Monday, November 16, 2015
Questions I Get Asked (Part 2)
“Why do schools suspend students so much? All you’re doing is giving students a vacation. It doesn’t teach them anything but to misbehave to get what they want."
With that logic, then adults should come to work and refuse to do anything. When they are told they’d better get to work or they’re going to get written up, then they should cause a scene, maybe call their boss a few unprintable, four-letter names, and then storm out of the office against orders to stay or else.
I mean, don’t all adults want a vacation?
Especially when the going gets tough?
If that’s how it really works, shouldn’t all adults use this method of “vacation acquisition”?
Let’s try an experiment, Mom and Dad. Your next day at work, try acting that way, making sure you call your boss something that rhymes with “trucker,” and then come back and post in the comment section the results. How long of a vacation did you receive? Make sure you tell us. Inquiring minds want to know.
Can you see the sarcasm dripping off your monitor? Do you understand why I am being so acerbic? If this “logic” doesn’t apply to adults, why is it supposed to be different with our children? Our students? Our schools? Are we not supposed to be training them for the real world? Are we not supposed to show them there are serious consequences for really poor actions? That actions have consequences? That respect for people in positions of authority is a good thing to learn?
If schools are “giving students a vacation,” then we have to ask why getting to stay home is so enjoyable. For me, growing up, if I got suspended, I knew life at home would have been a living Hades. School would have looked like a movie theater, a theme park, a football game, or any other place I would have loved to frequent. Therefore, if a suspension becomes a vacation, then we have to ask some tough questions as parents.
Question #1: Am I, as a parent, supporting bad behaviors by being supportive of my student when I know his or her actions are wrong? It’s one thing to support our children through thick and thin by never leaving them nor forsaking them, regardless of how they act, but a parent can still do that and discipline the child. Right?
Question #2: When my child is home because of a suspension, why are they allowed to do what they want to do? Why do we, as parents, allow it to be vacation-like? Should we not reinforce the consequences at home and band together with the school to teach good behavior? When a parent positions himself or herself in-between the student and the school (and we’re talking about legitimate offenses here), all it does is drive a wedge between the student, the family, and the school. This empowers the student’s negative behavior and makes it worse, not better. The goal should be to correct the behavior and promote better behavior for next time. This takes a concerted effort with the school being supported by the parent when the punishment is justified.
Question #3: When a child disrupts a class to the point where a teacher has to continually stop teaching to get the student with poor behavior to cease and desist, when does the education of the other twenty or so students come into play? When is their education more important than one ill-behaved student who’d rather destroy a classroom than be educated? More and more students are being pulled from schools and placed in private schools or home-schooled by parents who are tired of their students’ education being sacrificed while students who don’t know how to behave are allowed to remain in classes with little or no consequence for their actions.
In education, a teacher must be concerned about his or her students. All of them. Twenty or so at a time. Class by class. An administrator has to be concerned about not just the twenty or so in a particular class, he or she has to be concerned about all the students on campus. That could be thousands.
Logic would dictate that if one student is allowed to conduct himself or herself in a manner that should receive punishment warranting a suspension, then the teacher must allow the other twenty or so to act the same way, get away with the same behaviors, etc. Same goes for the administrator. If one is allowed to curse out a teacher and call them something that rhymes with “trucker,” then he or she must allow the other thousand or more students do the same with no consequences.
Question #4: What kind of school would they have in about two weeks?
I’ll tell you what kind. The kind at which no one would want to teach, administrate, or attend. If you’ve never seen the movie Lean on Me, starring Morgan Freeman, maybe you should. Joe Clark, the real-life New Jersey principal Freeman portrays in the movie, knew what bad behavior allowed to run amuck could do to a school.
He also knew how good the school could be.
So, when your child gets suspended, ask yourself as a parent this:
Queston #5: What do I want my child to learn?
Isn’t that the point of education, after all?
*Generic photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). He presently works as an assistant principal in a middle school. He also has several years experience as an administrator at the high school level.
A former Language Arts teacher, Kevin decided to put his money where his mouth was and write, fiction mostly. Now, years later, he is a member of the Christian Authors Network (CAN), American Christian Fictions Writers (ACFW), and Word Weavers International. He is the Chapter President of Word Weavers-Lake County (FL), and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (Winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge - A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, as well as articles in The Wesleyan Advocate, The Preacher, Vista, The Des Moines Register and The Ocala Star-Banner.
Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24 , The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too.
Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Page
Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson