Dealing with Exclusions

I wrote this on the 22/9/2008 working a double role of special education teacher and Year Coordinator.

It doesn’t matter how many times I am part of an exclusion meeting it never gets easier. There gets to a point in the meeting when all conversation is exhausted. You have discussed the things the student has done wrong and it's time to say sorry but you will have to look for another school. The look on dad’s face really says it all. There is a look of frustration and sorrow, as you know he is thinking that this is going to set his sons chances of getting on in life back. However taking a step back from this I feel dad can shoulder some of this blame. Like kids who are deprived and don’t have material wealth kids who have everything they could possibly want are also neglected. Money can’t raise a child. Jeremies situation is like many others in the school they are over spoilt and under cared for. They are given everything they want except for stability.

I had mentioned Jeremy last week when he turned up late to a French lesson. He and also been involved in a series of stink bombs. Last Thursday was the final straw. He kicked a toilet door in, smashing the lock off and half the door. When I questioned him regarding the damage he freely admitted it but in his words he “nudged the door to see if it was open”. I called mum and discussed with her the suspension. It was agreed that a meeting would be held this morning. Nine o’clock came and went and still no sign of the parents. In the meantime the deputy head queried where Jeremy was. It was discovered later that he had come into school as normal and parents were trying to dodge the meeting. I had the task of pulling him out of class and informing mum that a meeting was needed if he was going to come back.

I didn’t mind Jeremy. Ok he could be disruptive and he was always involved in mischievousness. However all in all he wasn’t a bad kid. You could have a conversation with him and he was always polite when you spoke to him. At the end of last academic year he received an awful report and I guess it is true what they say “you reap what you sow”. He is bright however never applied himself. His work was always half finished and of a poor standard. There was even talk in the English faculty of putting him in the remedial group as they thought he was such a problem. He was continually standing outside the maths class having been ejected and sometimes he didn’t get into the French lesson before the teacher had him out and in the corridor. In many ways I look back and think more could have been done to make him and parents aware of the problem and the potential for exclusion. Unlike a comprehensive the road to exclusion is a short one and once the home school agreement is drawn up then a minor infraction is all that is needed to book him and his parents a meeting with the Head. So that was that at 11:34am on 22 September 2008 Jeremy was no longer with us. I have a funny feeling he won’t be the last this year as there are a few who are heading down the same path. By coincidence we had a new pupil start today so it was a bit like one out and one in.

My day was not over yet. I had my dreaded year elevens period five and six. I dread them because of their belligerence to instruction given. They are used to getting on and doing homework during this session and I have to deliver a study skills course to them.

To get off to an extra good start I had Sherry turn up to my lesson. She had decided last week that she would take herself down to the dinning hall instead of my lesson. I didn’t think it too unreasonable for her to come up to the classroom as all the other students do. Well she was worked up when she arrived and I could read it on her face. I set the class to and we went out into the hallway. My simple argument was that she comes to me at the beginning of the lesson. Second she only goes to the places I set and third if the teacher at the class where she is sent cannot supervise her then she needs to report back to me. Due to my poor rooming situation this is the going procedure for study skills. I do admit there is not much room to spread out so finding a nice quiet spot can be difficult but every other student in Year Eleven copes.

Sherry was not pleased with these terms and it is like the floodgates open in the form of tears rolling down her face. She informs me that everyone is picking on her and that she hates the school. She goes back into the class and my Year Eleven group sit back watching the drama unfold. Great, just what I need. This will take them half the lesson to come down from. Sherry eventually comes out of the classroom and I send her off to the study skills room.

After school I brief the head of pastoral care and she informs me that Sherry is under strain at home. I guess I’m just the catalyst for the explosion of emotion this afternoon. Sherry does push the boundaries and things are great when everything is going her way. Unfortunately things are not always going to go her way and it’s just my poor luck I have to be at the centre of it. As I wrote last week they are my difficult group.

To round the day off nicely i had a large group in my study skills room and a few of the boys have a B.O. problem. I guess with the climate its not often you smell body odour but today it was exceptionally bad. I had to hold my breath in parts and try to talk on the exhale. I am not pushing the truth here when i say that one student was overcome and threw up attempting to run out of the small room. Then we had to contend with the smell of sick and body odour an experience i wouldn't want to wish on anyone.

I really dislike Mondays but at least they are at the begining of the week.