Who’s To Blame

I’m following a new saga. My friend’s child is in a class of chaos in the US. I desperately want to hear some good news coming out of the US. I thought her school was good news. Before, it was all positive, and now, I’m disheartened again.

My friend is a teacher. Her daughter is a 3rd grader in a class of 29. It’s a bilingual school where students are immersed in Spanish or Japanese 1/2 day. My daughter was registered to go to the school before we moved overseas, and I almost hated leaving the place because the school was supposed to be so good.

Now, 3rd grade. It’s November. For the last few months, I’ve been hearing bits from my friend about her daughter’s Spanish teacher’s classroom management. They were having class meetings, they were talking about behavior. The teacher, as many there do, has rewards for well-behaved tables. She’s put their names up on the board. She’s given everyone a million warnings. It’s not working.

My friend and a group of parents organized, possibly in the spirit of  “Occupy Wall Street.” They now have written letters to the teacher and principal stating their concerns. What I read from their letters is that the students aren’t learning. There are so many disruptions with behavior that kids can’t think.  The teacher spends her time yelling and desperate to do something. My friend, who possibly has organized the parents, wrote a letter explicitly saying what should be done to bring the class under control. Details. She then listed the results of bringing that class under control.

I’m proud of her, but it’s sad. Who is to blame for the mess it seems that the class is in? The teacher, I thought quickly. She obviously desperately lacks classroom management skills to bring the kids into line. And, then the principal. Where has he been all this time that this storm has been brewing? The letter my friend wrote sounded like something that should have come from the principal. And why not? And then, there’s the issue of 29 kids in a class. Why? How? I taught with this many students, and yikes. I honestly didn’t reach all of them.

Who is to blame? Is anyone to blame? Should she blame. My friend explicitly said in her letter to the teacher that it wasn’t her fault. But, is it? But then, do I sound like all of those American conservative who want to put things in place to assess teachers. It’s worth looking at. I don’t have any answers. Just some thoughts right now.

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