Should school replace parents ?

After watching a TV show on Australian national TV during which politicians were debating all kind of subjects, I feel quite upset. Australian politics are shaken by the soon election of a new Prime Minister. Education was of course one of the subjects discussed. As usual, a grumpy middle age white man pointed out that the youth is lost, damned, Satan worshippers and illiterate. The Coalition dude, (I’m French, I’ve been in Australia for only a few months and I’m having a hard time memorising who is who…anyway), started by blaming the teachers. According to him, the problem with the youth comes from the lack of ability for teachers’ hierarchy to take disciplinary measures on teachers. Everything comes from the bad teachers, the incompetent teachers who are not able to discipline their students, not able to teach them basic literacy and numeracy without the assistance of the parents, with less and less resources and more and more students per class. My experience as a teacher is strictly French, I haven’t been able to teach in Australia yet, but after 7 years of teaching under right wing presidency, I’ve seen our resources decrease, the number of students per class increase and the absence of the parents. I’ve often seen myself trying to contact parents, by writing to them, emailing them, texting them, leaving messages on their voicemail, sending smoke signals and pigeons, and I’m still waiting for them to get back at me. How a teacher is suppose to replace parents in the construction of a child ? How are we supposed to be psychologists, social workers, trying to actually teach something with less and less resources and less and less consideration ?

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2 thoughts on “Should school replace parents ?

  1. The discipline I feel is nothing to do with what teachers “can” do, the problem is the respect that the students have. The punishment didn’t deter me from doing ‘naughty’ things at school, but the respect and morals I had.

    Incidentally the only thing banned at schools in Australia is corporate punishment (physical) and expulsions have to be approved by the state government department. The rest largely falls upon the Principals. My sister is a high school teacher and confiscated a students phone in class after she was told to put it away numerous times. She handed back the students phone at the end of the day. That night was sister received a call from the police, the father of the student wanted to press charges for my sister taking her phone (the police apologised but said they had to follow it up). The next day the Principal told my sister that she’d be in the wrong (although school policy said no phones in class). The Principal wouldn’t support my sister. My problem with this scenario is one the Principal wouldn’t stand behind their teacher, and two the father was more concerned that their daughter’s phone was taken by a teacher than the fact his daughter was acting inappropriate in class.

    This is the problems facing teachers … parents teaching their children that they are “better” than teachers, and that the teacher is in the “wrong”.

    • And the message sent to kids with that kind of incidents is “you can do whatever you want, even if it’s against the rules, you will find someone to defend you”. Is that the way we want our children to grown up ? Do we want them to be the kind of persons incapable of following simple courtesy ? The kind of persons who think that the world has to bend to their will ?

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