Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Dissing a Former Student
I do not care for some students – not so much for overt disrespect, but because they liked me as a clown and a comedian, and took every opportunity to walk all over me and call it good.
Karl B. was one of those students – a clown who refused to do any work. At the time, he was a junior in the class that I was covering long-term at Hawthorne High School. He liked to chant my name over and over, like some kind of sick and empty mantra.
I gave the kid four chances to complete an important assignment, which he refused to do. His own mother had offered to sit in class with him if he failed to behave. She offered any support to humiliate her son into behaving. I have solicited such assistance in the past, only to regret it, since as soon as the parent went home, the child would go right back to misbehaving. A junior in high school –and he needed to have his Mommy sit with him. That should have been enough for me to run off that campus and not look back.
I saw this kid once in Hollyglen – West Hawthorne, or what I call “Nice-Nice Hawthorne”, in the wealthier part to the immediate West of the 405 Freeway.
I walked out of the nearby fast-food stop, and he hollered at me: “Schaper!” I quietly nodded my hand, then moved on.
Did this kid really think that I would be ecstatic about seeing him in public? He was a crappy student, pure and simple, out of line and out of control much of time, too old to be acting so young, but still as immature as ever. This is a shamble-ramble shame, and I had permitted it for too long.
I see no value in friendship with many students. The deserve parents, fathers, not pals, not friends. I cannot believe that so many people go into this profession seeking warm fuzzies form students. The whole profession is about having something to give, no getting something to have. This whole topsy-turvy approach to education is hurting everyone, including the students who have no discipline, boundaries, or support at home.
Finally, on that evening I outlined a boundary for myself, one which I am sure that Karl did not notice, nor do I care - and that's the way that it needs to be. Teachers are not called to the pals who get along to go along, a dynamic which is taking hold all over the state of California, it seems, both in public and private classes, schools, seminars.
Stability for the students cannot be rooted in the well-being or the good mood of a teacher. Teacher gets to pull rank when things get tough, when the hard decisions need to be made, and students have to learn to sit down and shut up. Authority must be recognized. If students do not like being told what to do, then they should take every opportunity to try to make it in the world on their own.
Dissing a former student can be a high calling, especially when the student still has failed to learn appropriate boundaries with adults and peers. I am not the students' buddy. I am not the clown. These empty ideas serve no one in any way, in the end wasting a great deal of time -- and no one learns anything.