Thursday, January 06, 2005

Teacher tantrums

One of the cool, if occasionally unsettling, things about volunteering in the school library is that you get to see a little bit of the way teachers act when they're not particularly aware there are parents around. There seems to be a certain amount of invisibility that goes with being a regular school presence, and so you get to hear the gossip and the sarcastic remarks and the criticism and the office politics. And sometimes, you get to hear a teacher lose it. That's what happened yesterday when a 4th-grade teacher picked up her class at the library, and was so upset with the way they were carrying on in the hallway that she stopped and started screaming at them. "I've had it with you today!" she yelled more than once, and while I could sympathize with her frustration (as someone who has certainly had it with kids and knows how out-of-control that makes you feel), I couldn't help but observe that as disruptive as her students were apparently being, it couldn't possibly be more disruptive than a teacher screaming in the hallway. I was glad my son wasn't in her class, and glad that he was no longer in one of the classrooms across the hall from the library, because hearing someone yelling in the hallway would have made him crazy. I'll give the teacher the benefit of the doubt and not suspect that she thought there'd be no harm in yelling in front of a bunch of special-ed classrooms, even though that's probably the one spot in the school where it would most freak the students out. At any rate, she made it through her tantrum and trouped her chastised charges back upstairs to her room, where, by the way, she could have tantrummed with far fewer witnesses. No invisible volunteers, anyway.

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