So its apparently Teacher Appreciation Week and what do I see…another article slating teachers! Grrr! This is in response to anyone who truly believes that teachers are to blame for the state of our classrooms
I’ve worked in Education, I’ve been a teacher in Primary Schools and I’ve met hundreds of teachers when I worked as a health promotion adviser…I’m also married to one!
As a teacher I’ve had a five year old boy throw chairs at me and tell me to “f#%k off”. He had seen his father be abusive to his mother.
Did I desperately want to support him?
Did I try my best?
Did I care?
Yes, yes and yes!
Did I help? No not really.
Did his behaviour affect my teaching and his peers behaviour and learning?
Is that my fault? Apparently yes in some people’s opinion.
Not all children have witnessed physical abuse but there are more widely accepted parenting choices that are affecting our classrooms. There is research that shows that children who attend nursery at a young age have more behavioural problems.
There are numerous examples of how the naughty step doesn’t allow children to learn how to regulate their emotions well. There have been several studies that show how poor attachment causes long term issues. As Belsky states…
“Let’s imagine these are small effects. But let’s imagine a reception class of 30 children in which two-thirds of them have small effects that make them a little bit more aggressive and disobedient … versus another class of 30 in which only 10% of them do. Are those teachers going to be doing more time managing and less time teaching? Are those playgrounds going to be less friendly? Are those neighbourhoods going to be affected?
“No one single car pollutes central London or central LA. It’s all the cars that do it. People are so ideologically opposed to these findings that instead of being thoughtful about them, they respond as if there is only one way to think about them – small, don’t matter, ignore,” he says
Yes there are bad teachers, too much academic pressure and discipline policies based on old-fashioned strategies. But these aren’t the root cause of the state of our classrooms. We’re stuck in a horrible place where parents are blaming teachers and teachers are blaming parents.
Most from both camps want the best for their children and young people. If raising happy kids was so easy then none of the books, forums or ‘experts’ would exist…yet teachers are supposed to have 25 in a class and somehow treat them all as individuals, inspire everyone, oh and make sure that they all achieve better than their best.
It’s ridiculous to expect one person to do all this. Any good teacher is drained and exhausted from their daily attempts. If you gave those teachers 25 pupils with positive attachments, self respect and self esteem then I’m sure things would be different.
At the end of the day…They are teachers not counsellors, mental health workers, psychologists or miracle workers.
With two young boys at home I’ve seen for myself the ‘advice’ being pushed around parents. Ignore your babies night-time cries, punish toddler tantrums and label unruly teens. Now my youngest has turned one, I’m asked nearly weekly when I’m going back to work! Which nursery is he going to!
Perhaps our government should spend more time and money researching and promoting positive parenting practices and helping parents stay at home with their children (if they want to) rather than expecting teachers to pick up the pieces when a child turns four.
Yes I dislike a lot about our education system…most teachers do! But we don’t blame our teachers. Surely, it’s unreasonable for me to expect one person to be able to sort all of the issues of their class while somehow inspiring my boys and making sure they achieve!
We’ve made the decision to travel while our boys are young, partly for these reasons…and the fact that it’s an amazing opportunity for us all!
So, if your a teacher…thank you…thank you for trying everyday to make things better. I’m sorry that you don’t get the respect that you deserve in this country. I know you work most of your outrageously long holidays, never leave school by 3.30pm and then start again in the evening! Thank you!
Edit: I would like to add that I do understand that our education system seriously fails a lot of children with specific needs…ideally we need more good teachers, more learning choice and fewer pupils. I’m also not saying that if you send your child to childcare or use the naughty step that they’re destined to grow up to be messed up! It’s a combination of lots of factors. It doesn’t take many challenging pupils to disrupt an entire class’s education. It’s about looking at the bigger picture…rather than simply blaming teachers for everything. Looking as a society at how we treat children from the day they’re born. How we support parents to be there for them. How we educate parents about child brain development rather than obedience! How we expect children to act? How teachers talk to pupils? It’s about acknowledging that most teachers are trying to do a good job under difficult circumstances.