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My husband and I have produced two successful children, despite the fact that I was born on a very rough council estate and grew up in poverty, my father having abandoned my mother. My son is very academic, successful at music and has just come first in the whole city in an art competition. He is not a square and has lots of friends. My daughter is number one in the county at badminton in her age group and has a high national ranking. I travel round England with her. She also does pretty well at school.
Neither have ever had a single negative comment from school regarding their behaviour. They have both always had very good reports. So what's the problem I hear you say? Why is it that I have had to come off my job as a secondary languages teacher? The reason for all this is that I can't stand the disruptive behaviour of many of the pupils.
I went into teaching because I basically like children and also wanted to help "deprived" children to get a good education and hence have better chances in life. I have been doing this job for nearly twenty years, but it has become so bad that I cannot stand it any more.
In the past couple of years I have been increasingly verbally abused, insulted, ignored and sneered at. So have my colleagues. More and more pupils want a free ride and are not prepared to do any real work. Neither are they prepared to listen.
Teachers have to pussy-foot around in case they "say the wrong thing".
No wonder employers are concerned about the lack of basic skills - I'm not surprised. Some of these kids must get such a shock if they manage to land a job, by any miracle. Senior managers in the school are becoming more and more faceless and have no guts. They walk around in their suits speaking to terribly-behaved pupils in a compromising, softly-softly manner. No one wants to take issue with these thugs, because it is too much hassle and too "confrontational". Teachers have to pussy-foot around in case they "say the wrong thing".
I don't totally blame the kids, but the society that has let them down by failing to draw the line and say "enough is enough, you cannot speak/behave like that any longer". What favour are we doing them by allowing kids this young to be in control of the situation? What are they learning? I heard an expression once about children not liking a "house without walls". They need the security of having some rules that are adhered to, or facing a consequence.
My most radical idea recently is that all secondary schools which are experiencing problems with behaviour and attitude should be divided into two, with one half for the anti-social pupils, who would be kept in line by ex-army types supporting the teachers and the other half for kids who want to learn. When the thugs behave in a more acceptable manner, they can go back into the "nice" half of the school. If they don't, they have to go back to the square-bashing half.
If the response is that there is no money, then it would be a damn sight cheaper than all the money thrown into useless, waste-of-time projects. You might also find that a lot of kids stopped needing personal classroom assistants, who work on a one-to-one, spending all day trying to control one child while sitting next to them all day! Once these children were shown how to behave, they might learn how to continue like this.
How many children 50 years ago would have needed someone to sit next to them all day in the classroom? It is laughable to think of! And that was in the days of extensive poverty. What is going on in this country? What is wrong with people? Why can't people sort out their own children and families so that conscientious teachers like I was are not forced to go off with stress. I now face the prospect of no job and no career. What did I do to deserve this?