"We need to hold the students accountable for their work."
When I hear those words, and gather at the hidden meaning behind them, I feel like instead of holding the students accountable for their work that I'm being held hostage. The hostage taker? The administration.
Instead of looking at the structure of the school, the students, and parents for why the students are doing so poorly (and when you have so many students with different teachers doing poorly, the odds are it's not the teachers), the automatic blame is put on the teachers. We aren't doing enough to hold the students accountable, apparently.
When a student doesn't do an assignment, they get a zero. I was under the impression that is one way of holding them accountable. Apparently not. Another? Get the parents involved. Well easier said than done when you can't even directly communicate with more than half of your students' parents because of a language barrier and your school doesn't provide any support for those situations. Even when you have been able to speak to parents, it hasn't done a damn bit of difference.
I've sent notes home, made phone calls, had conferences, tried to give detentions for not doing their work, tried to bribe them with prizes to get them to do their work. I've done everything shy of putting a gun to their head.
What has it gotten me? The figurative Uzi is pointed at my head as the hostage taker makes demands. And, unlike the good old U.S. of A., I don't have the luxury of not negotiating with terrorists.
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