kitchen table math, the sequel: teachers in the hall, lockers in the homeroom

Monday, April 11, 2011

teachers in the hall, lockers in the homeroom

from The Fragile Success of School Reform in the Bronx
By JONATHAN MAHLER
Published: April 6, 2011
Upon arrival at 223, students pass through a gantlet of smiling teachers. Gonz├ílez requires that faculty members stand outside their doors at the start of the school day, part of his effort to set the school off from the grim streets surrounding it. “In our location, kids have to want to come to school,” he says. “This is a very sick district. Tuberculosis, AIDS, asthma rates, homeless shelters, mental-health needs — you name the physical or social ill, and we’re near the top for the city. Which means that when our kids come to school in the morning, when they come through that door, we have to welcome them.”

There’s another, no less compelling reason for this policy: posting teachers outside their classrooms helps maintain order in the hallways. It’s one of a number of things, like moving students’ lockers into their homerooms, that Gonz├ílez has done to ensure that kids spend as little time as possible in the halls, where so much middle-school trouble invariably begins. (Chaotic hallways also tend to make for chaotic classrooms.)
I went to an NEA session on bullying in schools a couple of weeks ago. The presenter stressed that the adults in the school - including "ESPs" (education support personnel, I think) - are the ones who must deal with bullying.

You can't leave it up to the kids and their parents. Kids aren't grownups, and parents aren't on site.

1 comment:

Catherine Johnson said...

This is another reason why I'm not a fan of character education.

In my district, the teacher contract apparently relieves teachers of most supervisory duties so the kids are **very** lightly supervised in the hall, at lunch, on the playground, at bus stops, and on the bus.

When the middle school had a blow-up over anti-Semitic 'trash talk' last school year, the district's response was to form a diversity committee and to talk about character education. (The initial response was to refuse to deal with it.)

But a committee isn't on site and we've already had character education for years with no apparent results.

We need grownups stationed in the places where bullying happens.