I hate explaining a post prior to writing what I want to say, but I was in education from 1995 to 2012. If you haven’t worked in schools, then you don’t understand why this commentator completely nailed her point of view. When I first saw this, I said, “Damn dude must have gotten pushed way too far.” Note I didn’t say damn that’s wrong he shouldn’t have done that. I said he went too far, because what I know is that a classroom can spiral out of control quickly.
A quick story, I was one of those teachers that never really had any trouble at all in the classroom, even when I was challenged. However, I’m a 6-2 220lb ex college athlete, who gangbanged and was a knucklehead at one point in my life. I’m also an ex military guy, so my background is well suited for almost any classroom. There was a fight at one of the high schools I worked at. None of the teachers would jump in and we didn’t have adequate security. The fight moved from the hallway into my class and then back out in to the hallway. None of the teachers wanted to touch or try to stop the kids because they feared repercussions for putting there hands on a kid. The one kid was literally being stomped on and could have been stomped to death. Once I realized who and what was happening and I saw that the students wouldn’t respond to my tone and threats to stop, I had no choice but to jump in or that one student would have been killed.
I jumped on top of a 6-6 kid and grabbed him off and the other group of boys started kicking at the students head. I realized that I could throw them all off so I laid my body on top of the kid who was getting jumped and I yelled, “If any one of you motherfuckers hits me, I’m beating the shit out of you.” By the time I was getting the last few words out I had been stomped in the back at least three times. I turned around and looked to see who was stomping and I can only imagine the look that the kids saw, because they all moved back. Once again, I’m not a small guy and the students know I’ve done push up challenges and they had seen me in the gym, so once I lost it, it was the only thing that stopped the fight.
This is one story of many that I could have shared. When this commentator says that people have no idea of the limited authority a teacher has, she is exactly right. The only reason I very rarely had problems was because I knew that being a teacher meant I was one part entertainer, one part educator, one part father, one part brother, one part psychologist, one part social worker. I knew that every minute of class time had to be occupied or in that one second where there was dead space you could lose control.
People like to think they can do the job or that they could prevent these things from happening, but you will never understand the type of creative instruction that has to happen, the type of risks you have to take on a daily basis, to maintain discipline. One final story about two disruptive kids I had a school once. Kids feed off the responses of their peers. Two boys decided they wanted to fight. The other kids started instigating. The classroom was going to easily turn into something bad. I had about ten seconds to diffuse the situation. I told both kids that they should definitely fight. Now, this could have turned into an extremely bad thing, but I played the odds. I knew that the only reason the fight was escalating was because of the other students. I told the two boys that they should definitely fight. I escorted them outside and told the rest of the class once those boys were outside, if any of you get up, I will call all of your parents and you will all lose letter grade on your overall grade. The two boys going to fight were already outside. I stood at the door, closed all of the blinds, and then told the boys, “Knock on the door when you finish, whoever wins.” I closed the door. I waited for a second and then I went back to teaching. I explained to my students still in the class that the only reason those guys were going to fight was because of them. They had an audience. You take away the audience, the kid loses the power. I took a gamble and about five minutes later I walk to the door and look outside. The two boys were playing cards.
Unless you’ve been in the classroom full time, you will never understand, never.