Write up, report, office referral, referral to ISS, Peer Mediator referral, counseling referral, whatever you want to call it when a teacher sends a notice to someone regarding the behavior (generally negative) of that particular student.
It’s something like an institution in the USA, teachers sending students to a “higher power” when discipline issues get out of hand.
Sometimes, you understand why, your son shouldn’t have really let loose the Fbomb in Chemistry when he saw his D on his latest test. Your daughter might have slapped her ex in front of the WHOLE cafeteria and there’s no denying that he felt it – and that it’s technically assault. Thank God they were at school instead of at the store!
But sometimes, those teachers get phone call and write-up happy, after all, boys will be boys and girls will be girls and they are young. We should know they have hormones and cut them some slack, right?
Awhile back, I started a new job at a middle school. I had replaced a gentleman who rightfully retired. Bless him!
One young lady wasn’t on board with having a new teacher. She had tried to quit Band the previous year and wasn’t allowed. She could already tell I was not her cup of tea.
She started low-key. Talking when I was talking, perky when she was correcting things I said (trying to undermine me). Disrespectful but not obviously enough for a write-up. I thought, “I’m like the evil stepmother, she feels threatened. I’ll try to meet her where she’s at.”
I took her into the hall and explained I wasn’t trying to replace anyone, give me a chance it’s been 3, 4, 6 days since class started. My words were punctuated with her eye rolls and teenage teeth sucking.
I kept on, recording the incident in my handy incident notebook.
She escalated behavior. Interrupting, yelling out during tests, picking on other students, arguing with me. I conferenced with her again, she stopped participating, I called home left a voicemail. I received no response, I wrote a letter home, photocopied it for evidence. Never got a response from anyone.
I started the write-up process. I had other teachers help me by talking to her about behavior. When she refused to play, I took note and made her sign below saying why.
Finally she had enough of me trying to reach her. She called me the B word and tried to get a group to come at me. They decided that was going a little too far, and she felt betrayed.
I had to write them all up, office referral style. Level 3. The principal had to call many code 2s, and parents had to come in.
Her parent was livid with me. I was allowing her baby to be bullied, I was a bully, they were saying such nasty things, she was just trying to get my attention, she shouldn’t be in that class anyway, etc.
The child received a day of suspension and I made a parental enemy. The child finished out the semester and went on her way.
Now, the parent couldn’t understand why I was targeting her student. A lot of parents wonder why their seemingly wonderful child is being dealt with in this manner.
“If you were a better teacher then…”
“Obviously you are too young to know how to control a class.”
“He doesn’t really listen to women. If you were a man he’d take your punishments more seriously.”
“Why do you people always pick on him but not students name? That child is always getting in trouble and you never call students name’s parents my son told me so!”
Personally, I write your student up not because I have bad classroom management, not because I’m a “lady teacher,” not because I have a secret all-consuming vendetta against an 11-year-old, but because there are consequences for his or her actions.
Now I know, at home your child knows there is a whooping, time out, revoking-of-privileges-type-deal when they act out. I also know you’ve told your child to respect adults. I know you’ve taught them not to be bullies and not to cuss and all sorts of things.
Thank you for that.
But I also know you didn’t teach all of the children that. I know we can’t control what happens on the bus or the street. I know we can try to catch all the bullies but there is snap chat and Instagram and Kik and all sorts of programs I don’t know about. I also know I see your student for 50 minutes of their entire day.
When they come to me, I don’t know what happened last period, last night, or at home or on the interwebs. All I know is what your student gives me.
It’s my job to teach. If I am prevented from teaching it’s my job to correct the problem/ attitude/ student who is keeping me from my job. My charge is to dole out consequences for actions.
It’s not always clear why Jimmy told Martha she looks like a cow while I am teaching the class how to play Mary Had a Little Lamb, but I am trusted to stop him and correct.
But why do I call home, leave a voicemail, write letters, and try to conference with you? Why do I even write a child up in the first place?
Shouldn’t I be addressing the problem there?
I am responsible for your child. I have parental rights when you drop them off at school. I am supposed to discipline them.
Like a parent. I am your co-parent.
You see, I don’t know everything but I know consistency. I live consistency. Without consistency I would be tied to a pole in the gym.
I consistently discipline students in the way our school and county allows. I follow the rules with every student.
Yet you come in and refuse to accept that.
Parents consistently are not trusting teachers to discipline students.
Have you ever tried to have a relationship with someone you didn’t trust and raise a child with them? That’s where we are.
I called you. I sent letters home, I spoke with the student, involved other educators they respect in helping your child and I reach a place of peace in my class.
Would you not, are you not doing the same?
So I write-up your child because I’m consistent. I write them up because I am responsible for them. But there’s one more reason. It’s a little deeper and personal than what I’ve stated previously.
I write-up students to show there are consequences because someday they won’t have us.
You and me, we can pretend they’ll be babies forever. But one day they won’t be.
One day your student will be an adult. They will go away from home into an institution where they will work.
Sometimes they won’t like their coworkers, supervisors, or bosses. They may not like a certain aspect of their job.
One day, they may choose to call someone else the B word. They will get fired and their kids will have to look to them for food, shelter, and warmth but there won’t be any because mom or dad lost their job.
They will complain it’s not fair and blame everyone but themselves perhaps.
But I’ll blame me.
It’s different, a home dynamic. You taught them how to respect at home. “Don’t do,” “Do do,” “Leave your brother alone.”
But school is work. Home work, class work, assignments, projects, papers, proofs; all adult things you and they will have to do. School prepares them for life, for work.
I am like a boss, a supervisor, a manager if I teach them that at work they can slack off, they will. If I teach them only work for treats, they only will. If I teach them you can have a make up assignment for every part of their life, they’ll expected it. If I let them skip a project but change their grade because “I like them,” they’ll never develop their mind. If I tell them “It’s okay to talk during a presentation,” someday they will.
If I let them get away with disrespecting me because boys will be boys someone might get hurt more so in the future.
If I let them get away with calling the boss a B and they expect to still get paid; what am I teaching them?
Not the real world. It’s a disservice. Actions have consequences. If I don’t teach them that, in all ways then one day I will open the paper and see they were killed/ put in jail/ caught breaking the law. I will feel, looking at their picture, like I wasn’t consistent. Like I didn’t teach them enough. Like I didn’t show them the discipline they needed.
And it will be my fault.
So I am going to write-up your student. I am going to call home. I am going to conference with them in the hallway. I am going to take the time to do all of these things and more, because I am their parent, 8-12 hours a day.
That’s why I write-up your, no, our child.