A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Saber (uh, table)-rattling

Hey, another lesson for you young-uns: don't rattle a table too hard, or a student may whip out their phone and call the po-lice:
An eighth-grade math teacher at Atherton's Selby Lane School rattled a table to get his students' attention Tuesday afternoon, police said.

He succeeded on that score.

But the demonstration landed him on paid administrative leave.

Officers went to the campus at 2:26 p.m. to check on reports of a teacher causing a disturbance in a classroom and possibly throwing objects, said Sgt. Tim Lynch of the Atherton Police Department. When officers arrived, however, they found a calm teacher with class in session and determined nothing had been thrown.

Lynch said it appears the teacher's table-rattling act startled a female student who left the class and called police from a cell phone.

"My impression by talking to her was that she was disturbed by what the teacher was doing," Lynch said.

Most of the students in the class weren't bothered by the teacher's actions, Lynch said. Though the teacher "dramatically" made his point, "it wasn't a teacher out of control," he added.

Redwood City School District Deputy Superintendent John Baker said the teacher will remain on leave pending an investigation. He said he didn't know what specifically happened and would interview the teacher, the student and her parents in the coming days, as well as other students.

No complaints have been lodged against the teacher in the past, Baker said.

The district put the teacher on leave because of the police response and the nature of the complaint, he said.

And exactly why is it that the teacher receives the consequence? Although it IS paid leave. If that means he doesn't have to write lesson plans, I guess it wouldn't actually be a punishment....

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At 3/3/11, 2:55 AM, Blogger PamelaTrounstine said...

Atherton is a small district (near me) that will likely deal with this situation promptly. You can hear the 9-1-1 tape here:
People are up in arms with the "rubber room" stories, all these "bad" teachers paid to sit in a room doing nothing. But they are there for the same reason this poor math teacher went home today... some kid who didn't want to study/do her homework/do math today/wants revenge accused the math teacher over losing his chit, when it sounds like what really happened is the equivalent of dropping a fat physics book on the floor next to a sleeping student. She called 9-1-1 because if she went to the office, they'd laugh and bust her for leaving class.

There has got to be a limit on this kind of behavior, there should be consequences like there are for pulling a fire alarm, because right now there is nothing to prevent students from irreparably harming a teacher's reputation with one baseless accusation for revenge for a B- last grading period, etc.

I still don't understand how this "protects" the teacher so much as confusing the public into thinking there might be something to the student's complaint. But I suppose it could be pretty awkward to try and teach tomorrow, and no admin wants to spend the day checking in on the room.

At 3/3/11, 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I read this, the first thing that came to mind was wondering whether the student received an appropriate punishment? Then I read that there has been no punishment for the student. At the very least, she needs a consequence for using her cell phone during class time, leaving class, and not telling the truth.


At 3/4/11, 8:05 AM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

They're afraid to punish the student.

But they're not afraid to humiliate the teacher.

At 12/1/11, 3:07 AM, Anonymous www.webhablada.es said...

This will not actually have effect, I think so.


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