I’ve been thinking about teacher safety lately. Because of privacy laws, we are not privy to information about particular students. But should we be? If a student has had previously violent behavior or been incarcerated, do we have the right to know? What about the other students? At what point do the individual rights of one student override the safety of 25 others?
I usually don’t worry about my safety in my school. I don’t exactly provoke students into fits of rage… Even if they are being dinks, I usually make a game out of it with myself and don’t LET them get to me. Some kids, no matter how calm or reasonable you are with them, they still fly off the handle. Their lives are in chaos and that’s all they know. They respond in completely inappropriate ways – usually swearing at you or about you – and don’t get it that they’re in the wrong.
This week I had an incident where I dealt with a student that was clearly in the wrong. He didn’t like it and as a result, spewed a bunch of word vomit at me. I was applying the puke shield analogy in my mind. I was just glad to send him out, knowing that he wouldn’t be back for awhile.
About 10 minutes later, I’m doing a problem at the overhead projector and I hear from the hallway, “F-in bitch, here’s your G D book!” and in comes the book – flying in my direction. I’ve never been glad that we’ve got these enormous textbooks that weigh a ton. But that day I definitely was!
I do not know the entire history of this student. But I do know that he has spent time in some sort of juvenile detention facility. Other than that, I’m in the dark. When a student is that volatile, shouldn’t I have the right to know what I’m dealing with? Would you want your kid in class with him?