One of my classmates spent a year teaching at a school in Zimbabwe before he attended business school.
One day, a student’s parent approached him and said, “You are a very bad teacher.”
Dumbfounded, he asked why.
He never expected to hear what the man had to say next.
Apparently, my friend was not a good teacher because he did not beat his students when they misbehaved.
Violence for violence’s sake is not conducive to a positive learning environment. That said, a school that prevents teachers from enforcing discipline also sets barriers to effective education.
The video above shows that even in a case where a student clearly physically threatens a teacher, the school system immediately blames the teacher when she defends herself.
I am not calling for more teacher-on-student violence in schools. I am only calling for more teacher discretion in enforcing discipline.
If keeping order in the classroom involves some judicial application of physical coercion, so be it.
I agree. I went to school with a teacher who literally threw a desk at you if you got way out of line. (Not kidding – this woman was a butcher’s wife). At the very least, it got our attention which was the starting point for learning.
You cannot do that nowadays. The ACLU would go after you in a heartbeat and the school would throw you under the bus.
At my middle school it was a student who threw a desk at a teacher.
Please tell me your school expelled that student…
Teachers today operate under something rather the reverse of the Spider-Man mantra: “With no power, comes great responsibility”.
As time has progressed, particularly since the No Child Left Behind act, more and more of the burden of education has been shifted to the teacher’s shoulders, while at the same time many of the teacher’s abilities to enforce discipline and performance have been stripped away.
Progress has been made under NCLB, of course, but the stated goals of the act are thoroughly unattainable, and Obama’s Race to the Top program misses the mark just as badly.
Solving the situation is not as simple as enforcing high-stakes accountability on teachers, and throwing money at schools.
Because sometimes, the teacher has a student that cannot be disciplined, cannot be taught, with parents who cannot be bothered.
And sometimes, schools will spend $2,000,000 installing a camera system in the cafeteria to see what the kids are eating.
An excellent description of the ridiculousness of our educational system.
I was just thinking about this issue yesterday, although it was with respect to the penal system instead of education. It occurred to me how averse America is to the idea of physical punishment, but there’s something lovely about the way nature tells someone to not to touch hot coals or run headlong into a brick wall. The feedback is immediate, memorable, and highly unpleasant. I’m not saying teachers should be allowed to physically strike students, but I wonder how much money we would save if we adopted Singapore’s policy of caning convicted criminals and setting them free instead of paying a starting teacher’s salary to feed, clothe, house, and guard each one of them annually. I assume you saw this? http://bigthink.com/ideas/38573
Thanks for sharing this link!
I hadn’t seen it before. That was one heck of a great letter!