Could you imagine if you were scolded by your teacher every time you got a question wrong in school? It would certainly put a damper on your educational experience, wouldn’t it? A video was released from the Success Academy school in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, that will make you question just exactly who is hiring these people to educate the future of the United States.
In the video, a first-grade class sits cross-legged in a circle on a brightly colored rug. Charlotte Dial, the teacher, has asked a girl to explain to the class how she solved a math problem, but she has gotten confused. She begins to count, but pauses and looks at the teacher as if for help.
In response, the teacher takes the girl’s paper and rips it in half. The teacher sends the girl to the “calm-down chair” to sit away from the lesson. Dial continues to berate the child from the rug, sharply stating, “There’s nothing that infuriates me more than when you don’t do what’s on your paper.”
After sending the girl away, Dial asks another child to show how to solve the math problem. Dial, again, chastises the student, exclaiming, “You’re confusing everybody. [I’m] very upset and very disappointed.” You can watch the video below.
Charlotte Dial works at a Success Academy charter school in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. The network considers her to be such an effective teacher that she was promoted last year to being a model teacher who helps train her colleagues.
That, quite frankly, is extremely alarming.
Has Dial ever considered the implications of stage-fright when getting up in front of your peers? Has she ever considered that perhaps her teacher methods have caused for this mass confusion amongst her students? As a student who struggled endlessly with math, this kind of treatment and behavior on the part of Charlotte Dial is immensely inappropriate. You need to support your students and calmly explain the lesson to them. Can you imagine how frustrated they are that they don’t fully understand the material?
The video was recorded in the fall of 2014 by the assistant teacher who had become concerned with Dial’s daily harsh treatment of the children.
After being shown the video last month, Ann Powell, a Sucess Academy spokeswoman, declared the video’s contents as shocking and that Dial had been suspended pending an investigation.
The network leader, Eva S. Moskowitz, said that the video did not coincide with Success Academy’s educational philosophy, but referred to Dial as a “wonderful and committed teacher.” She agreed that Dial lost her temper because she “so desperately wants her kids to success and to fulfill their potential.” Moskowitz confirmed that Dial had been reprimanded and received training in how to be more aware of her emotions and how to manage them.
A week and a half later, Dial returned to the classroom and remained an “exemplar” teacher within the school network.
Current and former staff members stated that the network’s culture encouraged teachers to make students fear them in order to motivate them. The process of ripping up students’ work if deemed insufficient is endorsed by many Success Academy school leaders and is done in order to get students’ attention and demonstrate urgency.
They’re first grade students, people. The last thing they need is to develop negative sentiments about going to school. Schools should be safe places of learning. They should not, under any circumstances, be places where students have to fear being embarrassed by their teachers.
Moskowitz repeatedly described the former assistant teacher as “unethical” for not sharing the video with Kerri Nicholls, the school’s principal at the time.
Dr. McDonald, a professor at New York University, said that the behavior in the video violated an important principle of schooling. He said, “Good classrooms (and schools) are place where error is regarding as a necessary byproduct of learning, and an opportunity or growth. But not here. Making an error here is a social offense. It confuses others – as if deliberately.”
The only thing unethical here is the behavior of Charlotte Dial towards her students, period.