I gave this kid every possible break, every possible option. I tried being nice to him, discussing things with him, humoring him, yelling at him, sending him to the office. I even gave him 'special' (meaning "way easier") versions of quizzes. I sent home weekly written progress reports, and I had a previous meeting with the mother, during which she asked to be informed if he caused any problems in class.
So he passed my class with a "D," meaning he gets his math credit and moves on to high school, but mom is bent out of shape because I sent him to the office for trying to kick the door in. She blames my "bathroom procedures." (Which consist of, if a kid says he needs to go, I let him go. These kids are 14 years old, not 4). This kid should have been expelled the second week (and admin said they'd support me if I chose that course), but I kept trying to work with him, or deal with him, and did everything I could to help him pass while keeping him from completely disrupting the rest of the class. When, finally, he pushes it to the point where he gets a final office referral... on the last day of school, mom comes unglued.
I had more parent conferences during the past five weeks of summer school than I've had over the past three years of teaching, whether as a sub, a long-term sub, or a contract teacher (including with the CSAP Program for "problem" students) for math and science.
Other students reported hearing this kid's mom outside the school saying she was going to "kick the butts" of the other students she blames for her son's misbehavior.
In the meantime, the kid's twin brother, who was in a different class, ended the summer school term in tears because he apparently failed his English correspondence course. The "evil twin" moves on to high school; the "good twin," (albeit "motivationally challenged") will be held back. And mom can't blame the school, because it's the responsibility of the parent and the student to complete the mail-in correspondence course materials.
It's really sad that so much energy goes into "protecting" the noisy disruptive brats, while the quiet ones who would probably benefit from some encouragement and assistance fall by the wayside. There are only so many resources and so much time, and the brat kids suck it all up, leaving nothing for those to whom it might make a difference.
For the record, although I was teaching math, I also put in some time assisting students in my class with their English correspondence class materials if they asked. Which they did. The brat brother did his best to disrupt our brief English study sessions, so it does not surprise me that his own brother failed. There's no possible way the borther could succeed with a kid like that in the house.
Whatever. I'm a crappy teacher because I have poor bathroom policies, because I send kids to the office when they're attempting to destroy school property, because other students (who are no angels themselves) complain about the really wild ones, and, apparently, because I put every effort into helping even the hopeless cases pass and move on to 9th grade.
Statistically, if a kid fails 8th or 9th grade in Hawaii, the chances that he or she will graduate high school are reduced to something like 20%. I do not want to fail students. And I did not have to fail any summer school students.
But I sent a jerk to the office... who most other teachers would have sent to jail. That makes me a crummy teacher, apparently.
The Emo kid earned an "A." His two Scene friends earned "B" grades. The ESL kids worked really hard to earn "B" grades. The rest of the Breakfast Club had mostly "B's" and "C's." A handful of troublemakers earned, legitimately, passing "D" grades, and when they saw their report cards you'd have thought they'd won a trip to Disneyland.
"Thank you, Mister, thanks for passing me!"
"I didn't pass you. You did it yourself. Keep it up, and don't waste another summer in summer school!"
It's Miller time.