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Thu Mar 22, 2012, 07:31 PM

So, during a meeting last night a teacher called a couple students "DNR".

Last edited Thu Mar 22, 2012, 09:48 PM - Edit history (3)

This happened during a meeting with two teachers, a new (though experienced) one and another who has been here for many years, after school while meeting about students who present challenges to teachers.

The teacher who's been here longer said, smilingly, that they use the term "DNR" in reference to certain students who, it turns out, they want to "lose".

DNR evokes the medical care phrase "Do Not Resuscitate", or "let them die".

In this instance, the teacher explained, it stood for Do Not Re-enroll.

I was not amused.

The new teacher is a gift, a godsend, and we love that she's here. Some of the other teachers are jealous and have begun to bully her.

There will be changes, this is just the last straw of indications of poor and negligent care of our students.

Tomorrow will be interesting.

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Reply So, during a meeting last night a teacher called a couple students "DNR". (Original post)
NYC_SKP Mar 2012 OP
LWolf Mar 2012 #1
NYC_SKP Mar 2012 #2
sulphurdunn Mar 2012 #3
NYC_SKP Mar 2012 #4
sulphurdunn Mar 2012 #5
NYC_SKP Mar 2012 #6

Response to NYC_SKP (Original post)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 03:17 PM

1. I have a story about a "DNR" student.

We've all had students that are difficult to work with, for a wide variety of reasons. In general, I find a great deal of professional and personal satisfaction in creating an environment that helps those students find some level of success. I have also, at times, known students that I, or others, were relieved to see go. Not because I didn't want to serve that student, to do my job, to make a difference; but because of some factor that simply set us up for failure. I'd hit the wall, so to speak.

I had one of those students last year. One student from a very large family, whose parent was notorious for attacking teachers, for calling board members, for long rants at board meetings, for blaming every problem every one of the pack ever had on teachers...

The boy is intelligent and he's definitely a challenge. He has one of those charismatic personalities that he uses to control his peers; everyone's learning suffers. His family had taught him to confront authority at every turn, and way too much class time was spent managing those attempts. His mother called me once to tell me it was all my fault; I listened to her attack build steam for a bit, and then told her I was happy to talk to her about anything we could work together on to address her son's issues, but if she wanted to make it all about me she'd have to take her complaints upstairs. She started screaming, I hung up. She never spoke to me again. She showed up for her son's conferences and looked to the side, never looking toward me or making eye contact.

When he announced that he was not going to return the following year, I was happy. I figured we were all better off; his mom had made up her mind, she hated us, and it's hard to pull something constructive out of that. He transferred to a nearby school, I started the new year glad he was gone. Until...a couple of months ago. We got him back. The whole team sent the "PLEASE do not re-enroll" message to our admin; his class, with his absence, was positive and thriving. (We have an unusual structure; same kids, same teachers, for more than one years.)

We took him back. We ARE a public school; it's not really a choice. On the first day he came up to meet with me at my desk, get the information he needed, and he smiled at me. I smiled back and asked, "Why did you decide to come back? I thought you hated it here." He said, "Well, I thought YOU were bad, this school was bad, until I found out it's even WORSE out there in other schools." I grinned, welcomed him back, and told him that he knew what he needed to do to be successful. If he did, I'd be right there with him all the way, if he didn't, I'd be just as big a thorn in his side as ever. He grinned back and said, "Okay."

And he did. He's been graciously tolerant of everything he doesn't like, and determined to get passing grades. His spring conference was yesterday. His mother came in, smiled, shook my hand, introduced herself, and pretended that we had never met before. She was pleasant and supportive.

This is the only student in all my decades that I ever expressed a "DNR." Now I'm glad he's back. I'd rather find success than give up. I guess that's a good thing; we've taken 15 new students in the last 2 months. 12 of them are not new to the area, but transferring from local schools because they think we'll do a better job of meeting their kids' special needs. One mom told me, "If you can't fix him, I don't know WHAT we'll do." I'm not sure we really want that reputation. I didn't point out that "fixing" the kid might require that she do some "fixing" of herself, but we'll do our part.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #1)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 05:02 PM

2. Thank you.

You sound just like the teachers we LOVE to find.

And, there probably isn't a teacher in the world who hasn't had at least one "hit the wall, I can't do anything with this kid" student.

And, indeed, when "everyone's learning suffers" there's a good case for finding a different setting.

But we know that it should be called that, a better setting, and not use a term like "DNR" which also means "Do not resuscitate" or "let them die".

Thank you for being a wonderful teacher, LWolf.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Original post)

Sun Mar 25, 2012, 05:58 PM

3. This isn't a public

(non-charter) school I would guess.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #3)

Sun Mar 25, 2012, 06:16 PM

4. It is a public school.

But it is a sort of magnet program from which kids can be re-assigned to another program.

That would be so much more kind: to say that they need a different setting and not "DNR".

There will be meetings this week, nobody will lose their jobs or otherwise suffer an appropriate punishment.

No child deserves to be regarded in this manner.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #4)

Sun Mar 25, 2012, 06:34 PM

5. If the kids don't have

the right stuff I wonder why they were selected in the first place? The DNR comments is definitely inappropriate for a teacher to make publicly. I was unaware that magnet schools could reassign kids after accepting them. I'm not sure I agree with that since any failing in performance is as much the fault of the school selection process as it is the student's.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 25, 2012, 06:44 PM

6. The term wasn't used publicly.

Or it would really be messy.

But the use of the term is no less disgusting and indicative of an unhealthy attitude (to be kind) on the part of the teachers.

Indeed, kids need to be in the best setting and if there are problems with discipline or behaviors or performance or anything else, intervention followed by re-assignment are appropriate steps to take.

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