Thursday, May 19, 2016

It’s Hard to Be a Teacher

Last week there was a news story about a teacher who humiliated a high school student in the classroom. I wasn’t going to write about this but I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

I think we are going too far in criticizing teachers and giving students who refuse to cooperate attention. This never should have been a news story and I think the school district should have backed up the teacher.

This main thing that I saw in this story was that a student was uncooperative and the teacher was handling the situation. No person was physically touched. The district was forced to respond that the way the teacher handled it wasn’t appropriate. All of this did nothing but undermine the teacher’s authority in the classroom.

I have to tell the story that causes today’s students to roll their eyes. If I had been that student who refused to cooperate, my parents would not have complained that I felt humiliated. They probably would have slapped me into yesterday (and no, I don’t consider that child abuse because they never had to do this. I was smart enough not to want to see yesterday!). Not only was the student’s behavior noncompliant but it was also disrespectful and there is no excuse for disrespect in the classroom.

What is going to happen in the workplace when the worker refuses to cooperate? That person would get fired. No boss is going to tolerate a worker’s parent coming up to complain that the worker felt humiliated!  Are we not supposed to teach students that sometimes they need to do things that they don’t want to do? I’ve had to do many things on the job that I didn’t want to do or felt like it was someone else’s responsibility but if my boss told me to do it, I did it.

By giving the student attention for refusing to cooperate and encouraging parents to argue that their child was humiliated, we are just taking more and more control away from teachers. There needs to be control in the classroom in order for the teacher to teach and meet the needs of all the students. When the teacher has no control, very little learning will take place and it will be a miserable situation for all.

At what point do we draw the line? What if whatever I say in the form of constructive criticism is considered humiliation by the student and/or parent? Teachers can’t be effective in the classroom if they are afraid to say anything.

I’m sorry for the rant but I had to get it off my chest. I feel frustrated for teachers today and I really think they deserve more support from parents, districts, and communities.

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