1. Slappydappy
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    Slappydappy New Member

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    About to go through my own Hero's Journey at work (ref. Joseph Campbell)

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Slappydappy, Apr 9, 2012.

    I am a high school teacher and I have a student who is making my life hell. This student constantly complains to the principles about everything I do, says that I HATE them, that I have a hard class, that I am mean, that they've given up and it's my fault. They bring their parents into the drama as well. This kid does nothing but complain in class, disrupt, use foul language, etc. This student also told the principle that I party and drink alot, I come to work hammered, and I don't teach anything. By the way, this is the ONLY student who does this.

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    I have a great relationship with my other students, we have fun, and we learn. I don't know what this kid's problem is (outside of just having bad parenting), but it's wrecking my life. A counselor told me that news of this has spread to the rest of the administration. This kid is soiling my reputation and making me hate my job. I've had to write this student up many times and contact their parents, who even starting blaming me at one point. This student also tells other kids to do the same, to get their parents to complain about me.

    So now it begins. I've realized I am now at a crossroads. I can't help but hate this kid. This student represents pretty much all the negative forces of the world. I believe their soul is lost. Never heard one positive thing out of their mouth, never seen them do anything good. But when I look at the Hero's Journey, I see now where I am.

    Previously, I had been writing this person up and fighting against them. Stating that I am right and they are wrong. I can't do this anymore, I am losing. I have Refused the Call, and I finally realized this (standing in line at Wal-Mart, of all places). I have tried to avoid the problem using rules, logic, and force. To just make it go away, and it just keeps getting worse.

    So now, starting this week, I am going to accept The Call and begin the Hero's Journey. I know it sounds corny, but I firmly believe in Campbell's work. I am also a Christian, so it is my duty to help this person, not leave their soul to die.

    I can't put into words how incredibly hard this is. I am going to have to smile at this person, to be compassionate towards them, to be positive with them (which I've pretty much done all along anyways). But I guess I just have to ramp it up a bit and put more effort into this individual's happiness. It's going to require changes in me. I am going to have to change to do this.

    As for Supernatural Aid, I believe God is with me and is going to help me with this. I've prayed about it and I feel confident that I am ready. Looks like starting this week, I will enter into the Crossing of the First Threshold. Not sure what the first Guardian will be, any guesses?

    Sorry for the long read, I just thought someone might find it interesting. I could even update this later if anyone cares.
  2. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Member

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    Can't really comment on the situations since I don't know the details or personalities involved. But I will ask a couple questions.

    Is he salvageable and how much will the effort short change the rest of the class?
    Is what your doing in the best interest of the class, student or are you doing it because you some how feel morally compelled?
    Are you the best person to address his issues or is it something better handled by someone else with more experience?

    Wanting to do what's right and actually doing something of value can often be two didn't things.
  3. Slappydappy
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    Slappydappy New Member

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    I actually agree with you completely. I've thought about how the changes will affect the rest of the class. I've also thought about getting more help from the counselors, AP's, etc. But after the meetings I've had with them, I'm pretty much on my own. The parents are useless, so that's out of the picture.

    All I know for sure is, I must do something different, and it's going to require me to change something I am doing/thinking. If I don't, my life is going to keep getting worse till summer break. And not just that, it could affect my job security as well. You never know with these things.
  4. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Member

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    The first question to ask is whether he has a behavioral problem or an environmental conflict. If it's an environmental issue, is it personality or methodology.

    Is this the only class he exhibits problems in?
    Is there another class he could be placed in if his schedule was changed?
    If an aid is in the room does he change?
    If there's a sub how does he react?

    A lot of times when talking to parents if they see your main interest is that of concern for their child then they are more likely to cooperate. Never tell them their child has a problem. You say you don't think the child is developing to their full potential. Will the child participate in a reasoned conversation if someone else is there?

    Most kids like most humans are visually oriented but there are those who are more verbally oriented and get frustrated with some curriculum. There are any number of potential issues. It's a matter of observations, adjustments, resources and options.
  5. Slappydappy
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    Slappydappy New Member

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    I will try to answer those questions as best as I can. Keep in mind, you might be an early Ally in the Journey. Sorry couldn't help myself :)

    1. I've heard from other teachers that this student exhibits the same bad characteristics in classes they have their closest friends with. I've isolated said student from those friends, as together, their behavior is exponentially worse.

    2. The school has a policy against teacher changes. The student has already tried several times. Administration said the final answer is no.

    3. I don't have any Aids and will never get one

    4. I've never had a sub report a problem with that class, however, subs never really report anything

    I had a meeting with the father of this child and I was as compassionate and realistic as I could possibly be. He seemed to just tune me out. Things got better after that meeting, but I can tell from emails/phone calls that the parents no longer care about the situation. I guess the year is almost over, so it's just a survival thing now.
  6. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Member

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    It sounds like people have just about given up on him, including his parents, and he knows it. Then the question is, is he a dangerous personality looking to bully and hurt? If not, is he a clown or feeling isolated looking for attention.
  7. Dryriver
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    Dryriver New Member

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    I see 4 possible reasons this kid does this:

    1) He's learning-impaired (attention deficit disorder, dyslexia or somesuch), and as a result cannot follow the teaching in class easily, or concentrate on doing school work at home. Instead of admitting the problem to himself, and attacking it, he is looking to shift-blame, and tries to blame the teacher for everything being wrong. (This would be an example of psychologically "projecting" negative traits - and with it the blame for the problem - onto someone else, namely the teacher).

    2) He is a victim of abuse/neglect outside of school (parrents in bad marriage, divorce, domestic violence, father drinks heavily, his younger siblings get all the attention in the family, or somesuch). He can't do anything about it outside of school (maybe his father handles him roughly, leaving him powerless), so he vents the suppressed anger/bad feelings from this problem in school instead, and looks for an easy target to abuse in turn (which would be you, the class teacher).

    3) The kid's going through typical, hormone-driven teen-growing-up psychological problems. Can't sit still in class. Wants to draw attention to himself. Maybe tries to impress the girls in class (and fails?), or his male class mates by picking a fight with the big, older teacher? In this case, he's too immature to handle/control what his body tells him to do. He needs someone to mess with or manipulate, because of his raging hormones, and he picks the teacher as an accessible "target"?

    4) The kid has a "bad seed" personality problem of sorts. Instead of trying to be "good", like most kids, he wants to be a "badass" instead. This could, again, be caused by neglect or abuse at home. It could be caused by watching the wrong sort of films, listening to gangster rap, hanging out with kids in the street who act like "badasses" as well.


    Its very hard to tell from a distance precisely what this kid's problem is, never having seen him (I assume that it is a "him"?).


    I would stay calm, patiently refute the accusations of "drinking" or "partying hard" when work colleagues inquire about it (at the end of the day, they will probably trust what you say far more than they trust this kid's accusations), and send this kid to see a qualified psychiatric councellor, so someone can get to the bottom of what his "real" problem is.

    I hope this helps in some way...
  8. Metus
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    Metus New Member

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    I'm not sure if you intend to try to "save his soul" or something, but keep in mind that he could sue the school and win if you try to convert him to christianity.
  9. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I know you guys are trying to be fair, and I commend you for that. You are obviously nicer folks than I am, and you seek workable solutions to complex problems.

    I'm sorry, I don't. You don't make his world better by making your own world worse. Speaking as a BP II, I can tell you that just having a mental condition is simply a contributing factor, never an excuse, to lash out. The kid is still accountable.

    If he's healthy, he has to toe the line like everyone else. If he's sick, it's time for the medical professionals. If he's a criminal, call the police.

    We are not sworn officers, we are not his parents, we are not his guardian angels. If I was the target of this abuse I can assure you he'd already be in handcuffs, and his parents facing one hell of a "intentional infliction of emotional distress" lawsuit.

    Go read what happens to fig trees that do not bear fruit.
  10. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Member

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    As a teacher his job is teaching kids. That doesn't mean he should put himself or others in danger. Nor does it mean he should sacrifice the other kids education for one bad apple.
    BUT, you don't make judgements based on emotion or without the facts. You don't assume or jump to conclusions. Determine the actual situation then deal with it. You would ask at least that much consideration if it was your ass on the line or your kids.
  11. Slappydappy
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    Slappydappy New Member

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    It's a female by the way, and not a dangerous one.
  12. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Member

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    Does your sense say it's a matter of rebellion, wanting attention, anger or frustration.
  13. Dryriver
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    Dryriver New Member

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    That's an interesting twist... From your original description, I figured that the student in question is a boy.
  14. Slappydappy
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    Slappydappy New Member

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    Oh it's all those things. You have to understand, she does not want to learn. She only wants to socialize with her friends and have fun. That's what makes this problem so hard to tackle. How do I teach her while validating her? How do I help her while helping the class? How do I focus on her and others? It's just what we do for a living I guess. But unfortunately, I have to do something, I can no longer be complacent and run that class the same way.
  15. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    You're right, of course. But my wife is a teacher and she's been assaulted. When the markers you've mentioned arise, you take more appropriate action. My wife's assault happened during the first year of tenure by a new principal, and he was being overly cautious.

    In my area we have female street gangs. While they murder less often, they are becoming as dangerous as any other group, or demographic.
  16. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Member

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    No problem, we all have some experience or other that leaves some emotional baggage. Especially when loved ones are involved. And yes females can be just as violent as males under certain conditions but generally are less prone to violence. Though I'm not sure I should say that around here, referring to facts & statistics could start an argument.
  17. Just Jon
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    I'm sorry you're having such a rough time with this student. It has to be crazy frustrating. I'd be pulling my hair out.

    My advice may not sound very kind, but I think you should just let her go. I wish we could save all of them, but some of them you will never reach. You can throw all the lines you want, but some of them will never grab on.

    There may be circumstances in the girl's life that she is simply projecting on you. Maybe she's into drugs. Maybe she's been raped. Maybe her father/mother/neighbor molests her. You can only affect the hour a day that you are with her in a room full of students. You cannot fix the rest of her life.

    The real tragedy is that it sounds as if her parents are letting her go as well. If anyone in this should continue to reach out to a child in trouble, it is their parents. Sadly, there are too many parents today that prefer to let the school raise their children. Educate them. Teach them right from wrong. Teach them about sex, drugs, and life. Then they are surprised when their child screams "You don't know me at all!". When their child spends more time with teachers than they do with their very busy parents, who do they think is really raising their kid?

    At this point in the school year, there may be nothing you can do. I would try to keep your calm in class and make certain you protect yourself. Never allow yourself to be alone in a classroom or elsewhere with this child or even with her and just one or two of her friends. If she is making up stories about you, then you cannot provide her with a scenario to make the situation worse.
  18. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Member

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    Do you know what level of reading skills she has?

    To be honest, and I'm not trying to dish teachers, the state of schools today and curriculum is terrible. It's not geared to how people learn. Not all schools are the same and there are still some good schools but most seem more interested in making things convenient rather then teaching the kids. I know teachers who say they are caught in the middle with no place to turn.

    That doesn't mean a solution can't be found for this girl but I am wondering what your organizational situation is like. Are they just trying to get through the day or are they looking for solutions.
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Supporter Contributor

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    just jon's advice is the best, imo... i strongly suggest you take it and cya for the rest of the school year...
  20. jazzabel
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    jazzabel I do not like snoopy reporter Supporter Contributor

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    That kid would be in detention and down at principal's office every day if I was his/her teacher. Also, this level of manipulation should be a warning sign to never be alone with her, Basically, I agree with Jon's comment.
  21. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Agreed, but then what is the responsibility of the individual teacher? Frankly, the problem stems from 'zero tolerance' aministrators, lax parents and politcal correctness. Additionally, teachers are not all powerful embassadors, babysitters or Jedi Knights. They are employees with the same supposed protections as you or me on the job.

    "Kids are our future," that is, until you have to actually spend time with them. Then they take on the guise of a cocker spaniel puppy that needs to be house-broken. Everyone else, including their own parents, want someone else--anybody else--to clean up the errant pee.

    This extends to crimes, deviant drug behavior, truancy and now assaults.

    I buy a car, it's a lemon, it goes back to the dealership. Your kid is a loose nut, take him back to the parents. Don't expect the teacher operating under bizarre ROEs to do what you yourself would not.

    If your story encompasses aspects of teaching, or your background as a teacher influences your writing, use this as a plot point.
  22. superpsycho
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    The issue for me is one of responsibility as an adult and as a human being. As people we have gotten lazy when it comes to our immediate community. It's easy to say let someone else deal with it. I have seen adults and kids commit suicide because no one wanted to get involved. If she is beyond help that is one thing but until you know that for sure, why give up on a life. It seems easy to say life has value until it comes to doing more then giving it lip service.

    Sorry, I don't just turn a blind eye when there is still a chance if all it may take is a little time and thought.
  23. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    And whether the lead thinks this way or not affects the story. I drag my life around--pro and con--into the things I create on paper, why not a teacher?

    BTW, wouldn't the time period of the story also affect this concept? If written with 1950s values, a major student infraction would be chewing gum. Taken in a modern setting, the problems would be guns and metal detectors.

    And you could go against type. For example, one of the orangutans in the modern rendition of "The Planet of the Apes" hated handguns. This part was played by Charlton Heston.

    If the values of the author/teacher are important to either the plot or the author personally, they might take the opposing side of the issue to enhance the depth of the concerns.
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Supporter Contributor

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    story?

    is this whole thread about a story the op is writing?... i thought he was describing something he's having to deal with in real life... have i missed something?
  25. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Member

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    Class assignment.
    - What is the top three things you want to be when you grow up?
    - What are the last three things who want to be when you grow up?

    Theses two questions should be asked every year and the answers should be between the teacher and student only.

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