Tag Archives: excessive detentions

Back to School: Teachers Get Real

That's a watermark there, but I like to think of it as a black hole.

Back to the black hole of doom, guys!

Yeah, it’s back to school time, a time that is really only beneficial to retailers.  Working parents hate it because they have no time.  Stay-at-home parents hate it because they have a few minutes, between diaper changes, so hey go volunteer!  Kids hate it – well because it’s school.  I don’t care how cute the bulletin boards are, it’s gonna suck.

And, naturally, teachers hate it.  They are the ones stuck with our children all day.  So teachers have to give kids a hard time at the beginning so that they will know who is boss.  Unfortunately, the scary warnings only work on the kids who would be good anyway.  The troublemakers are just going to laugh, laugh, laugh and snort some cocaine off the page.

Keep your hands and weapons to yourselves, kiddos.

Keep your hands and weapons to yourselves, kiddos.

I kid, because my children go to suburban schools and everyone knows these students aren’t going to use plain old copy paper with their drugs, nor are they actively going to use them in front of the teacher.  So since suburban teachers don’t have the truly horrible problems that teachers at some inner-city schools face (lesson one: stay alive through 7th period), they have to make them up.

Here’s an example.  When Thing Two was in kindergarten, her teacher gave her detentions every day.  It’s not that my little darling didn’t deserve many of them. I do understand that the angrily scribbled note “Child was in boy’s restroom screaming down the hall” is kind of hard to debate.  But forgetting her lunch back in the classroom?  Yes, she got one for that.  At five.  Two years out of diapers.  Heck, I once forgot to pack her a lunch. Oh, I gave her the lunch sack, just no lunch.  I can still imagine the child opening that empty sack to this day.  Luckily I only received “Mom of Shame” for that one.

The thing with giving a detentions for a kid misbehaving is that it backfires. You were jumping around the classroom; now you miss recess!  The – one time when the kid CAN jump?  When you want them to jump until they collapse barely breathing and then you can actually tell them stuff?  The detention defeats that.  And giving detentions for something that isn’t even misbehavior is just as bad.  You end up with so many, it is no longer really a punishment.  Thing Two handed them to me like flyers.

Detention? Now I'll never get a job.

Detention? Now I’ll never get a job.

I remember back in the day – the day before Internet kids – when teachers just saved those things for when kids really did something bad, like say punching another kid, or the teacher.  Definitely deserved then.  But the other stuff is just silly.  And it doesn’t stop in kindergarten.  Thing One brought home a paper for me to sign for her art class yesterday.  It said “Any mechanical pencils left on the desk will result in a detention.  No mechanical pencils!!!”  Wow.  I get that you use “special” (ie expensive) pencils for art, but what the heck did a mechanical pencil do to her?  That seems a wee bit extreme.  Either she hasn’t been at that school long, or she’s been there WAY too long.

A lot of the teachers seemed pretty harried, judging by the number of times they used ALL CAPS in their warning, er, welcome letters.  I get that teaching is an incredibly hard job.  Both my parents did it, and they got out of it into the library and counseling, respectively, which are also awful, but not quite as bad.  I was an education major, and just ran altogether my senior year.  But I wonder what they give detentions for in those really tough schools they feature in movies like “Dangerous minds.”

  1. No semi-automatic weapons on the desk.  Please keep in backpacks.
  2. Do not leave heroin needles lying around.  Clean up after yourselves.
  3. If you wish to start creating the next generation, please do so in the privacy of your own locker.
  4. Please reserve making plans to rob the 7-11 for study hall.
  5. Tattoos are for art class.
  6. Please save gang warfare for Physical Education class.
  7. No shanking in the classroom, unless it’s science class and it’s a frog.
  8. No spitting, shooting, stabbing, stapling, severing, or stomping your teacher
  9. Save cell phones calls to pimps for after class
  10. Absolutely no mechanical pencils.

I think that about does it.  How is the school year going for you guys?

~ Alice