General Science and Teaching

Is it just me? Am I getting old?

Okay, I know chronologically I am aging, but I am ready to pull all my hair out. I was subbing for a colleague who was out ill and the district could not find anyone to cover. I went in for my obligatory cover during my plan time and had an absolutely horrible time getting the students to put away the food and drink in a Science Lab. This is a dedicated Science room, that has chemicals and other materials in it. They are “technically” in an area off limits to kids, but it is just an area of the room that students can get into. It’s not behind a locked door or cabinet. I was always taught, and within our safety contract all parents and students sign and we review at the beginning of the year, there is no food or drink in a Science Lab. They are middle school students, the period before lunch, scarfing down all sorts of junk food, to the point Cheetos are even laying on the table and kids are grabbing to eat them. I told them to put them away, and their response was, “Ms. “X” lets us have food and drink, this is her room and not yours.” Aside from being disrespectful, I am really struggling with the idea students have been allowed to eat and drink in the room. Am I off base?

Sandy Gady
Sandy Gady
43095 Activity Points

Oh my Sandy, I taught middle level students. I agree that they were rude to you and might even be stretching the truth a bit about what Ms X allows in her room. Might be a good idea to talk to her about it noting issue of eating in a science lab. It is a health and safety issue.

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
44543 Activity Points

Sandy, do you teach in this school? Eating in dedicated science labs is verbotten on a national safety scale. Perhaps student respect to others and to themselves (ie, putting themselves in danger by eating off of a science bench after who knows what went on beforehand) could be a topic at an upcoming department meeting and district meeting. It is worth your wile to pursue this topic with Ms. X and other educators within the district. AGE is NOT a factor. Discipline, respect, and safety are.

Patricia Rourke
Patricia Rourke
45915 Activity Points

You are not off-base, my friend. Eating in a science classroom can be downright dangerous. Did you talk with the teacher? Maybe the students are pulling a fast one. As far as subbing for others during plan time, I have subbed for my fellow teachers and they have subbed for me. I consider it a professional courtesy and being a team player. In my district, we get paid for the time we sub if it is during our plan. I have certainly appreciated it when my fellow teachers had helped out when I couldn't teach and the district couldn't find someone to cover my classes.

Ruth Hutson
Ruth Hutson
63530 Activity Points

Sandy: This is the age of the student's rule. This is in my humble experience a societal issue. Many parents are afraid of their own kids so they give in to bad behavior so they don't have to deal with it. This very same bad behavior is brought to all situations and they just wanted power over you so they probably stretched the truth. If this was indeed how that teacher dealt with stuff then a gentle reminder her to her about possible "law suit" might change her mind. If that doesn't work climb the ladder of contact (department chair next) to keep those kids safe from themselves. No you are not getting older in the way you are thinking, the world is changing. Unfortunately, this is the reason many teachers leave the field. Sorry you had to experience this. I know you are an excellent teacher. Adah

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101510 Activity Points

I wouldn't think so. To be honest, when I get forced to sub during my prep...I'm a complete jerk. I don't allow kids to eat in my room, to the point that I throw their food away if I see them eating it...to the point of opening the package and dumping it out into the garbage. (I've had kids go grab their bag of chips out of the garbage on their way out!) I would mention it to the admin...our school policy is no eating in any classrooms. Many teachers don't follow it, however, in a science room that's different. Which leads me into my question...how do you deal with that? I'm always considered the a-hole because I don't let my kids eat, or use their phones during class, enforce dress code, etc. I'm one of the few that does all 3 of those, and kids get mad at me for enforcing rules. Our admin doesn't seem to care that other teachers don't enforce the rules, so it gets frustrating for me.

Chris Leverington
Chris Leverington
4015 Activity Points

I sympathize with you, and agree that the administration often turns a blind eye on what is not being enforced by teachers. I do sometimes pick my battles - but am adamant about no food or drink in my room and other safety concerns. I am also fortunate that my room is one of the ones in our building where there is no cell service...

Cris DeWolf
Cris DeWolf
11925 Activity Points

A few years ago I bought a cell phone signal jammer...it blocks all cell signals in a 150ft or so radius. Eventhough they are illegal, it was the best thing I ever bought...until a kid came to the assumption I had it and complained to the principal. So I had to hide it and then it broke. I'm thinking of getting another one!

Chris Leverington
Chris Leverington
4015 Activity Points

I appreciate everyone’s responses, it is heartwarming to know I am not alone. I appreciate the reality check. Yes, I do teach in the school, and eating is not even an option in my room. Unfortunately, quite a few of the other teachers just say, “I have to pick my battles.” This seems to be an inappropriate response to me since the liability is so high. As with all things civil, and I agree with you Pamela, the issue is discipline, respect, and safety. It seems as time passes, there are less and less things we hold out to be things that should be taught. Civility and manners seem to be trends of the past, which is unfortunate. I know many teachers that just give in and the kids know they can outwait us. It is sad, but I am afraid unless there is a severe accident, this will continue to be a trend in many classrooms and schools.

Sandy Gady
Sandy Gady
43095 Activity Points

I asked the question about class sizes to our superintendent and got scolded regarding class size..."is it going to take a catastrophic accident in one of our rooms before you realize that putting 39-40 kids in a chemistry class isn't acceptable!" I think that's what its coming to...as long as nothing bad happens, why stop adding more?

Chris Leverington
Chris Leverington
4015 Activity Points

The problem is working for administrators that do not have a background in science. Could you invite your superintendent (or counselor or principal) to your classroom on a day that you have a lab so that they could experience why it is important to keep numbers low? When I first started teaching in the district in which I currently teach, I made it a point to be evaluated during my chemistry hour. I also scheduled a mini-lab so that my principal could see the importance of keeping class numbers at 20. He immediately understood why and has been a great supporter. You might try it....

Ruth Hutson
Ruth Hutson
63530 Activity Points

I teach fifth grade, and I struggle with this as well. My biggest problem is the chewing gum, without fail I tell the exact same students every single day to spit out gum, to place their drinks outside the class, no eating is not allowed. They continuously argue and question why they cant have the items regardless of me referring back to the safety contract that they all signed. If anyone has suggestions I am open!

Gwyn Bray
Gwyn Bray
3540 Activity Points

Gwen,

I think Patty said it well...the safety of themselves and others is the premise they learn to understand. I taught grade a self contained 5/6 class for approximately 15 years aand one of the things I did early in the year came from the work of others. I did an activity from

Gwen,

I think Patty said it well...the safety of themselves and others is the premise they learn to understand. I taught grade a self contained 5/6 class for approximately 15 years aand one of the things I did early in the year came from the work of others. I did an activity from

http://sciencespot.net/Pages/classgen.html#Anchor3

Science Safety Rules w/ SpongeBob (pdf) - Students identify safety rules that SpongeBob and his pals broke as they performed experiments. Download includes notes for the teacher and an answer key.

NOTE: SpongeBob SquarePants and all related characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.

Kathy Renfrew
Kathleen Renfrew
34035 Activity Points

Hi All: I also spent a lifetime fighting classroom size until I provided cases where lawsuits were generated by parents to school. I also provide OSHA documentation that will help reduce the size of a classroom especially if it also a lab room. You have to be proactive and determined. It won't make you loved by the admins but it will ultimately save some young lives. Good luck.


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Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101510 Activity Points

I appreciate everyone’s input. I refuse to give in to the students and find it really off putting when the teacher in question says I am just being old fashioned and she wants to pick her battles. Unfortunately the students aren’t exaggerating, she, and couple of peers do let them eat and drink in the Science classroom. The biggest reason is they don’t want to fight the battle. To me, it’s just a lawsuit waiting to happen. Administration is aware of it, so in the long run, somebody someday is going to have an “accident” and there really won’t be a defense.

Sandy Gady
Sandy Gady
43095 Activity Points

I just feel that as long as nothing bad is happening, admin will feel that they can just shove more and more in there and let things go. It will take something bad happening to turn it around ... and then it will be my fault...not the fact that there are 42 kids in a chemistry class built for 28.

Chris Leverington
Chris Leverington
4015 Activity Points

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