I don't know who is going to go into teaching when these people retire, I think, as I watch the science teacher try to get the kids to take notes on what makes up a plant cell. There is no respect for the teacher, and nothing as yet for me to do, as the co-teacher, because the kids haven't stopped to hear the whole assignment. They are talking out of turn, talking back when reprimanded (really, they are not "reprimanded," they are asked politely to please be quiet while the teacher is talking and they then ignore him); half of the first twenty minutes of class is spent explaining the rubric and half is spent telling them to shut up and listen. We laugh sometimes at them, but there's nothing funny about this level of disrespect. It used to be a call to teach, "Who Will Teach The Children?" Now, it's just a rhetorical floating in the air, because I can tell you, no one is coming to take this job to teach these students who have learned since they first came to school that they don't have to respect their teachers or do what they say. There are no repercussions, no consequences.
The science teacher is now explaining that those who put their names and dates on their papers yesterday while the sub was here will get ten points, because at least they did that. That's right- they don't have to have answered any of the questions on the worksheet from yesterday, they just have to have put their name and date on the paper to get points for achieving something. This is how it works. We artificially inflate their grades and send them on to the next grade when really they were failed by so many teachers that by the time they reach high school, some are barely fluent in basic math and reading, and spelling- well, just forget about it.
The science teacher is telling them that if they turn in their paper at the end of the class today, they will still get a 75%. So, harass the substitute teacher yesterday and do nothing, but get a 75 today on the work because we believe in second chances because God knows we don't want you back in this class next year.
"Mister, I wasn't here yesterday!" a kid shouts. Now the teacher is explaining unexcused vs. excused absences, and which absence means they can make up work. He is laughing, but there's a hint of mania in it, and I can tell that as we sit here twenty minutes before the bell rings on a Friday, this teacher has had enough. He is on the verge of coming unglued. His students know it and keep distracting him, keep pushing. Why not? If they can achieve another class period lived through with no work done- they've won. They are winning, by the way. And we should be very, very concerned.