Detention Again

I am the detention supervisor at school.  When kids are late to school or class, they serve a half hour with me after school.  In the business world, we would pretend to be Donald Trump and tell them, “You’re fired!”  However, we can’t fire students.  We can only try to help them change their behaviors.

I also monitor what the school calls Quiet Study Time or QST.  Basically, it is a 105 minute detention.   Imagine the movie Breakfast Club; kids receive QST for chronic tardiness or class disruptions.  The only difference with the movie is that I never leave the room.  Students have to work on school work or work I provide.  They do not eat, sleep, text, listen to ipods, talk, or exchange notes.  Last week I had to kick three guys out; two for sleeping/putting their heads down and one for eating candy.

I usually see students who serve once and learn to change their behaviors.  Nevertheless, I have also seen the same kids for the same reasons.  One young man even called me “Coach” as if this was his extracurricular activity.  It sounds funny, but when he was with me, he did complete his homework.  There were others like him who seemed to only do work when they were serving their detentions and QSTs.  Then, I invited them to come in to do their work even when they were not in trouble.  They laughed at first, but I told them that they would be allowed to go as soon as they finished their work.  After all, they were not in trouble.  I think they told their friends they were in trouble and got their work finished.  For some, getting in trouble, or looking like it is cool.

Another benefit is I am able to help students with their English and history homework.  Today, I had a young lady ask me for help in math.  I looked at the letters and numbers, and they did not spell any known word I have ever seen.  Since there were only three of us in the room, I escorted her to her math teacher.  She was able to get correct homework help and come back.  She was thrilled that she was able to finish her work.

So, should a person who makes a mistake be immediately terminated?  Or, should he or she be forgiven?  It is a difficult decision every boss asks.  My experience has been to get to know the person.  There may be something causing the attention-getting behavior.  So, we try a new approach to manage the person.  If the behavior does not change, then termination will have to happen.  Sometimes, we have to admit that a leopard does not change its spots.

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2 Comments

Filed under Business, Education, Lessons from students

2 responses to “Detention Again

  1. Another brilliant essay by my friend who gets us misfits of the world! One can see why you’re such a beloved teacher. I especially appreciate your comment on Math. Through my years at PLSD, I covered detention, Saturday School, QST, and the Alternative School experiment for one year. I always enjoyed working for them because they thought more like me, a different learner and thinker. They’re pretty darn lucky to have you David! Now, if we could just get Donna Genelin to come back up North….

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