Thursday, February 15, 2007

I spent many years teaching part-time in a variety of schools around the country. I gave it up for the last time one year ago and really haven't thought a lot about it. But to give you a good reason why I finally decided I had enough, I offer this story from today's New York Post:


February 15, 2007 -- A teacher was arrested at her Queens middle school yesterday for throwing a book at a 12-year-old student who refused to stop talking in class, police said.

Gale Dragone, 52, was also reassigned from her job at Intermediate School 296, according to authorities.

The child suffered a bloody nose and was taken to a hospital.

Dragone was charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

She also faces a probe by investigators from the city Department of Education.

Well, while I've never hit any of my students, I certainly wanted to. I can't condone what Ms. Dragone did and I would certainly be upset if it happened to my child. But on the other hand, I know how stressful some students can be and often wonder whee the parents are in all of this. I would assume that this was not the first issue the teacher had with this particular student and it must have really driven Ms. Dragone over the edge.

I'm just saying that while a child should be protected from having things thrown at them by a teacher (and anyone else, for that matter), we should not ignore the stress that lead the teacher to do such an act. My experience has taught me that there are times when a student is very out of control and where there has been no support from the administration. With the overcrowding of many schools and the stress put on many teachers, I'm actually shocked this hasn't happened before.

Again, I'm not condoning Ms. Dragone. But I have walked in her shoes a time or two. After 25 years of coming close to MY breaking point, I'm glad I never have to face that again. Teaching is a wonderful experience and at times can be more rewarding than anything. But for me, 25 years was quite enough.

Now, one year away, I can honestly say I no longer miss it. And that's a good thing. Right?

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