Category: Bad Behavior

Math: A New Hope

| NSW, Australia | Bad Behavior, Students

(After an entire year of dealing with math students who just sat around and talked to each other, my maths teacher’s first words when I came into the classroom the first time this year filled me with hope.)

Teacher: “[My Name]! They’re finally gone!”

(Turned out our class had halved in size due to all of the annoying people moving to a lower maths level. We now get to come to class doing all the stuff they always wanted to do, like bringing in food and coffee.)

Thinking He Can Ruler Over You

| Finland | Bad Behavior, Non-Dialogue, Teachers

When I was in high school, I lived on my own and money was really tight; I could barely afford food and textbooks for school.

I had a math teacher that seemed to hate all the students. But some, he literally bullied — he called us names, belittled us, refused to explain things that we didn’t understand during his classes, etc.

My ruler broke and I hadn’t had the chance to buy a new one (nor did I have the money for it at the time) and my math teacher kept bugging me about it, even though we didn’t actually need rulers on the course he was teaching, nor was it a requirement to have one. He kept bugging me about it for weeks, and at first I thought I’d be mature about it and just borrow one from a friend, but he kept ridiculing me in front of the class, saying stuff like “If you’re so poor, you don’t deserve to go to school,” and I finally got fed up with it.

So, I visited my mother’s home, and borrowed something from my eight-year-old little sister. The next time my teacher walked up to me and said “So, still no ruler? Still can’t afford one? Why do you even bother to attend my class?” I took out a pink, 3 cm long Barbie-ruler, put it on the table, and smiled at him.

Needless to say, I was kicked out of the classroom. I walked straight to the principal’s office, had a meeting with her, and told her everything. She didn’t reprimand me, but laughed at the pink ruler and invited the teacher to her office.

To my surprise, not only did he not deny anything, he also swore at the principal! Which was great, since I didn’t actually need to prove what he was like, since he outed himself right then and there. During that day, about 20 different students had short meetings with the principal about the teacher and all said the same things: that he was a bully, treated us unfairly, and didn’t teach us properly.

The next day, the principal had a teachers’ meeting and my math teacher was suspended for a month, but before the suspension was over, he voluntarily quit.

So, that’s the story how, thanks to a 3 cm long Barbie ruler, a horrible teacher quit his job.

Has Issues With The Fake Issues

| San Diego, CA, USA | Bad Behavior, Parents

(It is January, and time for our bi-annual parent teacher conferences. School began last September. A parent, whose student is currently earning a high B grade in my Language Arts class, requests a meeting, even though I’ve had no problems with this kid all year long. Here’s how things progress…)

Me: “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. [Name]. I’m happy to meet with you, although I’m unsure as to why you requested the meeting. [Student] has been amazing all year long, and I’m sure with a little more effort could pull an ‘A’ by the next reporting period.”

Dad: “I’m here to complain. [Student] has been coming home all year long in tears, saying that you’re mean, you yell, and you’ve dressed him down in front of the entire class several times. I want to know what you’re going to do about it!”

(Mom is silent during the entire conversation.)

Me: “Well, Mr. [Name], this is the first I’ve heard of this situation. You say your child has been this way since October?”

Dad: “Yes. He’s been crying every day after school. I want to know why this has been going on for so long!”

Me: “I wish I had an answer for you. Since you, your wife, or your son have never mentioned this before, I’m rather at a loss for words. If this has been the issue for the past four months, why haven’t you said anything sooner?”

Dad: “I wanted to wait and see if things got any better, and they haven’t. I want you to tell me why you’ve been picking on my boy and why you’ve been treating him so badly! He doesn’t even like coming to school anymore; it’s that bad!”

Me: “Again, I really have no idea what you’re talking about here. Your child is one of my best students. His work is rather good, and I’ve had no behavior issues with him, save for one small situation in December when he was poking another student with a pencil. I spoke to him outside the room briefly about personal space, and that was the end of it. I really don’t…”

Dad: *now raising his voice so that other families in the common room can hear* “That’s not good enough! I demand that you apologize for your months of rude treatment of my child this instant! Or else I’ll be going to the board to have your job!”

(One of the administrators is on their way over to intervene when Mom finally speaks up.)

Mom: “[DAD]! Just stop it! Why do I have to listen to you do this to every teacher that [Student] has had? Are you just on a power trip? Do you like to make the teachers miserable? [My Name] says that our boy is doing a great job and has no issues with him. Did you ever consider that [Student] has been lying to you all this time? And for you to let this go for five months before saying anything? How stupid are you?

(Yes… she called her husband ‘stupid’ in front of parents, teachers, and other students!)

Mom: *to me* “Mr. [My Name], I’m truly sorry for my husband’s behavior. Sometimes he just likes to try and intimidate people to boost his own ego. It’s a wonder this hasn’t rubbed off on [Student] yet – thank God for small favors. I for one appreciate your work with [Student]. He is clearly doing well with you… It sounds to me like he’s just making up stories, and we’ll be having a little chat with him when we get home.” *to her husband* “And YOU! Let’s go, mister. You’ve gotten yourself in the doghouse again.”

(Mom stood up and marched out… with Dad following behind, head bowed. He never apologized, and their child is still one of my better students.)

Calculus Versus Dumbledore’s Army

| MD, USA | Bad Behavior, Exams/Tests, Teachers

Our calculus teacher is on maternity leave, and we have a substitute. We have our first exam since he took over. The entire class does poorly, with not a single student passing the exam. A few of us have formed a calculus study group and meet after school to try to figure out why all of our scores were so bad.

After comparing our answers, we find we were frequently coming up with the same answers, all marked wrong. Reviewing our tests, we can’t find where we had made errors, so we go to the school’s math tutor the next morning for help. She similarly can’t find where we had made errors.

She goes with us to the calculus substitute. He simply pulls out the master test from the textbook and says that the answers are supplied by the company and all that matters is that we were wrong. Finally the math tutor gets another teacher and they demand to see the master test.

It ends up that he had retyped the equations that were the questions off of the master test into our test. When he did so, he put in numerous typos: eliminating parentheses, negative signs, and factors. He copied the limits from one question onto another. A whole portion of one question was missing, and two questions were swapped. All in all, out of 50 questions, 38 were mistyped!

The tutor and teacher bring this up to the principal, who has our grades amended so that we get scores when correctly solving the equations as given. The class all goes from failing the exam to higher scores.

The substitute was dismissed and the math tutor took over the position. Not wanting to admit he made a mistake, the substitute wrote a ton of letters to the school board and local newspaper. He accused the students of cheating for higher scores and that we should have “understood the spirit if not the letter” of the equations he gave us. Furthermore he called for the school board to expel any student participating in a study group saying that they allowed us to coordinate attacks on teachers and how it would lead to gang activity!

Phoning In The Excuses

| TX, USA | Bad Behavior, Technology

(Our school district has a strict policy about cell phones being used by students. They must be turned off and kept out of sight during the school day. If they are seen out, the teachers are directed to pick them up and turn them in to the office. The office then tallies how many times the particular student has violated the policy, to assess what penalty (fine, in-school suspension, etc.) is due. This school policy is detailed on flyers posted on the inside of nearly every classroom door. I am a teacher who has been displaced to another classroom because mine is needed for state testing. This seems to imply to my students that the class and school rules are suspended.)

Me: *seeing a girl using a cell phone to text, holding out my hand* “Phone.”

Girl: *after handing me her phone* “I get it back at the end of the period, right?”

Me: “No, it goes to the front office. They’ll sort out how you get it back.”

Girl: “But it’s my first time.”

Me: “It’s not my job to count, especially since I have 150 students. That’s the office’s job.”

Girl: *striding over to the bright green flyer on the door* “But it says right here that first time is a warning!”

Me: *going over and reading pertinent part of flyer loud enough for the whole class to hear* “First Offense: School employee picks up student cellphone and turns in to administration. Administration will return cellphone at the end of the instructional day (4:15 pm). Parent and student must sign for phone in the office.”

Girl: *dejectedly returns to seat*

(As part of the procedure, I enter the incident into a discipline database. When I pull up her record to add this incident, I see that it’s actually her fourth offense this school year (prior ones in other classes), which includes a $15 fine and two days in-school suspension.))

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