Thursday, April 08, 2010

Great Intentions, Bad Execution

As with probably most school districts we have a dress code policy (though at the other school I worked at it didn't prevent me from having to see massive cleavage and feel uncomfortable about saying something). But maybe unlike many schools, at my current school, it's mostly enforced. Today I noticed a girl without shoes in my 1st period. I asked her what was up and where were her shoes and "put on your shoes". This was sort of a "drive by" on my part because I didn't expect any grief from her.

I started class, and then noticed a while later she still didn't have on her shoes, so I was more firm with "put on your shoes". "No," she said. Ding, ding, ding, warning bells. The whole class (in my memory) quiets down to see what'll happen. I stared at her wide-eyed in disbelief and asked her to step outside, which she did. I got the class to continue moving on with their work (the thrilling quest of finding zeros of quadratics, ooh, aah), and went in the hall to "discuss".

I asked her what was wrong and why she wasn't putting on her shoes and waited. I got no sensible response. I said that her options were to put on her shoes or to go to the office, and I asked her what her decision was. She opted for the office. This was at the beginning of a 1.5 hour block class. Then I had to simultaneously teach and figure out how to get word to the office without a disruption. I sent e-mail, and thankfully (I LOVE my administration this year!), I got an immediate response that it was being dealt with.

In the last 10 minutes of class, the administrator came back with the girl, and I found out what's what. Apparently, it's "A Day Without Shoes", and this girl was participating. Did she ask me? Did she explain to me? Did she have documentation about this? No. She waited all the way (even with the administrator) until she was facing suspension for insubordination before she explained in tears what she was doing.

Oh my goodness, 14 year old minds and their logic/decision-making-skills, etc.


  1. Haha - good lord.

    I'd never heard of A Day Without Shoes.

  2. Well, and the funny thing is when she came back, and I asked why she hadn't explained, she said, "I told you it was a day without shoes". Hmmm, I guess she thought it was so obvious (or that I knew EVERYTHING), that that would be enough.

    Ms. Cookie

  3. Turn that around and we have teachers that assume students can do fractions in whatever form they came in.

    I did. I took pi/2 + pi and wrote 3pi/2 in the next line. Half the kids were lost. Took me a while before I figured it out where they were getting stuck.

    She shouldn't have assumed.

    I should've known better.

  4. I actually had a student ask me if she could do this last week, but we're on spring break so she missed it. I hadn't heard of it either though. Hopefully your student had a better idea than mine as to what it was standing for. Mine said, 'Well, it's to show support for people that can't have shoes.' Oh, well why didn't I think of that?! :)

  5. 14 year olds have no logic...there have been times when a kid has fallen apart on me in class and when they end up in the office and the principal tells me what was happening, i think, "why, oh why didn't you just SAY that????"


    i swear there is an invisible sieve over the door of my classroom that removes all logic and common sense on their way in and all knowledge gained in the previous 55 minutes on the way out. it would also explain why they don't believe the things they learn in other classes translate to my class at all.

  6. I guess I have to keep remembering that: that teenagers still haven't developed that part of their brain.

    Ms. Cookie

  7. Anonymous10:56 AM


    I have to admit, while I teach teenagers, I see a little less of that... but my kids tend to be more verbal/expressive.

    Also, I kind of know the kids I have to pry it out of... there's a level of intimacy in a small school where you kind of get to know them pretty well.