(From July 13, 2013) (The following message was sent in response to the Turner Report post yesterday about the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce needing 125 gift packets for new teachers in Joplin schools, including more than 100 from the Joplin R-8 School District.)
I am one of those teachers who left the Joplin District. When I first started, I was so proud to be a member of the high school. As the years progressed I became even prouder, until the last five years. It took me a long time to write on here, but the exit of a hundred teachers is huge. I do not understand why the community is not outraged.
I have witnessed students cussing, threatening, and intimidating teachers. Administration did nothing except try to convince the teachers to not create a problem. These students were then conferenced with and put back in the classroom.
Students were constantly disruptive, but we were told not to write referrals. If we did, we were in trouble. Eventually teachers gave up. When you have 35 kids in your room with laptops and cellphones, monitoring them was impossible. They skyped, listened to music, watched videos or played games. Of course, this was our fault for not making the lessons exciting or engaging enough. And don't get me started on all the so called professional development to correct our problems with keeping the kids engaged.
The failure rate was huge because kids did not care. They were too busy playing games. We were even told to just give points for showing up everyday, even if they did nothing in class. We were told that they should pass our class with a 50 percent. What happened to the 60 percent? We we sent lists of kids with failing grades and told to get them up. Do you think a student who has missed over fifty days in a semester deserves to pass? Or how about the student who has done nothing?
I have seen teachers cry everyday because of all the inconsistencies. Kids loved going to the office because they were rewarded. They loved ISD because they got to listen to music, watch movies, play games, and not do their work.
What happened? Why were we not allowed to teach? I did not go to school to be a babysitter and if I was a parent with a child in our district, I would be concerned.