#PandemicEDU: Teflon Coated Chaos

Teflon is a brand name for a synthetic chemical called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Teflon is used to coat a variety of products because it’s waterproof, cuts down on friction, and creates a nonstick surface.


Winter break has arrived and I’m so happy. I need this 2 weeks off like plants need sunlight. I fully expected this last week to be chaotic (full moon and everything) but it went beyond that and into a place of mindlessness that I wasn’t prepared for. The hilarious thing is: the problem wasn’t with the students. The problem was with the adults.

My team was hauled down to the main office for a meeting with admin. Apparently, according to all the other teams, our team isn’t controlling our students to their satisfaction. I sat quietly and listened to the specific complaints, making note that their kids do the same shit, and nodded my head at the appropriate moments when our veteran teacher spoke up on the complaints.

To give background, the veteran teacher has 25 years in the business and until this year, has been a team leader. The rest of us are all new to the building: one is new to teaching, another is 3 years in, and I’m using all my energy giggling at that light I see at the end of the tunnel. We’re quite the bunch. All the other teams have at least 2 years of history with each other and are so cohesive, its nauseating.

In defense of our condition, we admitted that our veteran, not being the “leader” anymore (a completely different story) and therefore, not under any real obligation to “lead”, has worked to try to keep things running smoothly. I, as a former team leader, have tried to do my bit to help in that regard, although I know nothing of the nuts and bolts of how things work in the building. I think it is appreciated. The 3 year teacher started as at the high school level, then spent a year remotely and is now struggling with 7th graders. He is to be commended for not walking out of the building and never returning. The noobie has moments of breakdown, but she said she’s a fighter and is working to be better daily.

So, complaints about what we are and aren’t doing with our students (with no acknowledgement that other students are just as out of control) is water on our backs. We are Teflon coated and the chaos is just that… chaos. Students, some of whom spent up to 2 years out of a classroom, who have no social skills and academically, spent their remote learning being taught by teachers who didn’t know how to teach remotely, are simply acting out and the truth be told, our hands are tied regarding controlling them.

Yes, yes, the APs say to write referrals. Only problem there is, most either never get anything of substance in the way of consequence and/or a slap on the hand is given cus mama (who doesn’t want them at the house on OSS) comes in screaming and makes it all go away. I’ve been thrown under the bus twice and survived. The students doing that are shocked that I’m loving them to death instead of being fearful of them. It is what it is. I’m teflon coated.

And to think, as I write this, Covid cases are going back up and we might just end up remote again. I’m actually all for that. I’d be able to teach without distraction then, I’m sure. Chaos makes me stronger. How about you?

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