Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Monday, 9 June 2014

Talking in Class

Both the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail have reports today about an 11 year old girl who had her mouth taped shut with a piece of Sellotape for 15 minutes because she kept chattering in class. Her father has complained to the school and demanded that the teacher should be suspended.

This shows what happens when you remove virtually all the sanctions that teachers can apply against disruptive children. In my day, parents for were invariably supportive of their children's teachers, but these days the opposite is frequently true. Suppose this girl had been given, say, a hundred lines, no doubt the father would have been complaining that it was a totally pointless punishment. If she had been suspended for perhaps a week, the father would have complained that it was excessive and disrupting his daughter's education. What the father doesn't seem to understand is that his daughter's chattering was not only disrupting her education, but also that of some thirty other children. Regrettably, it's a no win situation for many teachers many of whom enter the profession full of enthusiasm, but after a few years simply end up going along with the flow leading to many of our failing schools.

This sort of behaviour is one of the reasons that many parents who can afford to send their children to a private school do so, and why many thousands of others would do the same if only they could afford it. When you are spending good money on you child's education you expect value for money and expect your child to behave in class and try to absorb what is being taught. Thus you would be very supportive of a teacher who punished your child's misbehaviour in an appropriate manner. Additionally, other parents would not want their own children's education to be harmed by a disruptive child and would soon be complaining to the school if the disruption continued. Thus everyone favours order and discipline, and the school can get on with its main job of educating children.

The exact reverse seems to apply in state schools where everybody seems to condone bad behaviour except the teacher concerned.

Incidentally, this incident took place last December, and the father has complained not only to the head teacher, but also to the local education authority and Ofsted. He is now demanding that the teacher should be suspended, which is why it is back in the news. The father said that he was reluctant to send his child back to the school, but did so after she said she was missing her friends. So if she hadn't missed her friends, he wouldn't have sent her back to school! Personally, I think that his child should be suspended for disruptive behaviour and the school governors should give the teacher their full support. But as it is, the child now knows she can get away with almost anything and will no doubt continue to disrupt no only her own education, but also that of the others in her class.

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