I now wish to apologise for many of my comments, as it seemed as if I was saying that ALL kids were badly behaved and ALL parents were incapable of caring for their offspring.
I was (and am) certainly wrong about that!
I will tell the reasons for my bleat, after this apology is issued.
I apologise to parents and children as I have recently been made well aware that there are (still!) many children and many parents who ‘do the right thing’ (to put it plainly).
In the news during this week, I read of children who made things to sell and then donated their takings to a charity. There was also a young boy who busked with his guitar, raised a few hundred dollars and gave it all to an organisation that helps refugees and asylum seekers. Then there was the youngster who set up an online petition asking for parking fees at hospitals to be reduced for regular users. (He is a regular hospital patient himself). His petition gained enough support to be very successful.
Apart from these good news stories proving that many (most?) kids are good kids, it also says a lot about their parents.
Hooray for these children and their mums and dads!
And, not just these good guys who have made the news…Twice lately, when I have been out walking my dog and have made room on the footpath for passing scooter riders, I have been ‘rewarded’ with big smiles and cheery ‘Thankyous’. Now, that tells us something!
So, now that I have owned up to being a biased and grumpy old ex-teacher, I will reveal how this happened.
This is the report that set me off (and I quote):
(The heading read): “Australian kids behaving badly in classrooms, OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report says.”
(And adds): ‘Things you would find in a classroom: a student pointing a replica gun at the teacher, an entire class deciding to ignore the teacher in silent protest, chairs thrown, threats and overturned desks.
One teacher had three Year 9 boys skip her class and smear their poo all over the school gymnasium walls, while others had been cursed with the full spectrum of profanities.
The list went on…and on.’
Some quotes from teachers:
"They just didn't listen to a word I said. They shouted across the room, pushed and shoved each other and threw things around the room. The worksheets I handed out got scrunched up, covered in glue or torn."
"I taught a boy whose grandfather was a Nazi so he wanted to debate with the class that killing the Jews was in fact the right thing to do."
"The whole class tried to stand on the desks or hide under the desk before the teacher turned around."
"The brightest student in the year would hold his breath with frustration and anger, then go bright red with a hysterical crying tantrum."
Therefore, it would not come as a surprise that two global reports have revealed Australian classrooms are among the most disorderly of the OECD nations.
Australia has a "problematic situation" in terms of classroom discipline, according to the report on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
"About one-third of the students in advantaged schools, and about half of those in disadvantaged schools, reported that in most or every class there was noise and disorder, students didn't listen to what the teacher said, and that students found it difficult to learn," the report said.
And so it went…
And, now can you see what upset me?
But I didn’t mean to condemn all parents and all school students…
Here’s the response from The Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, who says teachers and principals need more support, as well as parents playing their part (my emphasis) in addressing the issue.
Minister Birmingham states: "Parents must be part of the solution (again, my emphasis) this cannot be something that rests on the shoulders of teachers and principals alone because attitudes, respect are of course formed as much in the home environment and the rest of life as they are in the school community itself,"
So, the minister acknowledges that parents have a responsibility. But saying and not doing – that is, not suggesting how we might improve the situation - doesn’t really solve any problems
That won’t get anyone anywhere, will it?
And so the problem remains.
But, in the meantime, I do apologise to all the very many decent people involved in schools, whether kids, parents or teachers.
Keep up the good work!