One Battle Lost

One of my students was proposed for expulsion on Friday, and I have very mixed feelings about it. The kid is extremely troubled. His parents don’t know what to do with him, and neither did we. He just couldn’t stay out of trouble. If he wasn’t supervised constantly, he would be out of his seat, breaking something. He was a constant disruption in the classroom. At the same time, I know he’s not a bad person. He never argued with me, and he always came to detention. I’d make him clean my whole classroom, and it was like he was almost glad to be punished. It wasn’t that he enjoyed it, but I could tell that it meant something to him to be held accountable for the damage he caused. The problem was he just couldn’t help getting into serious trouble continuously. We didn’t have the resources to help him, but I’m really afraid for what’s going to happen to him now.

That’s the constant frustration. I’ve got at least a dozen other kids who have extremely serious psychological issues. They ruin classrooms, but they’re really screaming for help. I don’t know what to do to help them, and furthermore, their disruptions make it so I can’t do my actual job–teaching algebra. Even counting out that 10% of my students who are completely out of pocket, I’d say another 40% are in moderate crisis. The reality of it is that the math lesson I spend so much time preparing is just the backdrop to me trying to navigate the psychology of 100 extremely needy adolescents. It’s really more like triage than anything else.

There’s much more to write, but I’m scatterbrained right now–this topic is just one of many things on my mind right now. I’m hoping that the process of figuring out how to get it all on paper will help me get my act together. But for now, I’m going to try to get some rest.

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