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Behavioral Problems In Our Classrooms

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I have a real problem this year and I'm hoping if I post here that some new legislation will be considered. I have been an educator in WV for over 30 years. This is my 34th. This year I received a class with many special education problems. I teach in the regular education classroom. We have had special education students in the regular classrooms for years but, this year they are showing up in greater numbers. These children are not identified because I teach kindergarten.

It will take a long while to go through the process to identify their problems and possibly get testing done on them. This is the result of a legislation that places special education students in the least restricted environment. I love these students as I do all the children in my classroom but, there are too many. Our school is full of problems. In my classroom I have children throwing chairs, going off into tantrums in an instant, saying profane words. I have had one aide for years in kindergarten and we cannot handle all of this. The other kindergarten situations in the school are the same. It is very wearing on the classroom teacher. I have to teach these children so much and all I'm getting done in the month of September is teaching rules and regulations. I spend my whole planning period writing on behaviors for meetings that must occur to help deal with these children. The special educators come into the classroom very little. Only one of my children is identified so, the others are left for me to control. It has become overwhelming.

I am one of WV's exemplary teachers. I have been the recipient of many awards. I stay after school late hours without pay, working to make things better for our children. I have Black and White children in my room who have the right to learn and they are not getting their rights met. During the campaign there was talk about early intervention and these things need to occur as soon as they enter school. Somehow some of these children presented problems in pre-schools and head starts and the records didn't carry over to kindergarten. I am hoping when health care passes that there will be time to talk about education problems.

We are beginning to see more and more children who have severe behaviors. When they go off, I pick up a phone in my classroom that informs the office but, I fear that someone will get hurt before something is done. I have already conversed with the union representative and administrators. But, law is law. Sometimes laws have to be changed or tweaked when they aren't working. Everyday children have to be restrained and carried to the office from various classrooms. Then, we wonder why children aren't comparing in grades to other countries. Do other countries tolerate all of this? Some of the children in the classroom wonder around because they are incoherent. This is the normal classroom situation. I am told to reward these students when they are good with computer and other things. When I do this the children who are being good wonder why they can't get the same things during the school day.

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In the past I have had around two of these children. This year I have about nine. I have 22 kindergarten children and nine with behavioral problems. The board and administrators will say there is only one identified. That makes it convenient for them to do this thing without being out of compliance. I know I need help. There are others who will not speak up because they are new teachers and afraid of their situations. It is very ugly what is happening and the children aren't getting the best education they can get.

I was ill a couple of days and when I returned I learned that one child had escaped out of the classroom and another had reacted by kicking and biting my aide. Do you realize what it is like to love a child who decides to beat on you or kick you? These children refuse to do what the class is doing like reading or writing. It is impossible to teach with all of this going on. Nobody realizes that America's teachers are dealing with problems from kindergarten on.

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Discipline is minimal and we cannot touch these children for fear of being sued. It is my job to keep the others safe while this type of child is having a tantrum. These are the same children that we deal with later. We read about in the news and can't believe they took a life or took their own life. If a child has a special education problem to this degree he does not belong in the normal classroom where others can hear his profane language and screaming. I think it is unreal that so many problem children can be placed into the classroom and nothing is done.

Our school serves minority children. I honestly feel that their rights are infringed upon. Every time I begin to teach a lesson I have to stop to correct a child that is making noise, throwing something, or screaming without stopping. These are just kindergarten children but, they become adults and this is not cute when they are doing this in older grades. Most of the time these behaviors continue.

I'm tired of my supervisors and administrators telling me to keep sticker charts. They spend two hours planning what kind of sticker chart to use with this child to correct hisbehavior. It is all a joke. These children don't care if they get stickers or not. It takes most of my day to write about their negative behaviors. The teachers hired to be special educators have such a huge caseload they can't service everyone so, we see them very little. They have decided not to test problem children in the kindergarten years. It saves them time and money. So, who is supposed to tolerate? After this year I'm moving. I have been teaching in my current job for eight years enjoying every minute of teaching minority children. Now, they have ruined our school because most of these special education children are in our attendance area as they report. When I voice my opinion I am told teachers are talking too much. I am very sad for the children who need good teachers and need the chance to learn.

Maybe there should be a distribution so, all of them don't end up in one school. I don't know the answer. But, special education children do not belong in the normal classroom if their behaviors cannot be controlled. It is a real danger (bomb waiting to go off). I sincerely hope that my voice will be heard. It seems like somebody out there would listen to a teacher who has been teaching in the normal classroom for 34 years. Early intervention needs to be done. Not just screenings but, things that are in place to deal with problems. Many of our parents have pulled their children out and chosen alternative methods or other schools. That leaves minority children who cannot afford alternatives. Is this the nation's plan for segregation?

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I joke about our school being like Chicago without the guns. It is not funny. These problems are happening in all the grades. Everyday I see the principal having to take her restraint team to go get a child who is going off in the supposedly normal classroom. It's all about money. If they don't have to hire the special educators and place them all in the classroom that is the answer. I sound like a chronic complainer. But, consider a grandchild who is innocent sitting by one of these children and being bashed in the face. This has happened, also. Who takes the time to stand up for the teachers who have to put up with the ugly notes when she calls the parents of one of these children? Who cares if teachers get kicked or hit in front of the class? Where are the laws that allow teachers to teach and students to learn?

 

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I'm a public school kindergarten teacher in WV. I have four children of my own. Three are raised and through college. I am a single mother raising a 16 year old alone. I am 58. I have two precious grandsons (age 5 and 14 months). I have a (more...)
 

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