10- Inner-City Administration Rule Book for Dummies

20 Apr

It’s Monday and my stomach is laden with the anticipation, anxiety and dread of another fun-filled week at work. I considered throwing myself in traffic this morning as I raced to work with the speed of an F4 tornado…funny how we race to places we never really want to be!

Jolita Berry and the Waycross, GA cases are sitting in the back of my mind…like an elephant treading on breaking ice. Jolita Berry, an Art teacher who teaches in a Baltimore City public high school, is physically assaulted by a student. Other students record the incident on their cell phones…do not try to help her…they make way for their peer to pelt their teacher, an adult, with her fists. I watched the clip in horror as students moved chairs and desks aside to make room for the fight. Ms. Berry was on the floor, squirming and wriggling like an insect caught in a spider’s web. Jolita Berry was a package of raw meat dropped in the midst of a circle of crazed wolves.

I find the public’s response to be both comforting and repulsive. You see, as an educator, I empathize with those teachers who deal with the daily disrespect of the trade…I take comfort in knowing that there are “civilian” members who support our efforts to educate the gems of our future. Then…there’s the repulsive…the people who contribute in turning our gems into bubblegum-machine-ring plastic (more on this in another post)!

Jolita Berry…what can I say? It’s true. It’s ALL TRUE! And I know you’re saying, “But you weren’t even there!” No…I was not at HER inner-city school, but I am at MY inner-city school…and there is no difference. As soon as I saw her face, heard her voice, listened to the emptiness and sorrow laced within her words…I knew her…she is me…she is every other teacher who is struggling to maintain a modicum of their dignity and humanity while trying to “educate” in a hostile environment.

The Administration? Well, let’s just say that I believe they are all given a generic handbook that pretty much says the same thing, regardless of location (and I’m talking inner-city administration here). If I were to guess, the handbook would read like this:

  • Teachers are to handle all discipline issues within their own classrooms. Teachers are NEVER to send students to the office for discipline reasons.
  • Administrators can/should threaten a teacher’s job if he sends a student to the office or locks his door after the tardy bell and requires that the student has a pass to gain entry into the classroom.
  • Administrators can/should introduce several rules, but never enforce them.
  • Administrators can/should make-up rules for the faculty as they go along.
  • Administrators can/should bully the faculty because they will listen when the students won’t.
  • Administrators can/should walk past fights, arguments, and students who are making-out in the hallway.
  • Administrators should NOT stand in the hallway during class changes because someone may want to speak to them.
  • Administrators can/should tell a teacher he is having lunch when the teacher brings a student, who has severely disrupted the order of class, to his office…and then shut the door in the faces of both the student and the teacher.
  • Administrators can/should allow students to curse, beat, and sexually harass teachers without receiving any consequences.

The world that Jolita Berry describes is a world that exists on a full-time scale. Please do not be mistaken, like some people I have encountered, in believing that her situation is an exception. Due to the lax method of “discipline, students know that they can get away with murder…Maybe that’s what it will take before the community does something to put a stop to this madness, because the Administration and Central Offices don’t care about anything but their test scores. (Jolita Berry)

1 Comment

Posted by on April 20, 2008 in Work


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One response to “10- Inner-City Administration Rule Book for Dummies

  1. Johnathan Walraven

    September 3, 2009 at 1:14 am

    AWSOME I LOVE THIS POST ITS AMAZING AND GIVES ME SOME INSIGHT, I Am not a certified teacher, but got hired on full time as inner city school art teacher….. and get told daily what a shitty job i am doing by the administration, yet the teachers think i am great!!! I am totally lost daily, am i really doing a poor job, or am I not???? As an inner city school teacher I guess you just open a door to many closed ones. Its disheartening, How does administration feel they are going to make anything go further without giving a little respect towards their teachers. Actually the other day, I was in a class room that was a little loud but PRODUCTIVE!!!!! They had been warned to the point of no return, and the office calls up. Well of course I do not hear the office and they have to call a few more times till I Could calm the students down. They give me their line of bullshit, and then I continue on with my lesson, only to be interrupted again by the office telling me the principle wanted to see me after school. Well as anyone would know it, the voice was much like the one when you were in school and told to go to the office you knew by the tone in the secretaries voice your ass was grass…… Well my brief encounter only lasted a second thank god! any longer and I think I may have quit (cause just working their is stressful enough, not to mention working there and being in trouble to). WEll the principle told be it was quite loud and I was like no SHIT, THey were warned and I am just a skinny lil’ white boy not an abrasive bullheaded Pig that students normally encounter. Well anyhoot after the lashing, I proceeded to tell her HOW GREAT THE kids did on their art project and how much productivity was taking place (mind you this bullheaded bitch was not looking at me, or even giving me the dignity I deserved; as a human being you know) IT was basically that I would have done better if i had left that office and talked to the fucking wall on my way out tell it my fabulous story of how the students learned all about the color wheel and made one just like I had explained, and labeled that color wheel before I could even tell them for the tenth time…….. Thank you for this site its so refreshing to know I am human and there are others out there like myself…..


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