Thursday, March 16, 2017

John Thompson: Family, student deaths reinforce value of teaching - NonDoc

Family, student deaths reinforce value of teaching - NonDoc:
Family, student deaths reinforce value of teaching

Dr. John Thompson

My mother, Betty Thompson, died last week at the age of 89.
As such, I haven’t been in the mood for analyzing education policy, but rather predisposed to contemplating deeper issues. At some point, I’m confident the words will come for celebrating my mom’s contributions.
Now, the best I can do is share this account of my father’s passing. It is a passage from A Teacher’s Tale: Learning, Loving and Listening to Our Kids. (All student names are pseudonyms.)

Just before the October fall break, we had time to feel introspective. My plan was to leave for the mountains immediately after school dismissed. Most seniors were on a (poorly planned) field trip, and it was a great time to reflect on our first quarter. My students joined in celebrating our classes’ great year so far, while we also shared our worries about the school’s future.
As John Marshall H.S. lost more of its student leaders to magnet and charter schools, this left a greater percentage of teens who had endured more than their share of tragedies and who had less ability to control their behavior. As disciplinary infractions increased, assistant principals became more reluctant to assess consequences, fearing that their suspension numbers would be too high. In numerous classes, teachers found it impossible to maintain order. This drove out even more of the top students and educators, making it harder for the school to function, creating a downward spiral of disorder and violence.

Crises bring classes together

Then we heard about a car wreck involving two students from Marshall. Tim might not survive. I visited him in intensive care. He was unconscious, so my attention turned to his grandmother, the woman who was his deeply devoted guardian. She sat day and night at Family, student deaths reinforce value of teaching - NonDoc:

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