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Teachers don’t get respect—but do they deserve it?
First-place winner $50

By Mayco Tobar, Thomas Jefferson Trade Tech

Many teachers seem to lack respect from their students. When I was in the fifth grade, I remember a time when one of my friends stole $600 from our teacher’s purse as she stepped out to have a few words with a parent. My friend got arrested and didn’t have the opportunity to participate in our graduation ceremony.

Moving along to my eighth-grade math class, my teacher had less respect from his students than all the teachers in the school put together. One day, each student in class crumpled up a piece of paper and agreed to throw it at the teacher at the same time. Then we did it. He called security, and they gave the class a long speech, but it wasn’t enough to stop our actions.

One day that same teacher told a student, and I quote, "I wish we were in Mexico, so I could beat you with my ruler." The student shared the teacher’s comment with administrators. That teacher never came back to teach again.

There are many different ways that teachers can discipline students. When students act wild in class, teachers should have punishments set up for those actions. If that doesn’t work, detention should be given to the students. Not after-school detention, but detention during nutrition or lunch and assigned paper pick-up. Students will be so embarrassed that they’ll think twice before committing their actions. But if that doesn’t work, send students to the dean’s office. That will take care of them.

Teachers’ rules aren’t always fair!
Second-place winner $35

By Natalie Moore, Thomas Jefferson Trade Tech

Problems occur when teachers give assignments, but don’t explain them at all. Then students get mad and want to fuss at the teachers. In my eighth-grade math class, the teacher always had an assignment on the overhead projector when we walked in the classroom. But he never left instructions on how to do the assignment.

We asked him many times, "How do we do this?" He answered, "The assignment is on the board."

The class was not allowed to talk either. So if there was a student who figured out how to do the assignment, we couldn’t ask that student for help until after class. But sometimes that assignment was due at the end of the period.

One day we got tired of his ways, and the students took over his class. That made him cry. One time, he got so mad that he threw his briefcase out the window and over the balcony. The principal made him leave school. But this whole thing could have been avoided. All the teacher had to do was explain the assignments. Then the students would participate.

Rules are another problem that need to be handled. In the beginning of the school year, rules are always explained but hardly enforced. For example, during my expository composition class, the rule states that there is no drinking allowed.

One day the air conditioning was broke, and it was so hot that you’d sweat even if you sat still. One of my classmates had some water and took a sip. The teacher grabbed her water and threw it in the trash. Then he stood in front of the class and drank his own water. That’s not fair! Unless the students say something about it, nothing will happen.

If teachers and students worked together, there should be no problem with discipline. The situation would be equal on both sides. Regardless of how bad situations can get, we can do something to make them better by putting our thoughts together.

A dean caught us ditching

Third-place winner $25

By Scott Jensen, Birmingham HS

Here at Birmingham High, we have what is called the "tardy sweep." Well, me and a couple of other people decided to get away from this one dean. So we ditched the tardy sweep. The dean saw us as we slipped away, and he tried to catch up to us.

He called for us to come back, but we kept on running away from him. We were having fun making fun of how slow that dean was, because he couldn’t keep up with us. But then another dean appeared right in front of us, with the other dean right behind us. We were trapped. We got caught.

We were taken to the principal’s office, where each of our parents were called. Then we were given seven hours of community service, which we were to complete the next day, or else we would not be able to participate in graduation, plus we’d get suspended.

We all ended up completing this community service the next day, and we haven’t really done anything that dumb at school ever since. It was funny at the time, but not when we were faced with a discipline like not being able to graduate.

So yeah, the student discipline here at Birmingham High is pretty fair. People get mad at it sometimes, but hey—it’s their own fault for doing dumb and immature things, so they should have to deal with the consequences.