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Inner city school problems

---------

From: Correll Corbett (eccorbett_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Oct 25 2000 - 22:34:08 PDT


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This is the first time I have written to the list and hope to fins some =
answers to a perplexing problem. I have been teaching art for a while - =
part time in an after school program and full time for a Catholic boys =
school and yet I have never encountered this situation. Part of my =
after school situation was in one of the inner city neighborhoods and =
again I have never encountered this. What can be done about the =
distruction of art room furniture, building and materials?! This =
school is a magnet fine arts school, from pre-k to eighth grade. Only =
the middle school until recently, when strings were added, was magnet =
fine arts. Some kids are bussed in and supposedly want to be there. =
Others are not bussed and do not want to be there. The counselors put =
anyone in the classes whether they have experience or not. They have =
put as many as 35 + in my classes and I do not have supplies or places =
for them to sit. I have one advanced class and some of those students =
do not belong in there either. It is smaller (20) which helps and our =
magnet coordinator is trying to help but it will not make much =
difference if there is no respect for quality from most of the =
administrators. Supposedly there is a teacher shortage and the students =
must be placed somewhere sooooo it is in the magnet fine arts wing. I =
have as many as seven, plus learning disabled students in one class. =
Mostly they are reading disabled, but some of them have severe mental =
problems. It can be quite catholic at times. Today was one of those =
days. Sometimes the security folks come when called and sometimes they =
do not. One of the "bac" students was released from this category just =
today and I was not told. He had an aid until two weeks ago when she =
was put in another part of the school. This student began on the same =
tangent that he has been on while in BAC which is complete lack of =
respect for teachers. He thinks they are all against him and that his =
behavior is the result of teacher's actions. My class was compromised =
by this child's behavior. He stirs up everyone. Another student comes =
to my door and jump kicks the door. He was recently kicked out of =
another school for behavior problems. He has alcoholic parents and I =
think he halucinates, anyway he taks incessantly during instruction and =
class time. Ninety minutes is a long time to put up with trying to calm =
him enough so that I can teach. =20

We have block scheduling and so on alternating days we have no planning =
periods at all. On the days that we do, then we have almost too much =
time and can not leave campus to take care of purchases or whatever. We =
are somewhat at the beck and call of the administrators for conferences, =
etc. The time would be better spent if divided between the two days. =
Actually writing about this program makes it sound really bad. It has =
its moments, but the sad thing is that there are parents who want their =
kids to be in the school and send them there with high expectations. It =
is these children who lose out. They have to put up with the students =
who are seriously in need of individual psychological help. I try to =
focus on the good students, but it is difficult to do this with people =
"acting out" like a psycho ward. I have come to the conclusion that =
mainstreaming is only useful for a very few and in a carefully monitored =
situation. An art class where responsible behavior is necessary is not =
the place for these children. It only stirs up whatever insecurities =
they have. I can not work one on one with them and they cause severe =
disruption. They won't even work with the G/T kids.=20

One of the major problems is the lack of respect for materials and the =
non caring attitude of some of the most callused students. This =
attitude is beginning to rub off on me. I have a child who is fifteen =
and so is close to my student's ages, but this has not even been a good =
source of information. I have tried to think of all sorts of ways to =
resolve the materials problem and everything tried so far has not =
worked. There were not many supplies left from last year and the art =
teacher who served before me told me she used what had been ordered =
previously. There was not much left and I have permission to order =
supplies, but I am hesitant to bring in new stuff to be torn up and =
stolen. I think I know who the culprits, but I am not sure. I thought =
of limiting the new supplies only to the one magnet class, but there are =
one or two folks in there as well. I have labeled stuff, used the =
collateral system and several other things such as signing out, etc.., =
but to no avail, things are disappearing. I have even taken to locking =
my office door behind me when I go across the room... which is huge. I =
do have some students who produce wonderful art work and do care... they =
are like gold. Unfortunately, they are the ones who do listen and =
respond when notes are sent for supplies... the rest do not even bother. =
This art class has had three teachers last year, with one teacher =
returning to the elementary level this year. They had one teacher go =
nuts in the classroom the year before, but he was under another =
principal. The students take great pride in thinking they can run off =
teachers who do not let them do just as they please. The current =
principal has been there only six months and the magnet coordinator is =
brand new, like me. Actually he is the most effective of the two. He =
wants to raise the level of expectation for the fine arts academy. There =
is the possibility that the school will be torn down if the TAAS scores =
and performance record do not go up. When I was hired the principal told =
me that the students I would have would be magnet and that they wanted =
to be there. She told me that she felt safe there. She did not tell me =
about the numbers in my classroom and the great number of mainstreamed =
students. She actually had a group of counselors come in from another =
school to schedule students. This was a huge mistake because they did =
not know the kids. I am supposed to have two classes of magnet students =
besides the one 8th grade level. I have only one magnet class and all =
the rest are "general." Some folks do not speak English and have to have =
translation which creates much talking... plus they think it is okay to =
talk all the time. Even after they have been told not to talk. I do try =
to play classical music for back ground calmness, but sometimes this =
gets foiled as well. Any suggestions would be quite helpful. I am in a =
district class room management group, but some of this information is =
not applicable for my situation. As a first year teacher (MEd. in =
curriculum and instruction) in HISD, (Houston) with experience, I do =
not get a paid mentor. I found one of the fine arts teachers who will =
act as my buddy, but is doing this out of friendship. Perhaps I was =
quite mistaken thinking that since the Central district wants to show =
case fine arts during the current school year, that it would make a =
difference. I am not sure at this moment and if my contributions will =
even make a dent. Anyway, I do need feed back soon, please.

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<HTML>
<HEAD>

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</HEAD>
<BODY bgColor=3D#ffffff>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2>This is the first time I have =
written to the=20
list and hope to fins some answers to a perplexing problem. I have been =
teaching=20
art for a while - part time in an after school program and full time for =
a=20
Catholic boys school and yet I have never encountered this =
situation.&nbsp; Part=20
of my after school situation was in one of the inner city neighborhoods =
and=20
again I have never encountered this.&nbsp; What can be done about the=20
distruction of art room furniture,&nbsp; building and materials?!&nbsp; =
This=20
school is a magnet fine arts school, from pre-k to eighth grade.&nbsp; =
Only the=20
middle school until recently, when strings were added, was magnet fine =
arts.=20
Some kids are bussed in and supposedly want to be there.&nbsp; Others =
are not=20
bussed and do not want to be there.&nbsp; The counselors put anyone in =
the=20
classes whether they have experience or not.&nbsp; They have put as many =
as 35 +=20
in my classes and I do not have supplies or places for them to sit. I =
have&nbsp;=20
one advanced class and some of those students do not belong in there=20
either.&nbsp; It is smaller (20) which helps and our magnet coordinator =
is=20
trying to help but it will not make much difference if there is no =
respect for=20
quality from most of the administrators. Supposedly there is a teacher =
shortage=20
and the students must be placed somewhere sooooo it is in the magnet =
fine arts=20
wing.&nbsp; I have as many as seven, plus learning disabled students in =
one=20
class.&nbsp; Mostly they are reading disabled, but some of them have =
severe=20
mental problems. It can be quite catholic at times.&nbsp; Today was one =
of those=20
days. Sometimes the security folks come when called and sometimes they =
do not.=20
One of the &quot;bac&quot; students was released from this category just =
today=20
and I was not told.&nbsp; He had an aid until two weeks ago when she was =
put in=20
another part of the school. This student began on the same tangent that =
he has=20
been on while in BAC which is complete lack of respect for =
teachers.&nbsp; He=20
thinks they are all against him and that his behavior is the result of =
teacher's=20
actions.&nbsp; My class was compromised by this child's behavior. He =
stirs up=20
everyone.&nbsp; Another student comes to my door and jump kicks the =
door. He was=20
recently kicked out of another school for behavior problems.&nbsp; He =
has=20
alcoholic parents and I think he halucinates, anyway he taks incessantly =
during=20
instruction and class time.&nbsp; Ninety minutes is a long time to put =
up with=20
trying to calm him enough so that I can teach.&nbsp; </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2>We have block scheduling and so on =
alternating=20
days we have no planning periods at all.&nbsp; On the days that we do, =
then we=20
have almost too much time and can not leave campus to take care of =
purchases or=20
whatever.&nbsp; We are somewhat at the beck and call of the =
administrators for=20
conferences, etc.&nbsp; The time would be better spent if divided =
between the=20
two days. Actually writing about this program makes it sound really =
bad.&nbsp;=20
It has its moments, but the sad thing is that there are parents who want =
their=20
kids to be in the school and send them there with high =
expectations.&nbsp; It is=20
these children who lose out.&nbsp; They have to put up with the students =
who are=20
seriously in need of individual psychological help.&nbsp; I try to focus =
on the=20
good students, but it is difficult to do this with people &quot;acting =
out&quot;=20
like a psycho ward.&nbsp; I have come to the conclusion that =
mainstreaming is=20
only useful for a very few and in a carefully monitored situation.&nbsp; =
An art=20
class where responsible behavior is necessary is not the place for these =

children.&nbsp; It only stirs up whatever insecurities they have. I can =
not work=20
one on one with them and they cause severe disruption. They won't even =
work with=20
the G/T kids. </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2>One of the major problems is the =
lack of respect=20
for materials and the non caring attitude of some of the most callused=20
students.&nbsp; This attitude is beginning to rub off on me.&nbsp; I =
have a=20
child who is fifteen and so is close to my student's ages, but this has =
not even=20
been a good source of information.&nbsp; I have tried to think of all =
sorts of=20
ways to resolve the materials problem and everything tried so far has =
not=20
worked.&nbsp; There were not many supplies left from last year and the =
art=20
teacher who served before me told me she used what had been ordered=20
previously.&nbsp; There was not much left and I have permission to order =

supplies, but I am hesitant to bring in new stuff to be torn up and=20
stolen.&nbsp; I think I know who the culprits,&nbsp; but I am not sure. =
I=20
thought of limiting the new supplies only to the one magnet class, but =
there are=20
one or two folks in there as well.&nbsp; I have labeled stuff, used the=20
collateral system and several other things such as signing out, etc.., =
but to no=20
avail, things are disappearing.&nbsp; I have even taken to locking my =
office=20
door behind me when I go across the room... which is huge.&nbsp; I do =
have some=20
students who produce wonderful art work and do care... they are like =
gold.&nbsp;=20
Unfortunately, they are the ones who do listen and respond when notes =
are sent=20
for supplies... the rest do not even bother.&nbsp; This art class has =
had three=20
teachers last year, with one teacher returning to the elementary level =
this=20
year. They had one teacher go nuts in the classroom the year before, but =
he was=20
under another principal.&nbsp; The students take great pride in thinking =
they=20
can run off teachers who do not let them do just as they please.&nbsp; =
The=20
current principal has been there only six months and the magnet =
coordinator is=20
brand new, like me. Actually he is the most effective of the two. He =
wants to=20
raise the level of expectation for the fine arts academy. There is the=20
possibility that the school will be torn down if the TAAS scores and =
performance=20
record do not go up. When I was hired the principal told me that the =
students I=20
would have would be magnet and that they wanted to be there.&nbsp; She =
told me=20
that she felt safe there.&nbsp; She did not tell me about the numbers in =
my=20
classroom and the great number of mainstreamed students. She actually =
had a=20
group of counselors come in from another school to schedule =
students.&nbsp; This=20
was a huge mistake because they did not know the kids. I am supposed to =
have two=20
classes of magnet students besides the one 8th grade level.&nbsp; I have =
only=20
one magnet class and all the rest are &quot;general.&quot; Some folks do =
not=20
speak English and have to have translation which creates much talking... =
plus=20
they think it is okay to talk all the time.&nbsp; Even after they have =
been told=20
not to talk. I do try to play classical music for back ground&nbsp; =
calmness,=20
but sometimes this gets foiled as well.&nbsp; Any suggestions would be =
quite=20
helpful.&nbsp; I am in a district class room management group, but some =
of this=20
information is not applicable for my situation.&nbsp; As a first year =
teacher=20
(MEd. in curriculum and instruction)&nbsp; in HISD, (Houston)&nbsp; with =

experience, I do not get a paid mentor.&nbsp; I found one of the fine =
arts=20
teachers who will act as my buddy, but is doing this out of friendship. =
Perhaps=20
I was quite mistaken thinking that since the Central district wants to =
show case=20
fine arts during the current school year, that it would make a =
difference.&nbsp;=20
I am not sure at this moment and if my contributions will even make a =
dent.=20
Anyway, I do need feed back soon, please.</FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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