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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 02 2008

Damage control

I’m concerned. Everyday I am more and more convinced that my one problem student has some serious problem that is even deeper than I imagined. I think he was really mad at me because I told him after his 3rd time out that he needed to get rid of his scowl before joining the class. He gets this look on his face where he purses his lips and squints his eyes and stares at you. I have seen it probably at least once an hour everyday he comes to school. Today, after spending the whole day being difficult he wrote on the back of his behavior sheet that “Ms. D grabbed me and scratched me and made me bleed.” Thankfully the tattle tale that sits next to him tattled on him and I was able to intercept and do damage control before the note got home to mom. I took him aside and told him, “What you wrote is not true.” He said “Yes it is, look” and showed me his wrist which had an old scab on it. “I did not do that to you.” “Yes you did, this morning.” “This morning you were in reading class with Mr. C.” He continued to insist that I gave him the scratch. I talked to my lead teacher and he said to document it so we could tell an administrator tomorrow. I wasn’t willing to wait because mom already doesn’t like me. I went to the school social worker whose room is next to mine and told her the situation, she looked at the scab, looked at my fingernails and said ” First of all, Ms. D doesn’t even have long fingernails and secondly that is an old scab.” He lied and lied and finally changed his story. She took him to the nurse who confirmed that it was an old scab.

I’m worried that one day somebody is going to say something about me that will hurt my career. Without a union to back me up I don’t know what would happen.

He’s done this before, once as I was writing a referral he said “I’m going to tell my mom that you hit me.” So I just added it to the referral. I’m worried that he’s going to wisen up and stop telling me in advance what he is going to tell his mom some lie about me physically harming him.

One Response

  1. Yikes, that is concerning. The really disturbing thing is that you know that is a learned (or at least encouraged) behavior. NC is also a non-union state and I am *always* worried about something like that happening. I even shelled out for Pre-Paid Legal for just that reason.

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An Elementary School Teacher in the Show Me State

St. Louis
Elementary School
Elementary Education

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