Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, June 01, 2004
For my last post written at this middle-school, I thought I would pay homage to another Teach for America teacher here-- Liddy Gerchman. She just finished her second year teaching and her whoops at being finished were heard throughout the halls. She is moving on to grad school...but before she left, she shared with me a moving document she had created.

One of the great things about Teach for America teachers is their creativity. Ms. Gerchman was not satisfied simply writing referrals to send students to the office when they She decided to write the best referrals possible. These referrals stand as a testiment to the mind-blowingly stupid behaviors that middle-school teachers face each and every day. I wanted to share them as a sort of 21 referral salute to her leaving.

Ms. Gerchman writes,

"Student achievement is a beautiful thing. But so is teacher tenacity in the face of some truly ridiculous stunts. The following are actual discipline referrals I’ve written for my charming students.

September 11, 2002: “Literally rolling on floor during class mural-making session.”

November 8, 2002: “In the middle of another student’s turn at reading, he burst out in song: ‘I like big butts and I cannot lie …’”

November 13, 2002: “Insulted a classmate by calling her a dwarf.”

November 14, 2002: “Will not stay in seat, will not pay attention, despite my numerous, high-decibel entreaties for him to do so.”

January 13, 2003: “Simply does not understand concept of not talking while teacher is doing same. Maintains, ‘didn’t do nothing’ and ‘why do you always have to write people up?’ and ‘how much you gotta write?’”

January 22, 2003: “I have told the whole class to be quiet. I have told him to be quiet. I have said, ‘This is your last warning.’ Still, the boy speaks.”

January 27, 2003: “When I gave her the attached referral and was talking to her about completing her classwork in the Student Management Room, she continued to make smart retorts until I began to raise my voice. Then she said, ‘Don’t you be raising your voice at me.’”

February 7, 2003: “Came over to me while I was writing another student up and asked why I was doing so. I said it was none of her business and she had to get back to work. She said, ‘It’s a free country.’”

February 23, 2003: “Stuck middle finger up at me repeatedly throughout class period. When I privately asked her why, she replied, ‘Shut up.’”

March 4, 2003: “Brought no paper to class and claimed this was a good reason not to take required notes.”

March 10, 2003: “Told to pull his pants (around his knees) up, he insisted on blowing a salute through a rolled-up paper horn first.”

April 11, 2003: “Combing a student’s hair instead of looking at book. I said, ‘This is not a beauty parlor; put the brush away,’ and she said, ‘I ain’t got a brush.’”

May 8, 2003: “Raised hand and, when called on, said, ‘I hate this class.’”

May 12, 2003: “Playing at another teacher’s door when sent to sharpen pencil, then insulting her while I write this (‘It’s not my fault her ears are stuffed with mashed potatoes’). Earlier in period, told me I needed to take a bath!”

October 22, 2003: “Talking incessantly, throwing bits of paper, getting out of seat, and mysteriously ‘falling out of desk’ not one but three times.”

October 30, 2003: “Will not raise hand. When I yelled at him, he made a big show of wiping saliva off his forehead and said, ‘I already took a shower.’”

December 1, 2003: “I asked the class to list our mandatory school supplies. He raised his hand and said, ‘Weed.’”

December 12, 2003: “Typically requires 3-5 requests before following directions, such as ‘sit down’ or ‘come here.’”

February 11. 2004: “Sprayed extremely potent cologne in middle of class, aggravating several students’ allergies.”

March 4, 2004: “Absolutely refuses to accept even minimum responsibility for any action.”

March 15, 2004: “Will not stop making cruel comments to another student about that student’s late father. Given a stern and clear warning not to discuss this, he said, ‘I hate it when it’s raining; the tombstones get wet.’”

God bless her. ¶ 3:49 AM

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