Experience in High School

Topics: High school, Education, Twelfth grade Pages: 5 (2287 words) Published: July 2, 2011
Each teacher can recount numerous highs and lows in their teaching career. Personally, I experienced many great moments while teaching. These were days when I ended so happy and enthusiastic that I knew I had selected the right profession. On the other hand, I had days where I definitely questioned teaching as a career. These were days where the students seemed uninterested, too talkative, or even worse a blow up occurred and nothing got accomplished. Thankfully the average combined with the positive days outshine my negative days. Through my 14 years of teaching and working in education, one event stands above the rest as my absolute best teaching experience. Through it I learned so much about teaching and dealing with students. My hope is that the student involved was at least partially changed for the better from the experience as I was. I also hope that there is something in this story that can help inform and inspire you. Let's call him Tyler. Tyler was a troubled student. He was enrolled in my senior American Government class followed the second semester by Economics. Surprising as it was to many former teachers, he had made it to senior year. However, he had spent a couple of years in and out of full inclusion classrooms. He had numerous behavior management issues. I don't remember his exact IEP at this point, this happened about 10 years ago, but I know that he had impulse control and anger management issues. He had been suspended many, many times in previous years. The previous year he had been mainstreamed with a co-teacher in some classes. However, for 12th grade, he was in my room without a co-teacher. I knew he had problems before the first day. His ESE coordinator came and visited me during planning week to have a talk about him. My style of teaching is such that I am very stern in the beginning, allowing students to get away with very little. I have always done this on purpose believing that it is easier to soften up as the year goes on than get harsher. I learned this the hard way my first year of teaching. I decided that I was not going to change the way I taught or interact with him in particular because of his issues. He sat in the back row. I had never used a seating chart with students on the first day when I was just getting to know them. Every time I talked at the front of the class, I would ask questions of students, calling them by name. This helped me learn their names while getting the kids involved. Unfortunately, every time I called on him he would respond with a flip answer. He knew the answers when he listened but he didn't want to be called on. If he got an answer wrong, he would get very angry. About a month into the year, I was beating my head against the wall trying to connect with Tyler. I could usually get these kids to be involved or at the very least to sit quietly. However, he was just loud and obnoxious. Tyler had been in so much trouble through the years that it had become his modus operandi. He expected it and he expected his teachers to know about his referrals and suspensions. For every new teacher, he'd push and push seeing what it would take to get a referral. I tried to outlast him and work things out my way. I had rarely found referrals to be effective because students would return worse than before. One particular day, Tyler was talking while I was teaching. In the middle of teaching I said in the same tone of voice, "Tyler why don't you join our discussion instead of having one of your own." With that, he got up from his chair, pushed it over, and yelled something I can't remember other than including the words, "You B----!" Well that was definitely referral time. I sent him to the office with a discipline referral, and he received a week's out of school suspension. Now so far you might be asking how this could be my best teaching experience. So far it was actually one of my worst. I dreaded that class every day. His anger and mumbled words under my breath were almost too...
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