What’s A Teacher To Do?

On the news this morning was a story about how a teacher was taped by one of her kindergarten students. The parents didn’t like how the teacher was treating their 5 yr. old son so they sent him to school “wired”. Now I don’t agree that the teacher should have used some of the words she did…she obviously was very frustrated with this little guy…BUT one of the analysts for this segment said that she thought the teacher should not only be fired but be sued by the parents. Should the teacher have called the child names? No. Definitely not. Should she be reprimanded? Probably so. But let’s be real. We don’t know the whole story here….just hearing a few sound bites and then jumping to a conclusion is ridiculous. One of the other ladies on the panel said, “this child could have been kicking, rolling around on the floor, and biting.” As a former teacher I can understand that. If this little boy was unruly and disruptive to everyone else in the class-making it extremely difficult for anyone else to concentrate, what is a teacher to do? What happens when the other children’s parents call and say, “This child is biting (screaming, hitting, cursing etc.) my child. What are you going to do about it?” In the meantime the teacher is expected to teach lessons and have the other 20 children listen and comprehend. Learn how to be polite and share. Learn to follow directions. Keep them on task. Challenge the bright children, help the slower learners…. Most of the time the principal of the school is busy with administrative challenges of his/her own. Time is at a premium. Classroom discipline is left up to the teacher and since teachers are only human, frustration sets in. Some days are more difficult then others…..Now, like I said earlier, this teacher should not have called names to a 5 year old. On the other hand, no I do not believe that she should be sued or fired.

It really is getting to the point where teachers can not do anything to discipline students. The story last week about the male teacher attempting to break up a fight in a middle school was also reprimanded. Should he have let the students kill each other instead? Or just beat each other to a bloody pulp? Or rather be like the teachers in a Memphis high school that were supposed to be chaperoning a dance and instead stood back and let the kids “dance”, simulating various sexual postures. Is this now considered “normal”?

To be honest, teachers are getting more and more restricted in ANYTHING that they can do—either to protect themselves or their students. Constantly having to worry about being fired or sued. Teaching is certainly not for the pay. Most teachers genuinely care about their students. I have a feeling if things continue this way that there won’t be many good teachers left.