May 26, 2015
This is Wayne Rodgers, principal of Queen Elizabeth Regional High School, and I’d like to share a concern we have pertaining to the number of interruptions our teachers are experiencing in their classrooms.
This morning, I shared the following concern with all students via our public address system and to make sure there is no miscommunication between our school and your home, I’d like to pass along this message to you as well.
Not only are teachers dealing with students who come to class forgetting to bring pens, pencils, notebooks, textbooks, calculators, assignments, etc. but they also deal with students who interrupt and disrupt class by using cellphones, asking needlessly to go to the washroom, leaving class and not returning and a myriad of other disruptive behaviours, but the most significant interruption to the learning environment is lateness. Students who enter the classroom late quite often interfere with teachers teaching and students learning. These interruptions contribute to a school culture that does not value education, teachers and students.
In our recent Quality of Life surveys completed by students, staff and parents only 32.5% of students said that they treat each other with respect and only 36.6% of students said that they treat staff with respect. We as teachers and administration have tried a number of strategies to encourage students to arrive to school and attend class on time but for some students this is not working. We have a number of students who are chronically late and disrupt classrooms far in excess of what’s anywhere near being acceptable or reasonable. Yesterday alone, as an example, there were 82 students who were late UNEXCUSED for classes. That’s 82 classroom interruptions for teachers and students for unexcused lates. This doesn’t even include the students who had an acceptable reason for being late…which also interferes with teaching and learning.
Mr. Hodder and I are compiling a list of students who constantly show disrespect for the learning environment by being late and will be putting in place consequences such as either banning their vehicles from school property or issuing out of school suspensions. We have tried other strategies such as speaking with individual students, detentions, reasoning but these strategies are not working. I know that for many students who make a conscious effort to be in school on time, who show up to class on time, who show respect for both their peers and teachers, I’m sure they will appreciate their fellow students not interrupting class and negatively impacting their learning on a daily if not hourly basis.
For those students in Grade 12, marks can mean the difference between getting into a post-secondary institution or not getting into a post-secondary institution…between getting a scholarship or not getting a scholarship. Constant disruptions to the classroom can negatively impact their future. In the recent Quality of Life survey, students also indicated that only 65.8% of students are encouraged by the school to be considerate and empathetic towards others. Well, now 100% of students can consider themselves as having been encouraged to be considerate and empathetic towards others.
I thank you for your attention to this matter and hope that you can lend your voice to ours and encourage your child to contribute to a positive and caring school culture which values respect and education.