Retired Teacher Of Thirty Years Talks About Feeling On Guard In A Classroom Full Of Teens

11:43 PM, Sep 27, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC-- Following the incident at Dudley High School where a teacher was attacked by a 17-year-old student, a retired school teacher talks to News 2 about violence in the classroom.

Shirley Jakeman os a retired school teacher. She spent thirty years in the classroom teaching 8th and 9th grade in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School District.

Jakeman said that teachers nowadays don't automatically have respect just because they're the teachers. They have to work on gaining that respect from their students. For, Jakeman, it was often a challenge because respect is not always taught in all households.

In some classes she found herself on guard because you never knew what some students might do.

"Teaching is not a babysitting job and it's not an easy job. It's very frightening to stand in front of 30 teenagers and be one of the smallest people in the room," said Jakeman.

Jakeman talked to News 2's Liz Crawford about the importance of an administration that supports their teachers. Without support from administrators, Jakeman said teaching can be a very isolating job.

"You have to be a strong person to be in a classroom. There's days when you want to walk out of there. There's days that you swear to yourself, I'll never step foot in there again, but you go back, because hopefully you care about kids," added Jakeman.

Related: Student Charged In Dudly High Teacher Assault

In a 2010 anonymous survey taken by Guilford County teachers, 73% of Guilford County's elementary teachers believed students follow the rules of conduct. The number is only 59% for middle school and only 53% of high school teachers believed students at their school follow rules of conduct.

Guilford County School Board member, Amos Quick told News 2 that he believes what happen at Dudley on Wednesday is one isolated incident that should not overshadow all the good in the district.

"Even their own teacher working conditions survey say that our schools are safe places to be so certainly I know that for a fact that our schools are safe and good places to be. The overwhelming majority of our students and teachers particularly our teachers and other employees come to work day after day year after year without incident," said Quick.

Doug Logan is the director for the Guilford County Youth Detention Center. He told News 2 that about three months into every school year, he sees a jump in inmates at the detention center. Logan said there's no increase in the number of violent students but he says the intensity of the violence is growing. For instance, girls are using weapons when they get into fights.

Logan also said that before students and teachers have a physical altercation, there's usually a buildup of issues before. Typically, the student has been suspended several times.

WFMY News 2

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