Monday, November 8, 2010

don't piss off the art teacher

I have been very sick with bronchitis and had to stay home for several days last week. Thanks to my asthma and chronic RSV if I don't go into quarantine when I get bronchitis I tend to stay really sick for up to two months at a time, like trips to the ER sick.

Anyway while I was out my darling students stole a TON of my stuff, from sharpies to 6 rolls of colored duct tape that I use to color code everything. Both of my staplers are now gone, two packs of un-opeaned oil pastles, our new, unopeaned set of little metalic paint pots and my bag of plaster strips. I am unable to lock my supply cabinets and so when the cat is away the mice will play.

I was also REALLY annoyed to find two of my six drawing maniquins had been pulled to pieces. Several teachers have tried to help me put them back together again but alas, humpty dumpty has fallen. No one can figure out how to pull the springs long enough and re-hook everything back together.

I had bought my drawing mannequins at Ikea for a great deal of only $6 each. They no longer sell them so each of those broken mannequins will be at least $10 to replace. I know who broke one of the maniquins. He even admits it. Apprently I can not ask his family to replace it or pay for a new one because he has Auspurgers and they say that ripping peoples stuff apart when he is mad is part of his "disorder". Yes I agree the behavior is linked to the "disorder"...but it dosen't make it ok AND I don't think it is a good excuse not to replace my mannequin. Due to this type of behavior being exused he regullary takes his, or his CLASSMATES projects and gleefully rips them up while laughing and when I try to intervine he throws my tables over and screams what a fucking bitch I am. He scares me. He is a 7th grader who is close to 6ft tall and about double my weight. Everytime I go to amin for help I'm poo pooed for not being sensative to his behavioral and education needs. Mom says he is playing around and would never Actually hurt me.

Anyway to replace everything that was stolen/broken, staplers to duct tape to drawing mannequins will cost at least $70. We are in the middle of our clay unit. While the school will buy the clay for me I have to buy any glaze or acrylic paint out of my own pocket. I told my students that unless my stuff shows up and they pitch it to buy me one new mannequin that there will be no glaze or acrylic. So far one roll of duct tape has show up on my door knob and one kid has donated a dollar. I am not happy.... don't piss off the art teacher when she has to pay for the supplies out of her own pocket >:/


  1. That totally would piss me off and I'd be ranting to an administrator! Too bad yours is soo bad that they will not take your concerns for safety seriously! That would never fly in my school. Condition or not, you do not allow violence in school. Does he have a 1:1 aid? If not, I'd be going above your principal's head to the union or special ed coordinator. That is unacceptable. I might even video tape his next rant to prove to the parent what is going on. THat is not "playing around!!!" I don't know how you are being so calm. I am so sorry for your situation! That makes me so upset and it didn't even happen to me! Hang in there and find the resources you need. Do you have a district wide email? Send a wish list out to the staff and see what you get. I got TONS of stuff that way. Maybe other art teachers in your district can donate some older glazes or paint so you dont' have to replace it this year. HUGS!

  2. Do you have a school officer? I worked in a really rough school district once and someone stole a quarter off of my desk. I had the school cop come in, freak them out, and shake em down. It really wasn't about the quarter; it was about them knowing that I'm a psycho about thieving.

    As for the kiddo was Aspergers. WTF. Anyone's right to swing their fist, stops at another person's face. You have a right to be sensitive to the needs of the OTHER students as well. And, they have right to not have tables tossed at them and/or have their artwork ripped up. I'd start insisting on having a and aide in there with you and/or start making comments like "I'm only concerned for the safety of other students." etc. etc. Sometimes reminding admin that it isn't about you, but it is about the other kiddos gets their attention.

    And, whoa that parent! If she said "he would never really harm you" to me and he was throwing tables I'd have to say something. I wouldn't be rude, but I would 100% point out that you have no way of actually knowing that, and that table throwing and destroying other people's work/property is not cool/okay no matter what your issues may be.

    I had a "molestor" that the school I worked at tried to warehouse in my art class. If I didn't "let" him grab at my breasts etc. he would molest the female students mercilessly. When they stuck him in my class for the second semester, I said "no way." The admin wouldn't remove him, so finally I told them that since the would do nothing about his behavior and I was getting molested everyday, that I would have to get the police involved. I have NO idea if I could even do that or not. . . But, it gave admin the idea that I wasn't going to take the "molestor" anymore. They put him in (get this) dance class where he proceeded to masturbate in front of the entire class.

    As for the stealing. . . I would see if you could get a cop to scare the kiddos. . .And, if that doesn't work, I wouldn't make a big deal about the glaze, but I sure as heck wouldn't purchase it myself. Honey. Those kids stole it. They aren't needy for glaze; it isn't food. You don't get paid enough money to be paying for everyone's art projects. I'd just change the project wherein glaze isn't necessary.

    Good luck!

  3. Where was the sub while you were out! Oh my gosh! Do people not care what happens to your stuff?! One time I had a couple of boxes of crayons that had been taken and they sit in plain site for students to use. Students know to not get any materials unless asked or needed. My substitute was told in my notes to monitor my supplies and make sure everything was turned back in. Easy 7 tables so 2 crayons boxes for each, 14 boxes should come back!!! I'm so sorry for your troubles!

  4. Thanks for the input, I shot off an email to officer Dave our SRO so he can come scare the shit out of the kids. I think he is coming on Friday. Amy, I can' totally fell for your molester incident. I had a similar student last year who liked to rub himself against me. And touch and talk about my breasts. Being 5ft tall I was having a hard time holding him off. I was lucky and had several students who acted as my "bodygard" during class and after school. I had just gone to the union about sexual harassment when the family moved.

    As for my Auspergers kid...I don't know what to do. Before he came to our school he was in a self contained B room in a different district. When he moved to our school district his mom refused to sign the B room paperwork and insisted he be mainstreamed. I've had him for three years and while his behavior has remained the same, he is getting bigger and scarier. Last year his mom "voluntarily" removed him for the last few months of school because he repeatedly assaulted several students and his teacher. Yet he is back in the normal classroom again this year.

    Here is the trick...his mom is one of the only parent volunteers we have. She is out of work and works in the school office all day long for free. They need her help so badly that they are afraid to make her mad, cuse when she is mad she rallies the other parents to do things like petition to have teachers fired. I don't understand the whole situation. I will talk to the area special ed coordinator next time she comes to the school

  5. IF IT is Possible spend your own money on Padlocks!!! _ I too have problems with equipment being mismanaged or disappearing. It hasn't been to bad this year but it varies. AT my age 55 I am not particularly impressed when it happens either. I will be spending lots of time next year securing more of my equipment as I ran out of materials in some areas- someone posted the idea of a egg carton with the correct number of erasers and pencil sharperners!! Looked like a good idea.
    You deserve better like all us Art Teachers at time.
    Cheryl H
    Perth Australia

  6. I do not envy you your precarious situation. My only suggestion is to encourage the mom to check out a program called brain highways. It is a neurolgical reorganization program that truly work if the parents get the kids to do the work. The center is in Encinitas, Ca, but they also offer an online version of the course. One of the major stresses of the program is not allowing "never-ever" behaviors EVER! Despite a diagnosis, an individual will never be allowed to behave that way in the real world without consequences and should not be allowed to do so in a school environment either. Bringing a police officer to let kids know that that type of behavior in the real world would be considered criminal and subject to prosecution might be a good idea. Ultimately the behavior won't change though until the parent decides enough is enough and feels equipped to eradicate it. Brain Highways is very much about equipping parents to do just that. There is a series of videos on the home page that gives a good overview of where they feel the problems lie. Please check it out and pass it along as you see fit.

  7. we had a lovely chat with officer Dave and the next day both of my staplers, two rolls of duct tape, the oil pastels and several sharpies were returned. The person who broke the second drawing manikin fessed up and payed me the $5 for it (that is a lot of my area so I said that was ok instead of the $10 to replace it) Of ALL of that progress, the kid that I am talking about above, who I know broke the other manikin will still not take any responsibility EVEN after the other student who broke the manikin told him that since he has "maned up that the other kid should too."

  8. As a mother of a child who has autism I am APPALLED at the behaviour of that child and worse yet his mother. I am so sorry. That is entirely unacceptable. How does this child not have an IEP and a one on one aid? Put up a Paypal donation button on your sidebar and I will personally donate the cost of whatever he destroyed on behalf of the rest of the autism community. This is NOT what should happen. I am so sorry.

    ~Jenn Scott in Forest Grove

  9. If that is what YOU saw imagine what went on! It must have been chaos and NO administrator stepped in. 2 words. . .Get out. I work at school now with just as many challenges (as the last school I worked at) but because we all support each other this would never go on. I would keep my eye out for a new position because I've learned that you can't change a school without proper management. Been there and my heart breaks for you. I would put that mother's number in my cell phone and call her repeatedly during class if she doesn't answer. Your administrator should pull her out of work to observe her son's behavior for a day (or call the authorities.) I would also ask her to come observe her child during class and sit right next to him. DOCUMENT everything for sure. Try to talk to her on e-mail and through letters so you will have documentation that you can bring to the powers that be (administration or the authorities.) I might at least scare the other students.

  10. YEAH! I'm glad some positive results came out of the meeting with the officer. And, well, you can't make everyone "man up." BUT, it is good for the other kids to see that the one little minion is comfortable with others taking the fall. It looks like the kids learned something out of the whole ordeal.

    I feel for you w/ regards to the Mom of your Aspberger's student. Since she is up at the school all the time, I can relate. I work at a private school where parents roam the hallways like it is a country club ("ain't got nothing better to do than bitch n bake" is how I put it). And, I have a mother of a student -who is not aggressive, but is often annoying to other students- who is the same way. She needs no fault with her child. . .Ever. And, you know? I'm tired of her, and I'm tired of ignoring it. I don't ignore it anymore. For me, I felt like I was having to swallow a big nasty pill every day I allowed this particular child's behavior to go unchecked. So, for me, that works.

    But, I understand how your situation is different. I think you just have to decide if you would rather piss off this mom, or would rather suffer the wrath of this angry kid.