August 30, 2008

First week of school is over

... and I'm beat. But it's a "good" beat. As I told Paul Smith Jr. the other day, I crashed on my sofa Thursday night at 6:30pm, and didn't awake until 7:30am the next day! The transition from summer hours to regular school hours is always tough, but don't play any small violins for me -- I ain't really complaining, 'ya hear? ;-)

My classes this year appear to be a "notch down" academically from the group I had last year. You might think that "it's still too early to tell;" however, my instincts after 17 years have proven to be pretty accurate. It's not, though, as some teachers might complain, a "gradual dumbing down" year after year. For me, it "ebbs and flows" -- some years I get exceptionally bright students, other years not so bright. No biggie. I just gotta go more in-depth on basic concepts, that's all.

At any rate, I saw an interesting article the other day: Florida is considering allowing teachers to use "force" against students in a much more, well, "liberal" fashion:

Educators could use physical force to maintain a "safe and orderly learning environment" under a proposed state Board of Education rule.

State law already allows school officials to restrain special education students who are deemed a danger to themselves or others.

The proposed rule would extend the use of force to any student and is drawing criticism from parents across the state.

The 30-line rule does not define the term "force" and leaves open to interpretation the circumstances under which it would be allowed.

It says force can be used to protect students from conditions harmful to their learning, mental health, physical health and safety or in cases of harm, injury or the significant damage of property.

The rule would not require that parents be informed if a school staff member has used force on their child.

Many students have the misperception that NO teacher can touch him/her for ANY reason. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, here in DE (and my district in particular) we're advised never to touch a student unless absolutely necessary (like if there is a fight, or a threat to another student or teacher). This is how it should be, in my opinion. In our modern litigious society, any other reason just opens the proverbial can of worms regarding "inappropriate touching." And hell, I know of cases where that charge has been brought even when a teacher was just attempting to break up a fight or melee. I think Florida, if they enact this law, better put aside a "legal fund" to back up teachers/administrators against litigious parents and their attorneys.

Posted by Hube at August 30, 2008 09:49 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Hube, I can fully relate to your exhaustion. Our ideological differences aside, I wholeheartedly commend you for what you do, and the effort you put into it.

On the issue of force, and touching, my school district used the same approach as yours, out of necessity. Of course I abided by these rules, but found doing so to be inhibiting and troubling, because for me touching is part of the way I interact with people, instinctively.

It is very sad, that because of the misbehavior of a very few, the behavior of the rest of us has to be likewise inhibited.

You impress me as a dedicated and great teacher!

Posted by: Perry Hood at August 30, 2008 10:59 AM

Why thank you, Perry! I appreciate that. :-)

Posted by: Hube at August 30, 2008 11:06 AM

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