me," "didn't motivate me,"  "couldn't handle me." If that doesn't work for the students in the hot seat, their teachers get more frivolous or false accusations thrown at them.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Teacher shows some of jackass and loses job...accuser is threatened.

I guess Christopher Poston is fairly popular.  The father of 4 was subbing for another teacher and showed some of the movie, "Jackass" to students without having scanned it first.  Naturally, a complaint followed.

Sadly, the accusing student's mother says she is being bullied.

  Here is a petition to save his job that has gone up.

Allentown, PA student charged with framing teacher

"We are aware of impostor websites and Facebook pages that have made offensive remarks and characterizations of our members," said Broderic, of the PSEA. "This is a far more extreme example than is typical of this kind of electronic situation. We are not aware of any other cases or situations that rise to this level. It moves from the offensive to the dangerous."