I wish someone here in the United States would do a survey of teachers to find out if something similar is happening to teachers in the United States. An article cites Facebook bullying is on the rise, and that teachers have been physically attacked by parents. Schools are wasting resources checking out social networking sites, looking for the threats.
Is anyone surprised? Are you appalled?
What happened to a teacher being a true expert in her field? What happened to the automatic respect that came with being a teacher?
I know that students aren’t respectful of teachers. That’s part of the act of growing up. It’s easy to be disrespectful to someone you spend 7 hours a day with. But in the past, the parents were there to support the teacher, holding their children to a high standard that they would enforce at home.
When I was a kid (yeah, I sound old old old), if the school called, I was in trouble. Instantly. My side of the story didn’t matter. A teacher had to take the time to call and that was enough of a reason to get punished. Now teachers have to deal with threats and cyber bullying?! By parents?!
I’m not always supportive of the educational system, because I think it’s inherently flawed. But I am supportive of individual teachers. I wish they were less tentative when giving out detentions. If they believe my kid deserves a detention, then they do. End of the story. I am trying to be 100% supportive.
Currently, there is dissention over the firing of the elementary school principal in my district. My initial reaction was: good riddance. I’ve not been a fan of this principal since the day she took over. But I have been supportive. I’m surprised at the number of people who are protesting her firing, which is one year shy of retirement. She continues to be the principal, but has been asked to leave at the end of the school year. The school board is not saying what caused the firing, citing confidentiality policies.
Since my experiences with this woman have been less than positive, I’ve wondered about the people speaking out to the media about their disagreement. We had the same principal. They find her supportive and loving. I did not.
But it all boils down to perception, doesn’t it? And people act on their perceptions. It’s when these perceptions become public that they can cause problems.
I’ve let my feelings known about the principal to very few people. Mostly my non-school friends have heard my rants and offered the cajoling words and support I needed. I treated this woman respectfully and tried to be supportive. I certainly never communicated any negative feelings about her to my children! I know that speaking ill of any adult in front of my children ruins any chances they have of forming their own opinions. I don’t feel the need to have my children agree with me 100% of the time.
I never would have spoken ill about her on the internet, where nothing is really secret.
Perception. That’s what I take into account. The boys all had experiences with a teacher (she was Aaron’s homeroom teacher at one point) and I adored her. She taught the way I wish all teachers would teach: firmly and strictly. Kids knew the rules and knew the consequences of breaking these rules. Even when I was substitute teaching at the school, I would seek her out because I found her so warm and loving.
I was sad to hear another parent complaining about her. The mother said she didn’t like that the teacher never got on the floor with the kids and always made them come to her. Physical limitations prevented the teacher from being as active as some other teachers. The mother felt the kids were missing out.
Then another mother came forward singing the teacher’s praises. Her main reason for being so enamored: that the teacher sat down and always dealt with the kids on their own level.
Perception, once again.
That’s the lesson, isn’t it? To know that our own perceptions are clouded by personal feeling and our histories. When we go off and broadcast negative things about anyone, especially cyberlly, they can’t be undone. They are floating out there for anyone and everyone to see. Even if done anonymously, they can wreak havoc on our communities.
I hope this is a lesson learned by our society as quickly as possibly. Stop. Count to 10 before you take hold of your keyboard…