Monday, September 27, 2010

Not in my classroom.

An email to my advanced students today. I don't tolerate any of this BS.

To the person who picked up the ipod touch in the classroom on Monday:

1)If you picked it up by accident please return it to my office.

2)If you stole it:
a)You can return it to my office tomorrow, my door will be open most of the day. No questions asked.
b)Stealing from a fellow student makes you a sorry excuse for a human being.
c)If you do not return it and I find out who did it you will be failed out of my class and I will recommend suspension to the department.
d)I have no tolerance for stealing, want to test me? Every advanced student now has an F until it is returned. Mid terms are coming up soon, don't want an F? Find out who stole it.



Unknown said...

it's too bad there's not a like button like on facebook, haha.

cookingwithgas said...

go get them!
On another note- I was happy to see and hold your pots when I was down to delivery more work yesterday.
One of those pots has a red sticker on it already!
Thanks for getting your work there and participating.

Mr. Young said...

Sounds like what I do to my High School kids!

Tracey Broome said...

Whew, harsh!! I would be hunting down an ipod thief if I was your student right now! Same as Meredith, I got to see your pots yesterday, beautiful!

Ron said...

Right on!

Unknown said...


Judy Shreve said...

Zero tolerance for Ipod theft is the only way to handle it. And a big giant F -- to everyone else means business. You rock as a teacher.

Kari Weaver said...

Ain't nobody going to mess with you, eh? We'll want to hear a follow-up to this.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how your school works, but no way would the high school I taught in allow me to give the whole class an F for the reasons you outline. Had I done so, I'm pretty sure I would be summoned to the HR office, union rep in tow, to explain to them how they would be able to keep me employed with such bizarre grading practices.

Surely there is a better way to resolve this situation. You are extorting your students, most if not all who had nothing to do with the disappearance of your iPod.

Seems that you had something else stolen a few months ago, can't remember what it was, a laptop or camera? You might be subconsciously adding your anger over that situation to the one at hand, and I certainly hope your threats will not result in anything to your employment there. It sounds like you are a great teacher, it would be a shame.

brandon phillips said...

It wasn't mine, it belonged to one of my students. The situation is this: it was stolen by a student from my class during class. If a student left their stuff just laying around and it was stolen I would pretty much just say:"sucks for you, don't leave your stuff laying around." When they come in for ceramics class they empty their pockets, keys, wallets, phones etc to make working at the wheel easier. Students often bring their ipods as we rotate listening to music many days. We have no place to lock things up during class, nor should we have to. That class has only 8 students all of which know each other, so whoever did it is pretty ballsy. My intent is not just to get the item returned but to send a clear message that this bullsh*t has no place in my classroom. Students shouldn't have to worry about their things being stolen while they're in class working.

Hell yes things being stolen in the past are going to influence how I take care of business now, I won't stand for it.

This is one of the many reasons that I would never teach at a public k-12. Too much politics and parental BS. The advantage to working at the college level is that the school actually backs up the teacher rather than questioning them. My students are all adults and I expect them to behave as such. I obviously cannot(and would not) give them a failing grade as their final grade, but their midterms can be purely subjective.

What's the better way? Have the campus police file a report? Give a speech to my class and hope that the student sees the err of their ways and returns it? I'm not that naive.

Scott K Roberts said...

Brandon, you are 100% right in this. Anonymous? Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

I think the last thing anyone wants is to have anyone other then the person responsible for this suffer the due consequences. That being said I think it (unfortunately) could be risky to be so bold as to suggest that all students will suffer for the actions of one individual. If a student acted alone in this and no other students have knowledge, then they will feel as if they are being pitted against each other and forced to suffer. I would think that the potential backlash from this could be damaging if and when students start feeling that their paid tuition is being threatened. Parents footing the bill could also become a problem.

Almost every college studio I have been a part of has had problems with items being stolen. I made the mistake of leaving a camera out during a photo class, leaving the room for a minute and having it walk off. I was left with a few rolls of B&W and an empty bag. I was completely dumbfounded that anyone would have the balls to steal while a class was going on and a department head was teaching a class. Nothing was done by the University. They offered to let me drop the class and take it again when I replaced the camera.
Countless dolan trimming tools have been snagged off of my shelf or taken from the inside of tool boxes. The only place I didn't see this happen was at a community college and this studio had (by far) the best sense of community of any I have been in!

I wish people that did this had some old fashioned justice coming but it never seems to happen!! Accountability is a thing of the past. Its something that younger generations will never be able to hand their hat on. Society has made it easy to squirm out from under poor choices. We live in a free-pass, your pardoned world. As a teacher I have learned that in order to keep my job and stay out of the hot seat I bite my tongue more often than not and follow the chain of command. As much as I hate to feel that life lessons are not being learned, I follow the chain and let any disciplinary action come from above. After that I try to get back to whats important- the things that are in my control and the lessons I can teach!

Don't get me wrong, I hope someone gets what they have coming and I hope the studio gets back to making lots of great pots and learning from a great teacher!

Anonymous said...

You always got to consider that at least one of the studen'ts parents is a lawyer. Which is probably why the public schools absolutely will not allow a teacher to give an entire class a failing grade because one student stole another studen'ts property. But then again, why would they (admin) allow what they would see as a loose cannon teacher get away with's punishing the whole group for the sins of one, and thats simply not fair. If I did this to one of my high school classes, admin would write me up for "inability to control class behavior" or some such nonsense...don't go on about the bearuocracy-that's the reality and you gotta work within the system if you want to reach the students in public schools....have a beer, get a good night's rest, and think about it. It's not fair what happened to the student, but now you have gotten yourself in a position where you likely could be seen as not being fair...(side note), since you sell your stuff on line and vent your frustrations from time to time on your blog probably don't help your sales if you rub a potential customer the wrong way. Food for thought. Nice blog, I appreciate it, thanks for the honesty, pretty rare in this era -

bottom line, think big picture. The school needs your expertise, commintment and skill - especially at the low wage and no benefit package situation you have. Then again, you are one of the very few lucky ones who can make your living from clay, and that is so impressive and makes some of us envious for sure. It would be a godammed shame if you lost your job over something that you thought

PS I'm the 1st anonymous, and Scott give me a break too, until you talk to me in a meaningful, respectful way to understand my point of view while in the same conversation I extend you the same courtesay. A little civility is not too much is it? I have no irons in this fire, I am concerned that young Brandon is putting himself into a situation that would have a negative outcoume for his job, and a negative outcome for the students that benefit from his teaching. Sheesh. Maybe you go have a beer too.

Scott K Roberts said...

A1, Well you know who I am. As for the "give me a break", that was in reference to anonymity not context. Brandon deserves the respect of knowing his detractors as well as his supporters, simple, and thanks, but a little early for a beer here.

Anonymous said...

Scott, I was never in any way detracting from Brandon.

If you re-read what I said I hope you would see that I was really concerned that a good teacher, who is a great asset to his college might have put himself in a sticky situation and it would be terrible if this affected his job.

Your own blog is set up so that people have to ID themselves to make a comment. This one is not, and in this particular instance there is a higher comfort level for me to remain anonymous. If that offends you, that I don't want to id myself, so be it.

BTW, your work is gorgeous!