You Don’t Get Respect From Punishing Every Disorderly Act

The students involved would have got suspended in a less tolerant school. But this teacher shows up trigger-happy schools that suspend like it’s going out of fashion, when he decides to take a more thoughtful approach to reacting to a ruckus:

A Chicago magnet high school senior prank turned into an example of excellent school management when a dean took an unconventional approach to a feisty student’s challenging behavior last Tuesday.

In a video posted on YouTube and social news site Reddit, students on the second floor of Whitney M. Young High School in Illinois decide to stage a dance-battlesque senior prank.

Teens begin to bang on chairs and tables, and the students start hollering. One boy, with the loud support of his peers, runs up to a faculty member’s doorway and dances in front of a woman’s face.

The student then circles the space, looking for another challenger, when a man in a white shirt and tie catches his eye. The young man takes a flying leap, lands in front of the teacher’s nose and begins to dance furiously.

What happens next, however, is both hilarious and unexpected.

Clearly amused, the administrator, identified in the video as Dean of Students John Fanning, takes the boy’s hijinks in stride, breaking out into a dance of his own that looks an awful lot like a version of an Irish jig.

“Like any kid who grew up in [predominantly Irish Chicago neighborhood] Rogers Park, I was dragged to Irish dance classes,” Fanning told The Huffington Post.

The post on Reddit is titled “Teacher strikes back in the best way possible,” and many of the comments commended the teacher for his response. “No one got assaulted, no one got insulted, everything was awesome,” user “ppcpunk” wrote.

Why get angry? Fanning asked. “As senior pranks go, it’s pretty tame and innocuous,” he said.

Click on the link to read The Dog Eat Dog Style of Education

Click on the link to read Problem Kids, Suspensions and Revolving Doors

Click on the link to read Useful Resources to Assist in Behavioural Management

Click on the link to read When Something Doesn’t Work – Try Again Until it Does


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One Response to “You Don’t Get Respect From Punishing Every Disorderly Act”

  1. John Tapscott Says:

    A high school I taught in where all but 1 or 2 students were indigenous had an absenteeism rate of about 50%; most days only half the students enrolled attended. There was also a high incidence of behaviour issues, ranging from task refusal to assault. During the summer months on sports days the students were bussed to the local pool for organised activities on the lawns and a dip in the pool during breaks.

    One such afternoon I noticed a group of about 5 or 6 senior girls sitting in the shade of a tree on the other side of the pool and not being involved in the activities. My misguided sense of duty prompted me to confront them in an attempt to encourage them to join in the activities.

    Instead I was derelict in my duties. I reasoned that if I approached them in such a way I would achieve nothing but aggravation. The girls would have objected, using the kind of language that was common in that community, told me to “f” off, and remained precisely where they were. My reason also proceeded thus:

    1. They are at school and not hanging around down the street.
    2. They are not causing problems for anyone.
    3. Tactically ignore them.

    Presently I noticed a younger teacher had also seen them. Immediately he marched into their presence and began berating them about where they ought to have been in a most officious manner. They told him to “f” off. He threatened them with detention. (What does detention mean in a school where half the kids don’t turn up? If they don’t turn up for lessons you can bet they won’t turn up for detention. And they didn’t.) It ended with the girls remaining exactly where they were and a most irate and frustrated young teacher.

    Sometimes half a loaf is better than no loaf at all, wouldn’t you think?

    At the same school I taught the class for students with behaviour problems, which was supposed to have a maximum of 7 students in the room. When I began working there this was not a problem. Only one or two kids ever turned up. Why should they? The syllabus was rigorously enforced, which meant that grade 7 students had to do grade 7 work despite the fact that most of them had literacy and numeracy around grade 2 level. It was an exercise in futility. I ignored the syllabus and provided my students with work at a more appropriate level of difficulty. Soon I was getting 3, then 4 and eventually 7 students turning up on a regular basis.

    It wasn’t all plain sailing but I soon learned that if I had a behaviour issue I was on my own. If I needed a head teacher there was rarely one available.

    There were always students out of class roaming around the school making a nuisance of themselves wherever possible. One day I had a group of about 6 turn up at my classroom, where my boys were working on a maths exercise. I directed these wanderers to their own classroom to no avail. Then I told them if they wouldn’t go they had to do the same work my boys were doing. Soon I had a dozen kids in the room, all quiet and actively engaged in a maths exercise.

    Suddenly from nowhere appeared a head teacher who immediately began remonstrating with my “visitors” about being out of class, and “get out of there and go back to room 8, where you are supposed to be.” Eventually after much nagging and bullying the “visitors” departed. My class was in an uproar and it took me a couple of hours to get them settled. For what? So some young and inexperienced dictator could get her ego stroked by being able to say to herself, “I won”. By the way, the “visitors” didn’t return to their correct class and the head teacher didn’t pursue that. They continued to wander about the school causing irritation for teachers in other classes.

    I was gobsmacked.

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