Posts Tagged ‘Student’

Dying Teacher on Journey to Find Out if he Made a Difference

December 24, 2012



One of the most difficult parts of being a teacher is letting your students go at the end of the year. Often we feel that there was more to be achieved and that if we were given more time, we could have further strengthened the child’s self-esteem and classroom skills. We also wonder if the progress made during under our tutelage will be built on by future teachers. And most of all, when that child looks back at their formative years, will they remember us?

I can understand how important it is for a dying teacher to find out if all the time and devotion spent on teaching his pupils actually made a difference:

David Menasche has stage-four brain cancer and is losing his battle after three operations, chemotherapy and radiation, USA Today reports.

After a recent seizure led to brain swelling and decreased vision, the 40-year-old Miami high school teacher realised he couldn’t keep teaching but didn’t want to sit at home doing nothing.

He posted a message on Facebook in August asking if any former students had a place for him to stay, and within two days students in 50 cities had replied.

He has visited 50 former students in 12 cities so far and says he wants to know whether he has been a good teacher.

“I am at the end of my life,” Mr Menasche said.

“I don’t know how much longer I have left, and I just wanted that sense of satisfaction that the time I did have I used well.”

He said his cancer treatment had caused extensive memory loss and he hoped his students’ stories would also help him remember.

“I don’t remember my childhood at all,” he said.

“In fact, I don’t remember anything prior to roughly 16 or 17 years old.

“And even the things that I was doing as a teacher are somewhat spotty.”

Last week, he slept on the couch of former student and aspiring screenwriter Stephen Palahach.

Mr Palahach said as a teacher Mr Menasche had known all the bands he and his friends listened to and had pushed him to be open-minded about what he read.

“I’ve had great teachers in my life, but he was really present in the moment,” Mr Palahach said.

Mr Menasche taught nearly 3000 students while working as an English teacher for 15 years.

An online fundraising campaign is helping to pay for his trip and he hopes to write a book about interviews with his students.

Click on the link to read Introducing the World’s Oldest Teacher

Click on the link to read School Shooting Showcases the Heroic Nature of Brilliant Teachers

Click on the link to read Meet the Armless Math Teacher

Click on the link to read School Fires Entire Staff!

Click on the link to read The Case of a Teacher Suspended for Showing Integrity

Click on the link to read Teaching is Worth It!

Should Teachers be able to Text Students?

November 4, 2012

I completely agree with Alan Howe, who argues that it should be a crime for teachers to text a student without sending the same message to the parents of the child.

Some recent court cases have me thinking that we should update another Victorian law – as quickly as we can.

A scan of the evidence given in a series of trials over the last seven years involving predatory teachers abusing children in their care shows an alarming correlation.

Eltham North physical education teacher Karen Ellis had sex with a 15-year-old student of hers. She said she was in love with him. She was then married, with three children.

You’d reckon a part-time job and three kids would keep a young mum busy enough, but multi-tasking Ellis found time to send one young man 499 text messages in three months.

They had sex six times before the boy’s mother worked things out.

Ellis, sounding as dumb as she looks, said that she might have still been with the boy had he been older and the circumstances different. But he wasn’t, and they weren’t.

After lenient County Court judge John Smallwood suspended her sentence, three Court of Appeal judges more sensibly decided Ellis should be jailed.

Another female phys ed teacher, Belinda Campbell, was suspended from teaching after being found to have kissed a boy to whom she sent 200 text messages.

The trend is as clear as your ring tone: predatory teachers are using text messages to criminally prepare kids for sex that not only disrupts their school years, but can scar them for life.

They prefer text messaging for several reasons:

It doesn’t involve a ringing phone that could attract a parent’s attention – you know, like the way you might ask your son why his phone had just gone off 1000 times.

A silent communication can also be made at any hour.

Unlike an email, of which there might be a physical manifestation such as a printout – a text message is slyly elusive.

And unlike a family laptop, the mobile is not a shared device. It’s in your pocket.

The problem is obvious, and so is the solution.

Any Victorian teacher sending a text message to a child under their care, supervision or authority should be required to copy in that student’s parent or guardian.

Not to do so should be a criminal offence.

There will be a small degree of inconvenience in this, like there is in passing through security at the airport.

But it will do the trick in an instant.

The Victorian Institute of Teachers disciplinary panel found her guilty of serious misconduct, but suspended her for only a year.

Click on the link to read 50 Ways To Use Skype In Your Classroom

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Click on the link to read Top 10 Math Apps for Children

Click on the link to read The Pros and Cons of iPads in the Classroom

School Calls Police to Stop A-Grade Student From Studying

June 21, 2012

Since when do we call an ambitious, conscientious and hardworking student a “nuisance”?

A BRITISH high school called police to remove a star pupil who refused to stop studying and leave the library.

Jamie Gagliardi, 18, was ejected from Ifield Community College in southern England, after refusing to leave the library, the Crawley News reported.

The school accused Mr Gagliardi, who is predicted to be an A-grade student, of being “obsessed” with after-school tuition and said that it called the police because the pupil was causing a “nuisance.”

Mr Gagliardi, who was forced to call his mother to pick him up, said, “I have been punished for wanting to do well. I am a hard-working and dedicated student, and this could have such an impact on my future.”

The student went to the library despite being banned from the premises for the day as a punishment for interrupting the school principal during a meeting – to request extra revision sessions.

Marilyn Evans, the school’s director of administration, said, “He became vociferous and irritated that he couldn’t have after-school revision.”

She described Mr Gagliardi as a “top student” who should do well in his exams, but said he had been “causing a nuisance and a disturbance on the premises,” adding, “He is obsessed with doing after-school revision.”

A police spokeswoman confirmed that officers were called to the school to remove a “disruptive” pupil who was refusing to leave the premises, but said that Mr Gagliardi will not face any charges.

This case sends the wrong message for the school’s other students. Most schools would take that form of “disruptive student” over the ones they currently have.

Students Encouraged to Question … sometimes

May 21, 2012

I am a big advocate for encouraging children to think for themselves. I have no desire to brainwash my students or have them align their thinking to my own worldview. On the contrary, little gives me more pleasure than watching my students reach their own conclusions and engage in a robust exchange of ideas. On the flip side, it can be a bit disappointing that many children are so used to being spoonfed and mollycoddled , that it is becoming quite rare for a young child to form their own ideas.

That’s why I was deeply disturbed to read about the teacher who publicly chastised her student for daring to criticise President Obama:

A North Carolina high school teacher was captured on video shouting at a student who questioned President Obama and suggesting he could be arrested for criticizing a sitting president. 

The Salisbury Post, which first reported on the YouTube video, did not identify the teacher in question, who is reportedly on staff at North Rowan High School. The video does not show faces, but the heated argument in the classroom can clearly be heard. 

“Do you realize that people were arrested for saying things bad about Bush?” the teacher said toward the end of the argument, telling the student, “you are not supposed to slander the president.” 

The student told the teacher that one can’t be arrested “unless you threaten the president.” 

The argument started when the classroom began discussing news reports that Mitt Romney bullied a fellow student when he was in high school. 

“Didn’t Obama bully somebody though?” a student in the classroom asked, referring to an incident Obama described in his memoir “Dreams From My Father.” 

The teacher said she didn’t know — and the argument quickly escalated, as the teacher yelled at the student, telling him “there is no comparison.” 

“He’s running for president,” she said of Romney. “Obama is the president.”

 The student argued that both candidates are “just men,” but the teacher said: “Let me tell you something … you will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom.” 

According to the Salisbury Post, the teacher is still employed and has not been suspended. 

“The Rowan-Salisbury School System expects all students and employees to be respectful in the school environment and for all teachers to maintain their professionalism in the classroom. This incident should serve as an education for all teachers to stop and reflect on their interaction with students,” the school said in a statement, published by the Post. “Due to personnel and student confidentiality, we cannot discuss the matter publicly.”

Ten Useful Tips for Improving Classroom Management

March 7, 2012

Every teacher has moments when they struggle to gain the attention, if not respect, of their class. has provided 10 useful strategies for improved classroom management.

1. Give at least one warning.

They’re kids. Kids aren’t perfect. I call the name of the student who is disrupting the class, and I say, “That’s one.” Most of the time, that’s all the student needs to straighten up.

2. Don’t try and teach over the noise.

A lot of the student teachers I’ve had are guilty of this. I was guilty of this also when I first started teaching. You have a plan that you have to get through. You see a few students actually paying attention to you, so you don’t want to stop, even though you know the kids in the back are doing something other than listening to you. You can’t go on. You have to stop and either wait till you have all their attention or you have to deal with the students who are taking attention from you.

3. Don’t raise your voice. Stay in control.

When you yell at the students, you give up control, and the students win.

4. Don’t humiliate a student, especially in front of his/her friends.

It’s never a good idea to humiliate a student. Sometimes, when you call their name in front of the class for making noise, it becomes an embarrassing moment. Do your best to make it as short a moment as possible. Don’t go into a long lecture on proper behavior in front of the class. First of all, you may lose any hopes for future success with that student, and you might cause that student to become defensive and belligerent. Some students will risk everything to save face in front of their friends.

5. Spend time on your lesson plan.

My toughest days are when my plan is the weakest. A detailed lesson plan will go a long way to reduce your class disruptions. You can’t just “wing it,” and expect the class to run smoothly.

6. Be consistent.

If one day you give a consequence for poor behavior, and tomorrow you don’t, it’s sends a bad message.

7. Have a discipline ladder.

What is the consequence for the first offence? Second? Make sure the kids know what will happen at each level. Also, make it a short ladder. One = warning; Two = detention; Three = referral to the office, etc.

8. Forget yesterday’s poor behavior.

Make every day a new day, especially for those students who really made you mad yesterday.

9. Praise and remember good behavior.

It’s good to remind your students of how great they did yesterday or last week.

10. Don’t be afraid to contact parents.

Many times, the parents can help you reinforce your rules. Notice I didn’t say “All the times?” Some parents won’t do anything.

I hope these tips will make life easier for you in the classroom. If you have other strategies that have worked for you, please feel free to share them with us.

The Teacher Bashing Era Must End

February 26, 2012

Teachers have never been more criticised and devalued than they are right now. Whilst you can’t blame all negative incidents on a political and media campaign against teaching standards, I’m sure children pick up on the discontent in the wider community.

To read that three children in the 5th Grade twice attempted to poison their teacher, makes me wonder how children as young as that can rationalise in their own minds that killing their teacher would be a worthwhile solution to their problems:

Three California fifth-graders who confessed to using rat poison in attempts to harm their teacher are being moved to other schools.

The three students at Balderas Elementary School in Fresno admitted lacing the teacher’s coffee and a cupcake with rat poison in two separate incidents, according to the Fresno Teachers Association and published reports.

Miraculously, the teacher never took a sip of the coffee or a bite of the cupcake.

One of the three accused students apparently had a change of heart and knocked the coffee cup out of the teacher’s hand before she could drink from it.

The mid-December incidents came to light two months after they happened because a parent of one of the students bragged that her boy saved a teacher’s life.

No criminal charges have been filed against the two boys and one girl, according to ABC’s Fresno affiliate KFSN. The Fresno Police Department is continuing to investigate, but says there is little or no physical evidence remaining from the December incidents. The Fresno County district attorney’s office will decide whether to press charges against the children.

All three students have been expelled and moved to other schools, according to KFSN. The two boys are being transfered to the Phoenix Academy, which does not sit well with at least one of its teachers.

This story is quite sickening. I wonder if those students involved were in any way incited by a general lack of community respect for the teaching fraternity.

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