Guest Column

Parents, take responsibility for kids' behaviour

2018-03-11 06:06
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What has gone wrong? This is the question I’ve asked after yet another video of a pupil attacking her teacher went viral this week.

In the short clip, the girl pupil stands at her desk, picks up her book, walks to the front of the class and throws the book at the female teacher. It hits the teacher on her back as she walks out. The pupil returns to her desk; some of her classmates console her, others cheer.

None of the pupils tried to stop their classmate from attacking the teacher.

Similar videos have emerged recently.

Social media was abuzz about the incident. Some condemned the pupil for lack of respect, others showed their sympathy, asking: “What did the teacher say or do to make the pupil angry?”

I don’t know what the teacher said or did, but was the pupil’s reaction acceptable and does the school have effective systems to deal with such conflict? Would the relationship between the pupil and teacher be restored?

Did the pupil realise that attacking her teacher – in effect her parent for seven hours every school day – was equal to attacking her own biological parent?

There is no amount of justification for such behaviour. But these incidents continue emerging. In trying to answer the many questions, one looks at the role and involvement of parents in children’s education.

Does our role start with the daily signing of homework and packing the school hall when our children receive accolades at the end of the year?

If one looks at the absence of parents at other school meetings that take place during the year, one can’t but stop to ask why parents fail to be fully involved in their children’s education. Many reasons can be advanced about why parents fail to attend meetings – such as annual general meetings; information meetings and school governing body elections, currently under way – but make time for the accolades day. Maybe it’s because it looks good on our social-media platforms. I don’t know.

The less glamorous school meetings give parents the opportunity to know who teaches their children what subjects, find out about the behaviour of their children in school and help develop a relationship of trust between teacher and parent. Our failure to take part in these meetings leads us to fail our children.

When videos go viral, we ask ourselves why our children are attacking their teachers. The answers are right in front of us, but we refuse to see and accept our role in failing our children.

But, then again, it is the teachers’ fault our children are attacking them. Right? I don’t think so.

Follow me on Twitter @DumisaneLubisi

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