When enough is enough

Here’s an interesting story to wake up to. A high school math teacher in a Nashville, TN apparently breaks down in front of his class. A mobile video was taken by one of his students in the classroom. If you watch the video below there is not much that seems to come across as extremely out of the ordinary until..! Towards the end of the video is when he starts to get physically hostile. Throwing tables and chairs. Read the full story from News Channel 5 in Nashville.

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A Nashville high school math teacher of 17 years was captured on camera suffering what McGavock High School officials are labeling “an apparent nervous breakdown” during an 11th grade algebra class.

Donald Wood began by yelling at students to “shut up” and speaking incoherently about having “absolute power,” but quickly escalated the situation by throwing chairs toward students.

Mr. Wood was escorted out of the school and placed on administrative leave while an investigation into the incident is being conducted.

No one should deny how difficult it can be to teach a class of high school students. I have been in rooms full of an adults and they were far easier times than those moments that I have been in front of students to deliver. A simple 2 hour presentation can humble you.

Teaching is a tough job.

What makes teaching even tougher?

  • increased classroom sizes,
  • decreased incentives and pay for teachers,
  • lack of guidance for new materials and approaches,
  • benefits (vary by union contract and school system),
  • union strikes,
  • decreased passing of public school levies and bond issues from voters,
  • lack of concern, guidance and involvement from parents,
  • and the just downright badass kids (no nutrition, arts for expression or exercise programs to get that badass out of them)

The Job is Stressful

People have enough pressure as it is with life. The last thing they need is to have kids 25 years there junior making it tougher. I would say that teaching is one of the toughest jobs there is. Maybe the teacher was just a breakdown waiting to happen. There is no question that this teacher should be disciplined. At no time, regardless of the situation, should the teacher have reacted in front of the students this way. He could have waited til the end of the day and went crazy. But the fact remains, he did it during the class.


The video taken by the student only gives a glimpse of the incedent. If I were investigating this incedent, the questions I would ask:

  1. What happened for the 1 to 10 minutes before this video that set this teacher off?
  2. Does the teacher, Woods, have any medical history that contributed to his behavior (whether known, ignored, or unknown)?
  3. What part, if any, did the student(s) have to play?
  4. How long has he been teaching this class with these students?
  5. What is the history of troublemaking or lack of trouble that the students in the class create?
  6. If it was the entire group of students and they are difficult, shoudl they be seperated from each other in future classes?
  7. Does this teacher have any complaints on file or on record?
  8. What are the details of the teachers union contract in this investigation and the performance review information?

I know that many of us have performed investigations in the  corporate environment and even the manufacturing. Whether you have worked with exempt, non-exempt; union or non-union, many of them have been adults by the rules of the law. However, I would love to hear some of your thoughts on this issue!

What would you do? What would you ask? Do you think the teacher is coo coo?

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