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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Does Detention (or ISS) work?

Image result for kids in detention
image taken from www.teachreal.wordpress.com

So among other things in my life, I am a middle school teacher.  I have cafeteria duty, bus duty, car line duty, detention duty, dance chaperone duty, gate-keeping duty, and all the other add-ons that the profession provides.  One I have picked up this year either because I was deemed qualified or more likely, because I was standing near an administrator the day the decision was made, is half an our of ISS duty.

My hunch is the smarter, wiser teachers knew not to be voluntold for this one.

  But in a desire to change hearts and minds (more on that in a later post) I was approached and readily agreed.  The vision is to offer someone other than the ISS director access to the student during their time of "In School Suspension."  Hopefully, some encouragement and wisdom can be communicated that will inspire the young student to greater heights... or at least to not be in ISS again.

Today, as I watched seven such souls for my half an hour I realized more than half of them have spent as much time in ISS (or OSS - out of school suspension) as they have in a regular classroom this year.  That is a frightening thing since the semester is only four weeks old.

That got me wondering whether ISS or its after-school partner "detention," actually work?

I reached out to my friend google and read (scanned really) three posts.  So now I am an expert.  If you are reading this, perhaps you too are on a similar quest.  Or perhaps, you have already made up your mind and are just searching for some validation.


The case that it is effective I think is threefold:
     a. It removes the student from the classroom to allow other students to excel.
     b. For students not normally in trouble it can serve as  a wake-up call for their errant behavior
     c. For an actively concerned parent it provides a documented road map for discussion / repercussions at home.  Detention especially inconveniences a parent who must make arrangements to pick up a student who can not ride the bus home.


     a. Students are removed from verbal instruction in the classroom, left to sort through assignments on their own.  Often failing, students make little progress and can often become frustrated with learning.
     b. Students are surrounded often with their friends (sometimes they are even serving due to the same infraction) which they celebrate or with a nemesis which makes them focus on their anger rather than correction.
    c. The student is labeled when they return to the general populace.

There are other reasons for or against.  i would love to hear your thoughts?  And moreso, I would love to hear solutions?  How can students perpetually misbehaving be corrected in a way that supports them, the teacher, the administration, and their peers?

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