Year: 1996-1997
Month: September
Leader: Group D

Situation/Case Study:
STUDENT/TEACHER/FAMILY ISSUE

Description:
The situation chosen was number nine in which a student led a movement toward class divisiveness based on racial discrimination.

Hypotheses:
1. It seems that teacher was frustrated in this situation because teacher saw a blatant disregard of respect for people in her class yet felt his/her hands were tied as far as "correction of the problem because of parental involvement. As one deals with classroom situations it is important not to harm family values and parent/child relationship. 2. Teacher may have felt confined because of the three sides closing in on him/her. Teacher became smothered under the pressures of what to do or not do: cross parents, students, and administration. 3. Teacher wanted to respect parent and family values. Teacher tried to provide a different experience to help ESL students succeed. Teacher wanted to develop self-reliance in students and provide choices. 4. Teacher's actions regarding the tension between the ESL and English-speaking students I feel were driven by a frustration with regard to a lack of a support system for professionals. The parent was not going to change his mind. Teacher didn't feel he/she could say anything to the student and teacher didn't feel there was someone else to turn to with the dilemma. 5. Teacher was in a new situation, a new experience, not sure what to do, did what seemed best. Probably what I would have done. Teacher was not feeling supported by administration due to past experience. Teacher was frustrated with balance between modeling respect for parents with perpetuating prejudicial attitudes and risking possible false accusation (calling parents prejudiced). 6. Teacher tried to please a parent upset with a classroom "problem." A problem that was in the parent's mind. Teacher felt frustrated because he/she knew the parent was in the wrong and could not tell the child this. 7. Teacher seemed like he/she really cared about the kids. Teacher wanted them to get along and was pleased with the way they did get along initially. After the parent call teacher didn't want to address the student who was leading others to be hostile toward the ESL students because he/she wasn't sure what was going on and didn't want to wrongly accuse anyone. Teacher didn't want to do anything that would fuel the conflict and make it bigger than it already was. Perhaps teacher felt naming it or making it more overt would really make things fall apart. As it was teacher held the class together with a thin thread.

Theories behind practice:


Impact on others:
1. Racial discrimination. 2. Perceived lack of administrative support. 3. Irrational parent demands. 4. Growing class divisiveness.

Solutions:
1. Consult with the ESL teacher about the problem. 2. Label equipment, etc., in room to assist ESL students with English. 3. Set expectations for kids. Discuss them and expect them to be adhered to. 4. The school as a whole could communicate to parents about the aspects of diversity in the school. 5. Approach the principal who is concerned about racial tension in the school.

Comments:
The group felt the session was productive. The teacher whose case was processed felt relieved just to talk about the situation and receive some support. Minor problems that occurred were the group's tendency to offer solutions while giving hypotheses. The facilitator re-explained process steps from time to time and kept things on track.