Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What's really going on with District 150 teachers?

Comments left on the blog of late, indicate that teachers in District 150 are highly frustrated with the current state of the District. When we are witnessing teachers who absolutely love teaching losing their jobs and/or considering leaving the profession, it's a clear indicator that the situation must be pretty dire.

From what I am reading, it appears that teachers are moving towards forming their own type of District Watch. The education landscape is changing so drastically, that teachers and parents alike, need to be as vigilant as possible to insure that all voices are being heard, as we set standards for the future of our schools. It’s a good thing if teachers are actively working on having a real voice in the District's decision making process.

The post below is from a commenter called "teachingrocks".

teachingrocks said...

It is hard to be one of the teachers who was in the trenches last year and kicked to the curb this year.

I continue to repeating the truth that some of these schools are OUT OF CONTROL. By being upset at raising suspension numbers, things are NOT going to change. Students will continue to act out and now will get even less discipline because the numbers "are so bad".

These suspension numbers are easy to manipulate if you keep the student in an ACE room and don't put that in the system or send them home and don't report it to the atendance system, etc. I am worried because if the numbers are worse this year and people are upset about it, it seems like even LESS is going to be done at a time when the teachers must have MORE support in dealing with these MAJOR behavior issues.

A few students in each classroom are robbing all students of their education. Emerge was right when she was asking parents to speak up. That's a place to start. 150 has the alternative school so let's start using it. There are children who should NOT be in a traditional classroom. Even the word traditional in 150 isn't what it used to be.

The teachers are working so very hard to create an environment which meets the needs of all the students in the classroom. They are dealing with things in some of the schools which are not the norm across the district. The revolving door of people in the home, students who strive to grow up and go to jail, the abuse, the drugs, the shootings, etc. Believe me, teachers have adjusted through the years to respond to the change as best they can. This CHRONIC, OUT OF CONTROL behavior is not something teachers can control or adjust on their own. And yet, with the lack of support from the office and above, they are attempting to do just that because that is what they are told they HAVE to do.

If you are "lucky" enough to have tenure, you will keep your job--maybe not in the current school or grade level. If you are a teacher who is dedicated to hold all students to the same standards, won't let children run wild in your room, and demand (but don't receive) some sort of consequence (after you've implented four of five of your own and talked to the parent) from the office and have no tenure----enjoy the time off during this school year because your bags are packed and you are labled unable to control the classroom. It is heartbreaking...and what I am doing.

I have no chance to speak up and say my peace. I am already someone who is having a hard time trying to get back into the classroom. What are my chances of being hired again as a full-time teacher if I have the audacity to speak the truth of what is happening in the classrooms in front of the school board. Trust me, there are people who keep track of who is "causing trouble" by not just shutting up and keeping kids in their classroom no matter what. If they have any opportunity to get rid of you, they will.
Wed., November 16, 2011

teachingrocks said...

I am not making a statement that every teacher who isn't employed this year should be. There are legitimate reasons for getting rid of teachers and there are some teachers in their classrooms now who shouldn't be there. The union is in sad shape and it is so depressing the teachers have noone to turn to regarding the current situations at some schools.

I can continue to monitor and contribute to the blog. I gather information and try to let people know what is really happening.

I am not some anonymous nut who has no experience about what I am talking. I am a teacher. I am dedicated to giving children the best opportunity possible to make something of their lives--let them know they are important to me if noone else in their lives lets them know. I want to make this world a better place by empowering these kids with the knowledge someone is in their court and rooting for them. THIS is the goal of almost every teacher in these classrooms and their hands are being tied by a few families who can't (won't) control their children and by administrators who won't (can't) control their student body.

Wed., November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Peoria’s inner city is in chaos, is there any wonder the children are acting out?

Take a look at the local newspaper, the crime reports will tell the story of the community that we live in: Senior citizens being mugged, drive by shootings, children being shot dead while sleeping, daily large street fights, arsons, babies making babies, rampant STDs. Lest we forget - the run down properties, lead paint, large groups of people without jobs, generations of  families unemployed, run down sidewalks and streets, rat problems, sewer problems, closed neighborhood schools, schools without books, failing schools, fighting in schools.

When you look at the overall picture, it becomes clear that a segment of our community is living in chaos. There are neighborhoods that have set their own rules, there is no fear of the police, and the neighborhoods are run by the criminals who live and/or congregate there.

Any child that comes out of the environment mentioned above and who is not traumatized, would be unique.

As we sit at our computers and discuss on blogs how bad children are in our schools and in our community, is there no wonder that these children are acting out? It is all too easy to loose sight of the fact that these children who are acting out are victims of the chaotic city, the chaotic times, in which they live.

All things considered, is it any wonder that children in Peoria’s inner city are experiencing thoughts, emotions, and feelings of being out of control? They are fearful of the future and are dealing with the  anxiety and pain associated with living in chaos the best way they know how.

Events that can induce trauma include the sudden death of a loved one, assaultive violence (combat, domestic violence, rape, torture, mugging), serious accidents, witnessing someone being injured or killed, or discovering a dead body. Trauma is an ordinary day in the life of the children in District #150 and more specifically in Peoria’s inner city.

Such adversities experienced for an extended period after the trauma (such as a living in Taft, Harrison, East Bluff, near North Side, etc…, series of different placements, schools closing, or separation from a caregiver) can and does influence the severity of trauma reactions.

Recently I experienced an up close look at a disruptive classroom. While I understood that the children misbehaving were more than likely acting out; while I understood that suspensions are known to be a direct linkage to children being incarcerated; while I understood that children do not learn while they are out of school… it did not stop me from wanting these children to go away, so that the classroom could calm down and so that the children who came to learn could get the education that they are entitled to.

It is a well known fact that in the past, District #150 was all too quick to sideline a certain segment of the student body. As a result, those that were sidelined never received the education that they should have. In an effort to right the wrongs of the past, we can’t just now say no we are no longer handling discipline and suspensions like we have in the past, without putting sufficient supports, policies and procedures in place to handle the issues.

There are no easy answers, but it is absolutely imperative that we find it in our hearts to stop blaming the victims. I know that when you are in the trenches getting cussed out by a ten year old, it’s difficult. It's also difficult when you are a parent with a student who is caught in the chaos. However, we must all remain  mindful of the fact that it will take a village to find a way to pull these children, who are shouting out for help, out of the chaos.