Apology letters

During my student teaching practicum I swore at my students. Actually one or two students were the target of the profanity but there was a roomful of students who heard it. Because I yelled. Loud. This was my day of leading the class without my cooperating instructor. He was at a conference or something. I was also beginning to teach the “big idea” I thought up to impress the students, my cooperating instructor, and my supervisor. I felt internal pressure because I wanted this to work, and my cooperating teacher’s absence definitely added to the pressure. (I had been eating a lot of red meat lately, cooked very rare, and I like to attribute my outburst to the fact that i had several pounds of animal protein coursing through my blood causing me to lose control of myself. Like eating dead animals was turning me into a werewolf or something). There was another teacher in the room. There needed to be as by law students aren’t to be left in classroom without a certified teacher.

The unit was the Holocaust and the lesson was a Shared Knowledge activity. Students would be presented with prompts, pictures or words associated with the Holocaust, then asked to write on a big sheet of paper what they knew about that prompt. A fairly challenging, or difficult, assignment as students would have to think about things that perhaps they had never been exposed to. This activity went over well with my class of advanced students. They got into it, had fun, discussed the prompts, and wrote down some good responses (some funny ones too). The regular students had a little trouble, as they probably hadn’t been asked to do things like this before.

Class began, this was 3/4 or 5/6, one of the morning classes. This class was held in a science room. A social studies teacher used the English classroom this period. This class was the most challenging. And by most challenging I mean a couple of kids liked to talk but not a bad class by any stretch. In fact, I was, as my cooperating teaching told me, lucky, as he and the other teachers on the teach were super strict with their classes so they were all well behaved. The students are all standing along the back wall. I had laid out all the giant posters containing the prompts on their desks so there was no where for them to sit. This change in class procedure surely caused the students to get excited, as normally they are sitting in their desks, facing forward, listening to the teacher.

I have all the materials laid out and it was time to explain to students what they would be doing. Well kids were chatty, good natured talking among themselves, while I was trying to talk. Rude to talk over the teacher and students know they shouldn’t do it. There were ways I could have gotten them to quiet down but I think the stress caused my brain to not work right. I asked students to get quiet a couple of times, then I said a “Be quiet, please” which didn’t work and I went from there directly to “What part of shut the fuck up don’t you understand!” or “Be quiet means shut the fuck up!” Either way I yelled at students to shut the fuck up. Which you shouldn’t do. Particularly to EIGHTH-GRADERS! Yeah they were 8th graders.

They understandable got quiet, from shock or fear, and got to work. And they worked quietly for the remainder of the class. The teacher in the room called the office and reported what happened. She said I should go to the office on my own, without forcing the principal to call for me, and I knew that I was going straight from the principal’s office to the exit. The principal read me the riot act and I left. On my way home I called the cooperating instructor to inform him of what I did and warn him of what he’d be coming back to.

I was pulled from this assignment and given another one to finish out my training. I graduated and got my teaching certificate and this incident has never come up so I’m grateful it hasn’t followed me around. My cooperating instructor advised me write apology letters to the parents of the students. I did and wrote letters to him and the principal also. Here they are.

 

 

March 30, 2008

Mr. ——-

8th Grade Language Arts

—- Middle School

RE: Letter of Apology

Mr. ——,

Please accept my apology for my actions during Period 5/6 on Friday March 28, 2008. As you are aware, during that period I directed a profanity at two students. Neither the situation surrounding my use of profanity nor the events leading up to the incident need be mentioned. My action is inexcusable and there is no possible explanation that could justify what happened. As my cooperating instructor my behavior and treatment of students is a direct reflection on you as a teacher and your ability to mentor new teachers. Not only do I have the responsibility of representing myself and the University of ——-, but I also have the added responsibility of representing you. In that regard, I failed to return the respect and support you have given me during my time as observer and as student-teacher in your classroom. You took on a great responsibility by hosting me, as well as providing me as a teacher in training the opportunity to be in a classroom and learn how to become what I hope will be a long career as a teacher. Again I took the opportunity I was given and squandered it with my behavior.

I regret if my actions have in any way lessened your reputation or standing within the ——- School District or community. What I said is nothing that I learned from you about how to be a good teacher.

Sincerely,

March 30, 2008

To: Parents and Guardians

RE: Letter of apology

Dear parents and guardians,

As you are aware on Friday March 28, 2008 during Period 5/6 I directed a profanity at two students during class. Please accept my sincerest apologies for this inexcusable act. At no time is it acceptable for a teacher to speak this way to students. As the teacher and adult in the room it is my job to demonstrate proper classroom behavior at all times. Before I can expect or demand courteous, respectful behavior from students towards themselves and others, I must first display that behavior myself. On Friday, I did not do that. Instead, I acted in a manner not befitting someone who is responsible for the guidance and education of adolescents. I have to show students that I have earned the right to be called their teacher and that I have earned the respect which goes along with being a teacher. On Friday I lost both that right and their respect.

I agree completely with the decision by the school district to end my student teaching experience and have taken steps to ensure that something like this does occur again.

Sincerely,

March 30, 2008

Mr.

Principal

—- —- Middle School

RE: Letter of Apology

Mr. ——-,

I want to apologize to you for my actions during Period 5/6 on March 28, 2008. As you are aware, during that period I directed a profanity towards two students. This behavior is completely unacceptable for a teacher and at no time should I ever use coarse language when interacting with students. As the teacher and adult in the classroom it is my responsibility to set the perfect example for behavior for students at all times. I have to show students that I deserve the right to be their teacher and be the one who stands in the front of the room to guide and support them through what is already a difficult time in their lives. By using profanity I lose both their respect and the right to be called their teacher.

My actions on Friday are both unforgivable and regrettable and I am taking steps to ensure that it never happens again. I agree completely with the decision to remove me from your school and I hope there are no lasting affects from what I said.

I want to add that nothing that happened is a reflection of the guidance and support that I have received from my cooperating instructor, Mr. ——. This is not how he talks to students and I did not learn this from him. I hope that he is not unfairly blamed and punished for what I did.

Again, I apologize for my actions last Friday and I sincerely hope that the reputation of the school is not tarnished by what occurred.

Sincerely,

 

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