I heard a story recently about a teacher that was threatened by a student. I met this teacher in October. Even in October she was happy, excited about what she was doing in her classroom, and exhausted from how hard she had been working. Fast forward a few months this teacher has now left the district. The threat on this teacher was serious , not a passing comment from a student that was upset about failing. It was detailed, written, and turned in to the teacher. Like anyone would do, the teacher went to her administration. I do not know all the details, for example I do not know what the school did next, but what I do know, is they didn't press charges, they didn't send the kid to alternative school, they didn't even remove the kid from the teachers class. So instead the teacher left. This teachers life was in jeopardy and the school did not support her. I do not know what lead that student to make a threat, I do not know what was going on in that classroom, but I do know that a DISD teacher needed help and she did not get it. And now another teacher has been pushed out of the system. She didn't fold in the towel right away either, she tried to go to her school, she tried to reach out to her administration, she tried to find a solution, but in the end, the only way to move forwards was for her to leave.
I have built a strong relationship with a lot of my students. I care a lot about them and I believe they care a lot about my class. I can think of one student though that I had last year that I did not work well with. This student hated, I mean seriously hated everything about my class. From they way I taught, to the way I disciplined students, probably even to the way I spoke. There were times where he was rude and disobedient. Do I think he would have threatened me, no, but you do not always see events like this coming before they do. They can happen, the perfect storm that can impact any teacher. What I would hope though, is that no matter the situation, my school would support me. My school would do what is necessary to keep this a safe learning environment. If teachers are scared for their lives, how will they educate their students? The district talks all the time about supporting our needs with training, well how about some safety? How about looking out for us? We talked about how high turnover is effecting schools. Well what about ensuring that when I come to work I know I will be returning home at the end of the day. If that is even a question in my mind I will never be successful. If I am even the slightest bit afraid of my students I will never be able to educate them fully. Safety and wellness are the most basic needs to be successful. We talk about it all the time in regards to our students. So why not our teachers? I would love to see what that climate survey said after this happened. Here's what I imagine. Do you enjoy working at your school? "Not even a little" Would you recommend your school to others? If they want to die.
When did we become so afraid of paperwork, images, and scores that we forgot to do what is right, what is necessary. We talk a lot about good leadership, pushing teachers to be stronger, reducing turnover, but we haven't talked about an issue like this before because we shouldn't have to. This should not be happening. Students shouldn't be threatened, teachers shouldn't be threatened, school should not be a dangerous place. How about this, everyday you keep my school safe and I'll give you your MRS strategy.