Thursday, November 26, 2009

More 'Education'

a sad but by no means unusual tale via (of all people) Stephen Fry. No, I don't subscribe but enough people do.

But it's the comments that strike me.

Anyway, I'm one of those supply teachers, freshly arrived from Australia with a few years under my belt and a sense of freedom to supply teach. I ended my first week with a stiff drink and let go of the breath I was holding in for the whole week.
Wow. Didn't expect the utter lack of discipline, planning and chaos that I've so far seen at EVERY school i've been to.
My only slight objection to this very real piece of writing is when you mention about teachers who arn't afraid of taking charge. While I am only speaking on my behalf as a teacher I can see in this day and age when panic and pandemonium about our children's safety is at ridiculous level, teachers hands are, literally, tied behind our back.
I was warned, do not touch a child not even if they are in danger when I went for my interview. Excuse me?! I haven't followed that advice, especially in the half or dozen times so far I have physically squeezed myself in between two boys out and out fighting in the classroom and pulled one off the other.
I think the problem is, there is an absolute disrespect for teachers and the job they do. Students fight back with you, say the most horrible things to eac other explode wit anger at the smallest thing and constant endanger themselves and others with vicious fights and taunts right in front of my face. Now as a supply teacher I take it with a grain of salt, I mean everyone knows when your "proper" teacher is away its time to play, and I employ EVERY behaviour management technique in the book. Most of the time it works, once or twice though its been shaky and then what?
Its hard to control a child's behaviour when he has no respect for the situation or te boundaries, when they would rather hurtle themselves in a blind fit at another student in the class over them answering a question before they could.
The pent up anger and agression that is shown in students is a very worrying thing for me to witness, and I think before we worry about test scores and multimillion dollar equipment and classrooms we need to look at what sort of support can we give these children, and what sort of home are they coming from.
I as always feel sorry for the half or more of the class who have to sit and deal with this daily occurrance, and think what is it like for you??

I am (was) a teacher but found that many of the schools that I did work in it was just as you had described - crowd control and prevention of fights or breaking up fights. I loved teaching but due to physical health problems could not cope with 'THAT' kind of teaching so I now work in a bank!! I so wanted to teach those that wanted to learn - who had a thirst for it and an ever inquisative and enquiring mind - children who constantly questioned - these are the children who needed me - not the ones who could not be bothered or had no interest.

There are schools in inner London which have multiple playgrounds separated by skin colour. The pupils separate themselves this way, and the school has no choice but to supervise the 'black' playground with black staff and the 'white' playground with white staff, otherwise severe disruption occurs.

While I believe my own school isn't as bad as this, I see some of the things you describe regularly. The real trouble-makers are not tackled early enough or with sufficient seriousness. The result is the layer of kids that misbehave because they see others doing it - and would stop if their examples were excluded - remains. And yes, the easy targets are often picked on by some staff instead. I am a teacher. I regard myself as a professional, but the institution that is Education clearly does not agree. I teach in a culture of blame - it's not 'the management' that's at fault, it's those of us at the chalk face. I suspect all the 'good' teachers left the school you refer to a long time ago, probably fed up with the same thing I am.

I currently work as a bus driver. The level of abuse that myself and my colleagues have to tolerate on a daily basis from school children in our local area is obscene. If these renegade bullies talk to their elders in such a manner, what hope to the more vulnerable children in the classroom have?