2019-03-07 06:00

Sans Souci Debacle – A Parental Perspective.

One month into the new school year and a major upset in a classroom becomes the talking point on social media, radio and the print media. This very unsavoury situation is anchored in the absence of good old-fashioned obedience and respect for teachers! That is the bottom line.

Centuries ago a wise man said: “Woe unto those who are with child in these perilous times!” (...But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath on this people. Luke 21:23). He referred to one child; what about the poor teacher who has to put up with 30 and more children in a class. One cannot even begin to imagine how traumatic it must be for a young teacher whose mandate is to teach a subject, to start a lesson before learners settle down, only to be interrupted by a learner who shows scant regard for the rest of the class who wants to work. Good manners by the way ought to be taught at home. I taught a school choir for a few years and was forced to tell the habitual trouble makers “I can teach you music but I cannot teach you good manners – that you have to learn at home.”

Teachers need to be protected against unmannerly children. Teaching is no longer a profession that gets the respect it deserves. When we misbehaved at school during the 50s, 60s, and 70s we were reprimanded and depending on the severity of our transgression we were given six of the best by the principal with a cane on our hindquarter – the girls got it on their hands.

And lo and behold if we dared complain to our parents! We were belted because they believed we had brought their good name into disrepute and that the teacher would not resort to punishment had we not deserved it.

So! Here we are decades later! Good, law-abiding citizens! The products of parents and teachers who abused us! Clearly the cane had its desired effect on us! School going children are protected by laws that have been promulgated and so they do as they please knowing that the poor teacher is governed by a long list of: THOU SHALT NOT!

Since the use of the cane has been abolished a litany of abuse against teachers have been the order of the day. And so have crime escalated in schools. Having spent many years on various school bodies and the last six as chairman of a School Governing Body, I have had first-hand experience of teachers being bullied and even assaulted by learners. I have listened to some horrendous accounts of what happens in the classroom. Things have become so bad that teachers want out. They apply for teaching posts abroad where remuneration is more than double and working conditions much better or they just simply find an ordinary nine to five job.


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