Re: Soft Eyes, Hard Right

1

Unfortunately I think the popular lesson taken by the video will not be "gee, no wonder children in the inner cities have such a hard time getting the education they need to get out" but "we knew it! animals."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
2

It's somebody else's fault. Certainly not the people who were present, but the fault of the people who weren't there, but should have been, if their grandparents weren't racist. Or something.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 4:55 PM
horizontal rule
3

After 1 and 2, I think further commentary is superfluous.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
4

TLL: What is who's fault? You don't need to excuse someone who jumped their teacher, or their friends who cheered them on, in order to talk about how things got to that point.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 4:58 PM
horizontal rule
5

to talk about how things got to that point.

I'm sorry, but I don't think that the"society is to blame" is helpful in a case that is clearly assault. I don't know this girl, perhaps she has developmental issues or a score of other problems, but the recorded violence should not be tolerated, which is what the teacher was saying.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
6

(In this case, the racism is in abandoning the "inner cities," not anything an individual in this story did.)

Whoa, hold on. I think in order to have a frank and productive discussion we have to admit that there is nobody in our society who doesn't do racist things, and that I am racist, and so are you, and therefore we must be doing racist things, and I'm willing to admit that I have racist thoughts, so why would you get defensive when someone suggests that you have racist thoughts too? We need to all get on the same page here.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
7

How many among us have not at least considered what it would be lie to beat the living crap out of teacher? C'mon, can I get some moral seriousness here?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 5:10 PM
horizontal rule
8

5: That's one of the things I'd count wrong with the situation. The principal's response was 'tsk, tsk, can't use a trigger around these...', not 'dear lord, you were attacked. fortunately her school psychologist has been alerted and her parents contacted, and we should be able to help her and minimize the legal consequences' or even 'okay, I'll call the cops' or 'gee, she's expelled.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
9

Jesus Christ. How horrible. The thing is, all teachers get threats. It's an unfortunate part of being a "public" figure. But the difference is, when I go to the administration saying I'm getting phone calls at home threatening me with violence, or a student offers to punch me, I at least know I have the support of school security and administration, and the students know that. I blame the administration that has created an environment in which students feel so sure they can get away with physical assault.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 5:53 PM
horizontal rule
10

7 is right on. This particular case may be a terrible thing, but you all know there are teachers who deserve a beat down. Wrong place, wrong time is my verdict.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 5:58 PM
horizontal rule
11

As someone who has been threatened, and sometimes afraid to answer my home phone or hold office hours because of death threats (due, always, to plagiarists who refused either to go to the administration with a complaint or to accept the consequences), I say to 7 and 10, fuck you. Sure, there are teachers who make people mad. But even the most conscientious of instructors receive very serious death threats. (Not that I'm saying I'm "the most" conscientious, but I work damn hard to make sure my students don't catch themselves up in things like cheating and plagiarism. Occasionally, they do anyway.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:02 PM
horizontal rule
12

That's just horrible. I'd like to think that the cell phone's owner was thinking "I can't believe I just saw that -- this is horrible!" as opposed to "She's finally getting her comeuppance!"

While we're being insensitive, do the MMA watchers here think, "Man, she needs to get out of that and get off the mat!" I think that may be a sign I shouldn't watch anymore UFC.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:05 PM
horizontal rule
13

I shouldn't watch anymore UFC.

Did you see last night's TUF? That first KO was kinda disturbing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:18 PM
horizontal rule
14

As someone who has seen and suffered from the depravity of a number of different teachers, I say: get off your high horse. Becoming a teacher doesn't imbue an individual with some sort of moral righteousness which raises that person above any opprobrium or responsibility. Quite the contrary. Teachers are just as compromised a class as any other occupation, and worse than some. As individuals they run the gamut from heroic to villainous. I certainly understand that many teachers are bound by their good intentions, and suffer for their vocation, but come on! You know there are racist teachers, misogynist teachers, homophobic teachers, rapist teachers, violent teachers, psycho-Xtian teachers, anti-choice teachers -- every kind of despicable scum has their representative among the ranks of teachers. If this woman happens to be one of the good ones, and I have no reason to think that she is not, then I do sympathize with her plight. But don't try to tell me that it should never be the case that the people's wrath falls upon a deserving teacher.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:18 PM
horizontal rule
15

I blame the administration that has created an environment in which students feel so sure they can get away with physical assault.

Gawd, this is the worst thing to say, but I find the above credible in part because it sounds so much like something that guy who wrote Newjack might say. Which, I guess, is in line with ogged's point about "trigger words" being the language of a warden.

but the recorded violence should not be tolerated, which is what the teacher was saying.

I don't think anyone disagrees. But that doesn't address the issue that it is happening.

I'd like to think that the cell phone's owner was thinking "I can't believe I just saw that -- this is horrible!" as opposed to "She's finally getting her comeuppance!"

Given that they found it on a Myspace page....


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:20 PM
horizontal rule
16

But don't try to tell me that it should never be the case that the people's wrath falls upon a deserving teacher.

"The people's wrath" here being getting the shit beat out of her by a kid as other kids egg her attacker on. You know that The Accused isn't a romantic comedy, right?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:22 PM
horizontal rule
17

A bear on a high horse.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:24 PM
horizontal rule
18

14: Uncool, Minneapolitan.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:25 PM
horizontal rule
19

Sorry if I'm all humorless, especially about the fact that (especially women) teachers who enact even basic rules in their classrooms are often treated with disdain and violence, and in an environment in which they can't even count on their employers to treat them as deserving of basic personal safety. Where did I say that all teachers are high-minded geniuses deserving of infinite respect? Being able to tell a high school kid to sit down, and then getting a beating for doing so, should at least result in some kind of protection from the employer. If students have the right to treat teachers as objects of violence, then administrations have the right to treat students as potential sources of violence.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:30 PM
horizontal rule
20

And that's just it---this administrator is not treating the students like human beings who committed violence. He's treating them as if they're animals who he expects to commit violence. That's just the dehumanizing bullshit that perpetuates the cycle.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:32 PM
horizontal rule
21

I don't think that my professors got death threats over plagiarism. What's going on at the places you teach, White Bear?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:34 PM
horizontal rule
22

Would anyone be able to explain briefly what's going on in the linked video, which I don't have the time to download?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:48 PM
horizontal rule
23

Well, a lot of my students, to be frank, came out of high school environments much like the one depicted in Baltimore. They're used to a commerce of violence and intimidation being more effective and satisfying than work. And I've received death threats at all three of the colleges I've taught at in NYC. One was from a student who got really angry about one of the texts we read, but we talked a lot about it. Another at the same school was writing papers about killing children (not me) and was obviously dealing with either a runaway "creative" imagination and/or some untreated anxiety and anger problems. At another school, an 8am-class student posted notes about wanting to shoot me in the face because I insisted on holding class at 8am. And at my current job, I was threatened at home on the phone by the brother of a student who was SHOCKED that plagiarism resulted in a zero for the assignment.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:49 PM
horizontal rule
24

Interior, classroom, medium shot: Two people are fighting on the floor. The upper person can be seen landing several punches on the lower person. The lower person is grappling and kicking her legs. Several other people stand nearby. There are some jump cuts to other areas of the classroom, and to the windows.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:52 PM
horizontal rule
25

I should say that in two of those situations (the kid with the repetitively violent papers and the brother phone calls) I actually was sort of nervous/confused/frightened and sought advisement from the department. In the first, a counselor called him and discussed stress and stuff with him, and decided he was probably not an actual threat, but someone definitely in need of some further meetings, and in the second, we decided not to escalate it, but just take notes on what happened and wait to see if it cooled down, and I assume it did.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:52 PM
horizontal rule
26

Oh okay, because you also seem to know a lot of people with trans issues. I wondered if there was just some random thing where all these people latched onto you.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
27

24: Thanks. I don't understand the references in the thread to someone talking about trigger words, then. I gather there's some additional material available.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
28

If this woman happens to be one of the good ones, and I have no reason to think that she is not, then I do sympathize with her plight. But don't try to tell me that it should never be the case that the people's wrath falls upon a deserving teacher.

Yeah, that's right. If she's not good, she deserves to be beaten. Some of them are just asking for it, after all.

Jesus.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 6:57 PM
horizontal rule
29

Great violence is done in schools. Some of it meets the legal definition of assault, some of it doesn't. Making distinctions about the appropriateness of a given act of violence based SOLELY on the identity of the victim and the perpetrator is not, to my mind, ethically defensible.

It is probably the case that many integrated, working-class schools are the site of violence that mirrors the episode in the linked video. I'd argue that they are also the site of a great deal of violence of the kind that either doesn't meet the same legal standard, or which isn't even defined by "common sense" (that most powerful of ideologies) as violence at all. I would also argue that in homogeneous, middle- and upper-middle class schools, the violence can be more prevalent, more insidious and more damaging.

This is a corollary to my distrust of the word "terrorism" -- there's a huge set of assumptions implicit in a phrase like "school violence" or "teacher attacked" that are never exposed to debate, and which tend to obscure the real issues involved in a haze of self-righteous moralizing.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. --John F. Kennedy


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:04 PM
horizontal rule
30

27: The Myspace video in question is part of a local news report; the victim is interviewed and it was suggested to her by an administrator that her use of the phrase "have to defend myself" was a 'trigger phrase.'


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:05 PM
horizontal rule
31

Just keep trying to bait me -- it totally proves my point.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:06 PM
horizontal rule
32

14

In none of the "bad teacher" situations you list is "beating the shit out the teacher in class" an appropriate remedy.


Posted by: Cain | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:06 PM
horizontal rule
33

I realize that this is a forum in which academics are over-represented. It is ridiculous to assume that negative aspects of academia could be discussed dispassionately or disinterestedly.

I'm not an academic, so I'm not surprised when the chickens come home to roost.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:13 PM
horizontal rule
34

33: And the solution to having had bad teachers is vigilante justice by school children. Good idea.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:20 PM
horizontal rule
35

34: Yes, more baiting, good show!

If you don't like what I'm saying, cool, but don't delude yourselves about the reasons.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:23 PM
horizontal rule
36

What the fuck are you people talking about. I am bearing witness to the death of my cat.

What the fuck is this about bad teachers. Inner city school kids are sometimes raised in environments in which the only way they've learned to deal with situations is through threats and violence.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:25 PM
horizontal rule
37

In all sincerity, how is that baiting?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:25 PM
horizontal rule
38

Minneapolitan, I like to think that my hatred of school and school teachers is of the first rank, but I just don't understand what you're saying. That discussion of any one episode of violence in schools should make us think of the violence done there regularly? Ok, I could be down with that? Or that this isn't really a neglect/race issue but just one instance of the violence going in the other direction (student to teacher) and that's ok in the grand scheme? Spell it out a bit?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:27 PM
horizontal rule
39

38

"... but I just don't understand what you're saying. ..."

Seems clear enough to me. She is saying a lot of teachers (possibly including this one) deserve to be beaten up and when it occurs it should be applauded not deplored. As with the Red Guards.

And people think I'm anti-teacher.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:35 PM
horizontal rule
40

Diverging from whateverthefuck minneapolitan is talking about, and speaking of The Wire, this does remind me a bit of that one scene from Season 4 when one of the girls in the classroom is flashing light from a mirror into another girl's eyes, and then out comes the razor blade.

Tangentially, I used to have debate competitions here. And we were supposed to be the "nice" county.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:43 PM
horizontal rule
41

AWB: In 7, I think dsquared was parodying ogged's position from the torture discussion earlier today. Minneapolitan, on the other hand, really wants to beat you up, apparently.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:45 PM
horizontal rule
42

My brother-in-law got a black eye breaking up a fight when he was teaching in a San Francisco public school. But the people fighting were students.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:45 PM
horizontal rule
43

41: Ah. Missed that one. Thanks.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:49 PM
horizontal rule
44

I find that if I kick the crap out of the biggest kid in the class on the first day of school, I'm given a wide berth by my students for the rest of the quarter. If that doesn't work, I just shiv someone in the lunch line. They still surf the web during my lectures, though. Also, most of my female colleagues, at least those with whom I've discussed such things, have been threatened at one time or another by students.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
45

If you're telling stories, a good friend who's been a public school teacher in Baltimore for 10+ years spent a lot of time and money last summer placing a promising female 5th grader in a summer camp program ... her mother couldn't manage to put together a camp-going package of clean sheets and t-shirts and such, so my friend Marc (the teacher) did all this, drove her to camp, took part in the orientation with her, blah blah ... a week into the summer camp, the girl pulled a knife on another attendee.

Well, fuck. Marc was, needless to say, chagrined. The girl didn't know how else to handle interpersonal or intersocial crap.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
46

Sorry about your cat, parsimon.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:56 PM
horizontal rule
47

Oh god, I just read that comment about the cat. That's just awful. I'm so sorry for you. Ugh.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 7:57 PM
horizontal rule
48

They still surf the web during my lectures, though.

To discourage text messaging during class, a friend of mine who taught at a Japanese university used to bring a cell phone to the first session and make a show of destroying it with a hammer. Very effective, apparently. It also helped that he's a big white guy, former rugby player, and often wears a fairly maniacal expression.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:05 PM
horizontal rule
49

48: That cellphone had it coming.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:13 PM
horizontal rule
50

And did your friend use a big Gallagher-size hammer?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:14 PM
horizontal rule
51

Sorry about your cat, parsimon.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:18 PM
horizontal rule
52

Cell phones do violence to the people every day, though some would shrink from calling it by that name, and hide behind the coward's "common sense." I say, the Day of the Hammer comes, and that right soon!

Or, as Zapp Brannigan put it, "If there's one thing I don't need, it's your 'I don't think that's wise' attitude, Kif."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:21 PM
horizontal rule
53

Minneapolitan, I like to think that my hatred of school and school teachers is of the first rank, but I just don't understand what you're saying.

Word.

Minneapolitan, if you appear to be fucked in the head to everyone else, maybe the problem isn't with all of us.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:23 PM
horizontal rule
54

50: Knowing him, I'm sure the hammer was carefully chosen. Nothing like starting off the year by impressing upon your students that their professor is a crazy-ass gaijin.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
55

Aw, parsimon, sorry about your cat. Losing a pet is especially awful because although everyone has pets, rare are those capable of empathy in this situation. You get the feeling that you feel much worse about your pet's death than you have a right to, but of course you have every right. It's still very hard to communicate.

Did kitty have a good run?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
56

This is now how I picture Ari.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
57

55: The kitty had a good run. 18 years. Last week or two he was wandering afar, blocks and blocks away, a little confused maybe.

As I just wrote to a friend, I've never borne witness to a death before. He's passed away now. I folded his hands.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:50 PM
horizontal rule
58

Sorry about your cat, parsimon.

And I wouldn't have taken you for a mean drunk, minneapolitan, but I guess I was wrong.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:53 PM
horizontal rule
59

57: I'm so sorry, Parsimon. It's so hard losing an old friend.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:54 PM
horizontal rule
60

A hammer the size of Gallagher would be imposing. Is there a war-hammer analog to the claymore?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
61

This thread is totally confusing.

Minneapolitan shouldn't have killed that cat with a hammer, even if it was talking on a cell phone in school.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
62

41: so does the student who wins the most fights get an unfogged scholarship to the front row of Boalt Hall ?


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:10 PM
horizontal rule
63

Making distinctions about the appropriateness of a given act of violence based SOLELY on the identity of the victim and the perpetrator is not, to my mind, ethically defensible.

The only one doing that here is you, as near as I can tell, in between fierce jabs to strawmen.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:10 PM
horizontal rule
64

I'm so sorry to hear about your cat, parsimon.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:13 PM
horizontal rule
65

in between fierce jabs to strawmen

and gulps from the cocktail shaker.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:14 PM
horizontal rule
66

RISE UP, THIRD GRADERS! TAKE UP THE SWORD AND THE JIGGER AND SMASH THE APPARATUS OF CONTROL! NONE WILL BE FREE UNTIL THE STREETS RUN RED WITH BLOOD AND MARASCHINO CHERRY JUICE!


Posted by: OPINIONATED JUNIOR ANARCHIST | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:17 PM
horizontal rule
67

Things that happened to me this week:

I. A Vietnamese senior told me she did not want to spend $90 on the (mandatory) school yearbook because her mother makes $110 a week and her father is unemployed, and because everyone in the yearbook pictures is an African-American student and why would she want to look at their pictures when they have shoved her head into lockers twice and make fun of her when she talks?

II. A guidance counselor told me that the mental-health counselor is out indefinitely with a bad back and there is no help available for the student who was shaking and borderline hysterical telling us about his activities as a gang member and his subsequent feelings of shame and guilt.

III. A police officer summoned me over to his car by crooking his finger and barking at me, and then demanded "Are you lost?" (I am a white person and was in a 100% black neighborhood).

I'm actually kinda sympathetic to what I think was minneapolitan's point, that schools are often violent places and that much of that violence is institutionalized and invisible until it affects a "deserving" victim. But mostly I am just worn out and grieving that we adults cannot provide even a basic safe haven for hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of youth in our country.

And I'm sorry about parsimon's cat.


Posted by: Anonymous tonight | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:18 PM
horizontal rule
68

Teachers are second only to blog commenters in their need of a righteous skull fucking.


Posted by: The Magical Cock Of Justice | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:19 PM
horizontal rule
69

That wasn't me, but I am so pleased. Ave!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:20 PM
horizontal rule
70

I totally stole this idea from Cala, which is why she will be raptured away before the Second Cuming.


Posted by: The Magical Cock Of Justice | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:22 PM
horizontal rule
71

68, meet 67 and now go drown yourself in the bath.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:30 PM
horizontal rule
72

67

"... she did not want to spend $90 on the (mandatory) school yearbook ..."

You can force students to buy a yearbook they don't want? What happens if they don't pay?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:34 PM
horizontal rule
73

56: Y'know, it's really hard to see the back of my own head. That well might be me. Though I find the Magen David a bit gaudy.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:35 PM
horizontal rule
74

Fucked up. There needs to be no tolerance for that crap in a decent community, period.

Also, most of my female colleagues, at least those with whom I've discussed such things, have been threatened at one time or another by students.

Ari -- you teach at a major university right? Are you kidding? Is that really true?



Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:35 PM
horizontal rule
75

Sorry about your cat, Parsimon.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:36 PM
horizontal rule
76

My sympathies, parsimon. Eighteen years sounds like a great run for a cat.

On the fighting thing, my mom used to teach at a high school on Chicago's south side with a fair amount of gang activity and fighting. She broke up fights fairly often. Weird thing: when the 5'5" woman stepped in (like literally in between the two people swinging), the boys always stopped right away. Girls kept going.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:41 PM
horizontal rule
77

74: Major is in the eye of the beholder. But yes, the story is true. That said, the conversations have happened over the course of close to a decade, at the three different schools at which I've taught (itinerant historian for hire). There does seem to be less naked aggression here in NorCal, where everyone can get year-round fresh produce. But at least two people here have been threatened, so such things happen even in the land of plenty.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:42 PM
horizontal rule
78

Parsimon, I'm sorry. My last cat also lived 18 years. Long, long kitty life.

Minneapolitan, you're being gross. The principal in that situation is an asshole, and god knows that the fact that lots of kids--and not just inner-city kids either, racists--have psychological problems to the point where they get that violent. I'm sure it's true that, on average, there are probably more kids in "bad" poor neighborhoods (urban or rural) for whom depression and ptsd and whatever else are significant problems, what with endemic violence and drug use. And that what those kids need is a hell of a lot of therapy and possibly medication, none of which they're going to get because, as Cala says, people think of them as "monsters." And yes, often the people that think that shit are teachers, and one reason some teachers think that is that they're put in situations where they're supposed to deal with classes of 30 kids regardless of any psychological problems some of the kids might have, and they're not trained therapists, and no, that isn't an excuse for sadistic or negligent teaching.

Nor is any of the foregoing an excuse for that kind of violent attack. But it seems pretty obvious that that kid has some serious problems, and that if the school in general is so violent that the teachers are afraid of the students, that that kid isn't alone.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:42 PM
horizontal rule
79

No death threats, though, at least not that I know of.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:43 PM
horizontal rule
80

I can't believe you just said "monsters," B. Like these kids need your sexism heaped atop our racism. Sheesh.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
81

In context, Ari, it wasn't sexist, just racist.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
82

In context, Ari, it wasn't sexist, just racist.

You get to decide this? I think Unfogged needs an independent panel of monsters to judge these things.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:48 PM
horizontal rule
83

Yeah, I think most of the violent threats I've received would have been headed off had these students had access to proper mental health care. Of course, the student I'm most afraid of currently never threatened me with death and is actually in a ton of therapy; he would just come into my office hours, claiming to want to discuss an assignment, and then veer off into obsessively describing all his favorite violent rape scenes in high-art cinema. There was no putting him off it once he got worked up. I ended up canceling my office hours for the rest of the semester and doing all advisement by email, on the recommendation of the administration.

I ran into him the other day on campus and tried to just do a hello, and he nearly physically grabbed me to make me stop and talk to him.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:48 PM
horizontal rule
84

Thanks to minneapolitan's comments, I've had Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" going through my head for the last hour. So even if they weren't cruel and odious in themselves, they'd still be cruel and odious just for that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:54 PM
horizontal rule
85

To make it official, I think we need to demand that Barack Obama condemn minneapolitan's remarks.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:56 PM
horizontal rule
86

What happens if they don't pay?

Well, it's part of the "senior class dues." You also have to pay for a t-shirt (which I think is $14) and a few other things. Oh, rental fees for the cap and gown. I think that's it.

If you don't pay, you still get your diploma, but you can't participate in graduation. And you may not be able to attend graduation, either, but I'm not sure about that. It'd be slightly tough to enforce; there are usually about 2000 people at graduation.


Posted by: Anonymous tonight | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:57 PM
horizontal rule
87

82: I totally get to decide this. I am *the* moral decider.

(I've also never been threatened by a student, actually. Just a datapoint that not all women teachers get that shit. Though maybe I would have if I'd kept teaching.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:58 PM
horizontal rule
88

You were teaching Canadians, B. Not people.
Sheesh.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:10 PM
horizontal rule
89

I muse about teachers (those who teach, say grades from 5 to 12): If I hear that a twenty- or thirty-something is a teacher, I think "Oh, a good heart, generous of spirit, good for them." But if I hear that someone fifty- or sixty-something is a teacher, I think "A bitter crank, probably smells bad and is a mean drunk." I'm pretty sure these are the same people, taken over time. Maybe it's that the American system is brutal, but I think people just don't deal well with having authority. (Teachers of younger kids tend to be softer all around, and college instructors are in a significantly different position, dealing with almost-adults and having to prove themselves themselves, as it were. Although tenured academics again manifest the traits of bitter teachers.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:10 PM
horizontal rule
90

Racism is like the ether, or gravity. It is everywhere and can explain anything.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:12 PM
horizontal rule
91

Ari -- you teach at a major university right? Are you kidding? Is that really true?

I've never gotten any death threats, but someone tried "My uncle is on the Board of Regents" once.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:12 PM
horizontal rule
92

"My uncle is on the Board of Regents"

Ha. How did you handle it?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:18 PM
horizontal rule
93

But if I hear that someone fifty- or sixty-something is a teacher, I think "A bitter crank, probably smells bad and is a mean drunk."

I don't think that's necessarily true (and obviously, to an extent you're joking). My mom, who's not quite fifty but almost, got promoted and, more often, selected(!) for special projects, very incrementally, until recently. With the high numbers of retirements, she's shot right up the chain into administration (above the level of principal).

As with people in any large organizaiton, public school teachers, after a certain period of time, probably look at their accrued time off and retirement, look up the chain of the command at the whiteheaded muppets above, and think, shit, if I can do this job well for a bit longer, I'm going to get to do something I really enjoy, and I'll start really making a difference.

Of course, there are stinky old codgers, too.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:19 PM
horizontal rule
94

I read minneapolitan to be saying that there's some measure of, um, equity in the situation. Absent some form of real justice being available, it's unreasonable to scold victims of violence for retaliating.

There's at least some level of plausibility there. But as much as I love anything critical of the modern educational system, I think it both goes a notch or two too far, and doesn't really have a lot of explanatory power w/r/t the situation under discussion.


Posted by: reprehensible | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:20 PM
horizontal rule
95

Racism is like the ether, or gravity gravy. It is everywhere and can explain anything.

Fixed. It's just more satisfying that way.

Mmmmmm. Gravy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:20 PM
horizontal rule
96

88: I taught Americans for something like seven years before I took that job, John.

Ogged, if you're at all serious, you really have a problem. I know a lot of career high school teachers. Yes, my mother is a bitter crank, though not a drunk. But most of the career teachers I've known are among my favorite people. Certainly they're usually less smug and self-satisfied than a lot of
more "successful" people their age.

Though the latter may indeed look and smell better; they've usually had more money, less stress, and have been far more materialistic in their life decisions, which tends to lead to being more superficially "attractive," yes.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:20 PM
horizontal rule
97

I am joking a bit, obviously. My mom is a teacher (of younger kids) and there are a lot of teachers in my family. But teaching does have a remarkably similar effect on a lot of people.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:21 PM
horizontal rule
98

91: Oh, that kind of threat. Yeah, I've gotten the "I've gone to the chair, and *he* says you should change my grade" bullshit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:22 PM
horizontal rule
99

teaching does have a remarkably similar effect on a lot of people.

You attribute it to the great and grand authority teachers have. I attribute it to the cynicism of having spent one's life in an underappreciated job where you're constantly being second-guessed by every tom, dick, and ogged.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:23 PM
horizontal rule
100

Could be, as I acknowledged.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:24 PM
horizontal rule
101

Ha. How did you handle it?

I suggested he call him up.

But teaching does have a remarkably similar effect on a lot of people.

If I had full-text search on my bookcase I could dig up a Patrick O'Brian quote about the deleterious effect of petty authority on one's personality. Especially when faced with bad students, I've found it takes a bit of conscious work not to have your personality slide toward Cranky Old Bastard.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:25 PM
horizontal rule
102

And then you said you think it's that teachers are bad people because they have authority.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:26 PM
horizontal rule
103

I was on the HS teacher track for a year around 1980. The full-time permanent teachers struck me as three fairly evenly-distributed types: those for whom teaching was a steppingstone and who would end up doing something else (outside education, or in school administration); those who were trapped and embittered; and enthusiastic teachers who loved what they were doing. There were many more of the third group than I would have expected. When my son went to HS about a decade later, his experience was similar, but on the happy end of the scale.

There's a special problem with the legendary "failing urban schools". There you have underfunded schools in problem neighborhoods with students who also often have multiple problems. It's unrealistic to expect teachers or schools to solve the already-existing, external problems. They do the best they can, and many do become embittered and hostile, mostly the ones who can't escape.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:29 PM
horizontal rule
104

78.2: Actually, B., to the extent that I can follow it right now, this seems like a bit of a party line. At least in terms of the thought that therapy and medication might address 'those kids' problems. But nah, I can't follow your whole train of thought and why it involves sadistic teachers. I'm pretty tired.

89: I tend to have close to the opposite response. 20-30 something teachers, I think they barely know what they're doing; if they've stuck with it to their 50s, they probably do. Most teachers crap out and leave after 5 years or so, maybe 10; as much for the personal burnout as for the bureaucratic nonsense. (This excludes higher education, a different ballgame altogether.)

on preview, I'm in slow motion. Sorry.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:29 PM
horizontal rule
105

104: I truly don't mean "these kids" at all.

I've been spending the last year helping out, a *lot*, in PK's classroom. And I'm frankly astounded--and really saddened--at seeing how many of the kids in that classroom have symptoms of depression in, like, second grade. One of them (a boy) got surprisingly violent once; a couple of the girls practically have neon signs saying "molest me" over their heads. It's really fucking scary.

I don't think it's party line thinking to believe that people who are irrationally violent have emotional problems.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:34 PM
horizontal rule
106

It's sort of truistic, though, and in some places violent behavior is normal and useful.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:40 PM
horizontal rule
107

a couple of the girls practically have neon signs saying "molest me" over their heads.

I'm not comprehending this. How does this manifest?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:41 PM
horizontal rule
108

How does this manifest?

To learn the rest of B's moves you have to buy the DVD.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:46 PM
horizontal rule
109

To learn the rest of B's moves you have to buy the DVD.

"Pimping for Feminists" and "Pimping for Feminists II."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:48 PM
horizontal rule
110

It's unrealistic to expect teachers or schools to solve the already-existing, external problems.

That's my understanding, too.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:50 PM
horizontal rule
111

I don't think it's party line thinking to believe that people who are irrationally violent have emotional problems.

Put that way, no, probably not, though there may be something at work with the "irrationally" part. To the extent that violence on the part of underprivileged kids is a function of racism and economic deprivation, therapy and medication isn't going to help. Treating their emotional problems isn't going to help.

I'm exhausted. Thanks everyone for kind words about the cat.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:50 PM
horizontal rule
112

106: Fair enough, but you know, context. That said, maybe you have a point, but I'm highly disinclined to accept the "poor children beat up teachers because violent behavior is useful in the ghetto" explanation for obvious reasons, no matter how much credence I'm willing to give to the argument that having a low threshold for violent reaction is a helpful learned behavior in some fucked-up neighborhoods.

107: One girl is clearly very insecure and pretty desperate for any adult to give her any kind of attention or approval. In order to try to get her to be *willing* to work on her reading, I promised her that if she works, she'll learn, and if she learns, I'll take her out to do any fun thing that she wants. Since then, she checks in with me every time she sees me and tells me about her reading. She did say "we'll have to check with my mom," and I said, "of course," and her mom--who I don't think even knows my name--immediately assented to the deal. The mom's a nice person and I think means well, but the kid is neglected and, well, if I weren't a good person myself it could be a bad situation.

Another girl basically has very poor boundaries, and seems very young for her age intellectually and emotionally, but is very big for her age physically. She's told me about a game she plays with a (male) employee of the household that, were I her mother, I wouldn't like *at all* (though admittedly I'm going by the kid's report, and haven't seen what's going on with my own eyes). I told the mom and she kind of shrugged it off.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:51 PM
horizontal rule
113

One doesn't have to think 'those kids' to think the system there is broken, or that kids might actually need help.

Just imagine that this had happened in a wealthy private school, or an excellent public high school. If I try to imagine this at my hometown high school (in the whitest place on the planet), there's no way there aren't police involved, parents called, help available if needed on either the district's dime or their parents'; and in no way does anyone say 'musta used a trigger around those kids.'

I don't believe that people live up to the expectations of others, but they sure can live down to them, and I can't imagine 'tut-tut trigger' attitude doesn't infect the rest of the school.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:53 PM
horizontal rule
114

musta

Racist.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:54 PM
horizontal rule
115

This thread is full of the soft bigotry of low expectations. Is it really the case that until the revolution comes and all injustice vanishes, it's impossible to create a situation where basic behavioral norms are observed and people can interact with the minimum levels of mutual respect and consideration?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:56 PM
horizontal rule
116

Ur-honky.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:56 PM
horizontal rule
117

Pwned by 113, basically.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:57 PM
horizontal rule
118

To the extent that violence on the part of underprivileged kids is a function of racism and economic deprivation, therapy and medication isn't going to help. Treating their emotional problems isn't going to help.

I dunno, if one of the effects of racism and poverty is depression and (I know it's a cliche, but nonetheless) "low self-esteem," some kinds of therapy might help a fair bit. And inasmuch as depression might be (partly) a kind of learned behavior--that is, a sort of entrenching of certain kinds of learned helplessness patterns in the brain--medication might help reat it and give some folks a chance to learn other coping strategies.

Obviously (I hope) I'm not saying "give poor people Prozac!" in the absense of, you know, addressing the problems of enrenched poverty. But I don't see any reason not to be willing to at least give kids who are clearly having problems coping a lot of psychological support. I'd sure as shit want it for my kid.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:57 PM
horizontal rule
119

The whitest cities. I'm just trying to figure out where Cala grew up.


Posted by: a | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:57 PM
horizontal rule
120

Because I'm stalking her childhood.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:58 PM
horizontal rule
121

If there's any money for poor schools, it sure isn't going to go to shrinks.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:58 PM
horizontal rule
122

Yes, Auntie.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:58 PM
horizontal rule
123

115: ?? I don't think anyone is saying "oh well, you can't blame the kid" (except Minneapolitan).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:59 PM
horizontal rule
124

"a" must be TEotAW's answer to LGM's "d". That's a lot of initials I just wrote.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 10:59 PM
horizontal rule
125

121: B's talking shrinks, but I'd start with the principals not acting like they're running a zoo.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:00 PM
horizontal rule
126

123: I guess you're right. Seemed like some tone of resignation in some of the comments, but I was likely misreading.

SOMEONE GIVE ME AN EXCUSE TO DENOUNCE THEM HYSTERICALLY AND FEEL USEFUL FOR DOING IT.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:01 PM
horizontal rule
127

121: Most "good" schools have a school psychologist, even if that person is shared with other schools. And kids are people just like anyone else. What's the incidence of mental illness in the general population? Pretty damn high. Then let's factor in problems with substance abuse.

Poor schools ought to have more and stronger social services available to their kids, not fewer. It's not like the parents of poor kids are likely to have health insurance that'll cover mental illness, quite aside from the whole social stigma of admitting you have such a problem.

(I realize this is me being idealistic. Hence use of "ought.")


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:02 PM
horizontal rule
128

125: I'm with Cala. I'm surprised the thread didn't end with "well, that principal should be fired, end of story", but then, I'm not surprised the thread didn't end there.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:03 PM
horizontal rule
129

124: I don't know how that happened. But I may use that as my pseud from now on (should I have need of a pseud).


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:04 PM
horizontal rule
130

125: I think I said in my first comment that the principal is an asshole. If I didn't I certainly should have. But I don't think that standards of behavior, especially at the h.s. level, are going to solve everything--there's a certain level of bluffing that goes on in telling kids, especially big kids, that X is Not Acceptable, and if a kid is really so disinhibited that they're willing to jump on a teacher and beat the crap out of her, I think that kid is beyond that.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:05 PM
horizontal rule
131

118: How the hell are you going to give such kids psychological support -- therapy? -- when they or their parents or their schools don't have time or money for basic school supplies?

pwned by 121.

anyway, of course the Wire-inspired point remains that some schools are more adversarial warden-inmate environments than anything. It's called riot control. The smartness of this blog continues to floor me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:07 PM
horizontal rule
132

131.1: I'm talking about what should be, not what is. Because accepting what is means accepting that kind of situation in a school, which is unacceptable.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:09 PM
horizontal rule
133

Principals are famous for refusing to support teachers in any way. They deal with the central administration, unions, the media, politicians, regulatory agencies, community groups, and parents in approximately that order, and the teachers only last.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:10 PM
horizontal rule
134

kid is really so disinhibited that they're willing to jump on a teacher and beat the crap out of her, I think that kid is beyond that

And probably beyond the help of the school, however well run. Or so claimed Ed Burns.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:11 PM
horizontal rule
135

The list in 119 lists Miami, Detroit, and San Juan Puerto Rico as among the ten whitest cities in the U.S. Even if you factor in Hispanic-ness, I don't see Detroit as a whiteness center.

Two balls seem to be in the air, the whiteness of a SMAs and the segregation of the inner city. Apparently the Detroit SMA is white and the inner city black.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:15 PM
horizontal rule
136

Hey, what ever happened to ObviousMan? Is that still around?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:21 PM
horizontal rule
137

134: Agreed. Which is why I'm saying the kid needs serious psychological help.

I mean, I suppose I could say "that kid's destined for jail," but I'm disinclined to say such things. And again, the problem, according to the teacher/victim, is larger than just that one kid.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:27 PM
horizontal rule
138

Serious question, B.: How do you deal with the ensuing questions from the other kids about how it's weird that Amanda and George go talk to the funny person off in that office while the rest of us do macramé. You've mentioned it's a stigma, but how do you communicate that to second (or whatever) graders. Genuinely curious.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:33 PM
horizontal rule
139

Well, surprisingly, second graders are actually too young to get hung up on that shit; I think that the stigma problem starts to come later.

I don't entirely know how you deal with the stigma problem. I think that part of the answer is that you make addressing intersocial stuff explicit early on, rather than just kind of ignoring it if it's not "disruptive." I think that the treatment of, for instance, bullying in schools is currently changing away from "the kids have to work that out on their own" to "adults need to get involved, and stay on top of it" for this reason.

I also think that part of the answer is reinstituting K-8 schools, which is starting to happen (apparently isolating middle schoolers, unsurprisingly, increases the awfulness of that particular stage).

But like I say, I really am not sure on that one. I admit it's tricky.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 11:52 PM
horizontal rule
140

It makes it sound like the administrators seem themselves as wardens, or, maybe more accurately, as zookeepers surrounded by scary animals.

The outside world doesn't respect the analogy ban.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 12:00 AM
horizontal rule
141

this post reminded me that i hadn't seen the cheerleader video i heard about, so i just youtubed it on saw a news coverage clip. In the clip the kids, suburban white girls, were called "animalistic".


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 12:06 AM
horizontal rule
142

this post reminded me that i hadn't seen the cheerleader video i heard about, so i just youtubed it on saw a news coverage clip. In the clip the kids, suburban white girls, were called "animalistic".


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 12:06 AM
horizontal rule
143

A few points:

1) 41 is correct, thank you. If we're having "oooh, you've got to think about the motivation of the torturers week" here (and we apparently are) then I don't see why not also think ourselves into the shoes of more conventional criminals. Whatever the situation, there's always the option of not being a bastard, and too few people take it.

2) But most of the career teachers I've known are among my favorite people. Certainly they're usually less smug and self-satisfied than a lot of
more "successful" people their age.

In my experience, they're a lot more smug and self-satisfied, just about different things. Teachers are the absolute poster-children for ostentatious humility. They will tell you about how not smug and not self-satisfied they are until your ears bleed. (As opposed to doctors, who are in a similar vein but mostly just bend your ear about how they saved someone's life today, and what did you do? Just make money I suppose, how sad).

3. Simple fact; teachers beat children a lot more than children beat teachers.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 12:28 AM
horizontal rule
144

and just a clarification to 1) above, I am not remotely saying that the exercise of "ooh, we must understand the thinking of people who do horrible things" is a productive exercise. Just noting the juxtaposition.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 12:29 AM
horizontal rule
145

Well, surprisingly, second graders are actually too young to get hung up on that shit; I think that the stigma problem starts to come later.

You're kidding, right? That doesn't gel with my experience of being that age, at all. Pretty much from day one, the kids receiving remedial attention or going to see people outside the class were singled out for curiosity [at best] and mocking [at worst]. I went to a fairly small primary school at which bullying wasn't a major problem, too, but 138 is right, I think, that there would be a stigma.

A stigma that could be handled, perhaps, but it'd be there.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 12:40 AM
horizontal rule
146

From what I've observed in PK's class, where there are kids who get pulled out for speech therapy (including PK for a while there) and other kinds of things, there's no stigma at all. Nor was there last year, in a much more snooty and bully-prone school.

I asked the speech therapist about it when she was asking if I was willing to put PK in, since my only hesitation was whether it would be a stigma thing that would make his stammer worse, and she told me that actually that problem comes up later. From my observations, that seems to be true.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 12:43 AM
horizontal rule
147

re: 146

Perhaps my peer group were nastier, then.

At my high school, I only remember one instance of pupil-on-teacher violence, when a kid in my year punched one of the senior staff in the face. I can't speak for that particular instance as I wasn't there, but I can speak for the fact that that member of staff was a vicious bastard.

3. Simple fact; teachers beat children a lot more than children beat teachers.

All the way through primary school, and for the first three years I was at high school, the teachers were allowed to inflict violence on pupils with one of these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tawse

Thankfully, I was never belted. IIRC, I was under standing instructions from my dad to inform any teacher considering belting me that the likely outcome would be my dad coming down to the school and beating the living shit out of them.* However, I saw friends belted for the most trivial reasons, so I'm not especially inclined to buy the saintliness of teachers.

That said, it's the headteacher's job to make sure his/her teachers aren't being attacked by pupils.


* a friend's dad actually did this when his son was belted. Came down to the school and told the teacher, to his face, that if it ever happened again he'd fuck the teacher up. Which seems a measured and reasoned response, in the circumstances.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 1:01 AM
horizontal rule
148

I was beaten at my prep school and the pain and humiliation stays with me still. On the other hand, I think that's a less ghastly arrangement than one where the pupils beat up the teachers. Some people here are talking as if the violent pupils are only, or mostly, a danger to teachers. But of course they are still more frightening, and still more dangerous to younger pupils. If there is to be violence against the vulnerable in schools, the teachers should have a monopoly on its use; and if exercising that monopoly is the only way to enforce it, then I think it should be exercised.

Obviously, the ideal is a school without bullying. But what do you do when the children understand bullying and violence as the only means of social interaction? I know its not their fault that they do so. But they believe in violence because they see it working, all around them. I don't see how to stop it working except by the application of superior force, which would at least be less arbitrary.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 3:48 AM
horizontal rule
149

Sigh.

Some of my best friends are teachers. There, I said it.

Here's what I was trying to express above, which was immediately distorted by certain people:

1. There is a great deal of violence in schools.
2. Some of that violence is more visible and some is less visible.
3. Some of that violence may be justified, especially if it takes the form of a long-term victim of violence retaliating against a long-term perpetrator.
4. In this specific instance, it may or may not be the case that the violence was justified, but we certainly can't know that from the video offered.
5. Claims that violence that runs student-to-teacher is never justified strike me as chauvinistic and morally indefensible.

So, whatever, I'm willing to admit that I'm compromised in many ways by my occupation. Some people here are not. Which of us is being more honest with ourselves?

Now I am going to withdraw in disgust, which is not the same thing as apathy.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 5:59 AM
horizontal rule
150

it's


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 6:52 AM
horizontal rule
151

when the 5'5" woman stepped in (like literally in between the two people swinging), the boys always stopped right away. Girls kept going.

My 5'5" high-school teacher mother will attest to this. She won't get in between girls.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
152

149: You have to invent a lot of backstory to get that as a plausible reading of the incident, and thing is, no one here was saying 'what an animal! o, the poor teacher!', or saying 'well, look, if the teacher had been beating the student, that's just proper discipline', but we're compromised by our occupation to, I dunno, adhere to logic and reason or something.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
153

which was immediately distorted by certain people

It ain't us, it's the Media.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
154

Hey, I sang "I'm depraved on account of I'm deprived" in class the other day and thought of you, baa. Gee, officer Kripke!


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
155

146 reminded me uncannily of this.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
156

Krup you!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
157

140: State-of-mind exception, Your Honor.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
158

Claims that violence that runs student-to-teacher is never justified strike me as chauvinistic and morally indefensible.

Even where it seems pretty clear that these claims are premised on the equal assumption that violence that runs teacher-to-student is equally unjustified?!


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
159

Can't have it both ways, di. Which side would you be on?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
160

If you want racist, how about a videogame where you play a white dude mowing down crowds of Haitian villagers with a machine gun?

(It's okay because they're zombie villagers.)


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
161

Hey, I sang "I'm depraved on account of I'm deprived" in class the other day

You must teach the best ethics 101 ever.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
162

160: That trailer is way out of context. The rest of the game shows how grateful the remaining non-zombie villagers are to the player in the course of the "provide vaccinations" and "install water purification device" minigames.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
163

Ethics 101? It was my musical theater seminar. No, it doesn't meet in my pants.

% of students who got the reference: 0. I'm a bitter old queen.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
164

You're not that old. I'm surprised they hadn't performed it as a high school musical. We did in high school, but the gang bit just hasn't aged all that well (I don't mean the stupid 'gang members can't dance' objection, it's just that it's hard to take seriously a gang full of white kids in satin bowling jackets, or a gang that was defending turf for... well, not drugs. Right to the swings on the playground, maybe.)

Smoke in your pipe and put that in!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 8:57 AM
horizontal rule
165

it's hard to take seriously a gang full of white kids in satin bowling jackets

It's not the fop in the thug, it's the thug in the fop.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
166

It's not the fop in the thug, it's the thug in the fop.

Indeed.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
167

Can't have it both ways, di. Which side would you be on?

In this case, I want to be on the side that gets to shoot at Sean Penn and Tom Cruise.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
168

what do you do when the children understand bullying and violence as the only means of social interaction? I know its not their fault that they do so. But they believe in violence because they see it working, all around them. I don't see how to stop it working except by the application of superior force, which would at least be less arbitrary.

You--and by "you" I mean "all of us"--work your asses off to teach them other things.

Anyhoo, I don't think "the children" really understand bullying and violence as the only means of social interaction. I think that a lot of kids (and adults) understand bullying and violence as the only, or most effective, means of establishing respect. And a big part of teaching them otherwise is to not accept bullying, in any form, from day one. If you establish that bullying is not accepted in school, that would go a hell of a long way.

Problem is that the idea that bullying not be accepted in school is one of those crazy radical p.c. hippie ideas that violates the very nature of children, blah blah blah.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
169

Does anyone else read the title of this post and think, "Clear eyes - Full hearts - CAN'T LOSE!" ?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
170

B., I think that schools should be violence free, and some violence is the result of psychological problems, but there are considerable areas of the country where a fairly high level of violence is normal and routine. Not just ghetto blacks. And schools should fight against that, both by keeping it out of the school itself and by trying to teach kids other ways of relating.

But what people have been saying is that teaching and psychology will not be able to change the ambient way of life, and dealing with it practically just by getting control of the school itself is the place to start.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
171

the side that gets to shoot at Sean Penn and Tom Cruise.

This is an option? Sweeeet!


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
172

170: I haven't been disagreeing with any of that, and it's clear to me that that's what people have been saying. But thank you for explaining anyway.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
173

Here's what I was trying to express above, which was immediately distorted by certain people:

190 (in that other thread) to 149.

Seriously, and with all due respect, you did a lousy job of expressing that, and then an even lousier job of explaining yourself after people questioned you (until 149 that is). Not to mention that you yourself engaged in distortions of what others were saying (Cala sums that up nicely in 152). So, sorry you're disgusted and all, and maybe you were just having an off day (sorry about the "mean drunk" cracks too), but I don't think anyone's responses on this thread were unreasonable given what you actually wrote.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
174

173: I embrace my role as the poster child for the can't-express-himself-in-writing psa. Seriously, you should hear me try to explain things verbally.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
175

174: Huh?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 11:25 AM
horizontal rule
176

170.2: teaching and psychology will not be able to change the ambient way of life, and dealing with it practically just by getting control of the school itself is the place to start.

Yes, a thousand times yes to the first clause. The second, not necessarily: dealing with it practically by 'getting control' (?) of the ambient way of life is the place to start. That ambient way of life involves dominance games, many of which are played on a socioeconomic level, but many others of which are played less visibly.

That said, there's value in teaching, in schools, ways of dealing with dissent, anger, alienation in cooperative ways. My friend Marc does as much if not more of this in inner-city Balto schools as he does teaching curriculum. Where more privileged environments are concerned, those ways may be learned early, but the dominance games continue in other forms. It outs itself into adulthood, and not just individually.

There is something to be said for the point raised in the link Ben provided recently to a 2005 thread here in which Ogged suggested that aggressive human impulses need an outlet. Sorry I don't remember now where the link came up, and I didn't read the archived thread. But, repress (or oppress) people enough, and they will find an outlet, whether in foreign policy, in personal politics, or in physical violence.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 11:31 AM
horizontal rule
177

175: Follow your own link to its source. Er, I mean, I think that's what you're asking. But if you're more concerned about my tone, I was kidding around.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
178

177: No, I was just pretending I didn't understand what you wrote.

Ironic, that you didn't understand me, no?

Perhaps I should have gone with the more obvious "Eh??"?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
179

178: wha'?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 12:38 PM
horizontal rule
180

179: I SAID, "PERHAPS I SHOULD HAVE GONE WITH THE MORE OBVIOUS 'EH??'?".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 12:54 PM
horizontal rule
181

180: sorry?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
182

181: I SAID, "PERHAPS I SHOULD HAVE GONE WITH THE MORE OBVIOUS 'EH??'?".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 12:58 PM
horizontal rule
183

Come again, Sonny?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
184

Sorry, heebie, after ALLCAPS and then bolded ALLCAPS, there is none greater, more's the pity.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
185

184: You have to learn to go to 11. Also, 175's funny. My reaction suggests that not only can't I communicate through writing, or speaking, or balloon animals, but I also can't comprehend subtle humor. Please don't tell D2. He'll just make me feel horrible about myself. And I feel bad enough already. Sniff.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
186

185: Eh??


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
187

186: Less funny. But still pretty good. Will you be hear all week?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 1:49 PM
horizontal rule
188

187: You misspelled "heard".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 1:53 PM
horizontal rule
189

Sorry, heebie, after ALLCAPS and then bolded ALLCAPS, there is none greater, more's the pity.

NOT TRUE, M/TCH!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
190

TEST TEST


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
191

Looks the same to me, apo.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
192

Light goes on, light goes off


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
193

WHAT THE FUCK?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
194

188: I will not explain the joke. I will not.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
195

194: So busted.


Posted by: Eric | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
196

Dude, you do it too. It's a boring meeting.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
197

I'm also writing my talk for tonight. So there.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
198

Hey, cool. It's like a webpage from 1998!


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
199

Don't you guys have a code of conduct?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
200

Whoever enabled the blink tag is gonna pay.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
201

Define: Trolling


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
202

Hmmm, I don't get any blinking.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
203

199: Advocating torture = okay. Commenting during meetings = less so, but still not grounds for termination. Job security rocks!


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
204

199: Advocating torture = okay.

You misspelled "facilitating".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
205

Thanks, Apo!


Posted by: blinkie | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
206

155: wow, that was a little hard to read. It's kind of weird, since some of the details that seem the worst in that story, like getting called out of class didn't happen, or I've forgotten about them at least, but the basic outline and mood are the same. I didn't exhibit any other stereotypical marks of being gay and I didn't have a heartwarming reconciliation with the therapist at the end of it, but I had all the other social problems and I had a lisp and I hated the therapy sessions, which lasted into junior high or maybe even later.

I mean, um, don't worry about PK or anything. I'm sure he'll handle it fine, B.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
207

Hmmm, I don't get any blinking.

You probably have an ad-blocking something or other set to ignore it, M/tch.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-11-08 3:11 PM
horizontal rule