The Sad State of Schools

  gardener 17:29 02 Jun 2008

I read this article the other day:
click here
My wife is a supply teacher and she started work at a new school today. She had three classes today, all of which were unteachable, most of them cannot write a proper sentence and their behaviour was intolerable; swearing at each other and even to her, continually shouting and refusing to shut up.

My wife is an excellent teacher and can usually control a class with ease but she said that this lot were completely out of control, even with a Teaching Assistant present in the classes. Consequently the day went by without a single child learning anything. How sad!

I think Chris Parry has a valid point.

  rossgolf 17:43 02 Jun 2008

its all the same attitude towards supply teachers. its jst a "doss" trust me

  Forum Editor 18:22 02 Jun 2008

is the reason I would not last as a teacher for more than about five minutes without getting into serious trouble.

One of the basic facts of life is that, given the opportunity, children will take liberties. They'll push at the boundaries until someone - an adult - stops them. They're emotionally immature, and need a defined behavioural framework within which they can feel secure; that's why schools have traditionally been places where rules abound. Without rules there is anarchy, and the breach of a rule must have consequences, otherwise you might as well give up and go home.

What has happened over the past forty years or so is that the core values of discipline in schools has been eroded. It's been a gradual but inexorable process, and the result is the situation in which your wife found herself today. Huge numbers of today's parents have decided that they can't be bothered to instil a sense of discipline and respect in their children, mainly because it wasn't instilled in them by their parents - we live in a society which has taught itself that the most important person in the world is 'me', and that I can behave badly with impunity because if the teacher (or anyone else) dares to try to restrict my freedom to behave like a lout I'll have them in court for something or other.

Millions of parents are a total disgrace when it comes to being role models, and their children are a disgrace. I work in France a good deal, and French parents can't believe some of the things they hear about the behaviour that goes on in our schools - they are astonished that we allow it, and are horrified that we let our children go out into the world without a shred of respect for authority.

  gardener 18:38 02 Jun 2008

Forum Editor,

I could not agree more with your comments.

As my wife says, the children know all about their rights but nothing about their responsibilities. I suspect it is the same with their parents.

  Jim Thing 20:39 02 Jun 2008

Spot on! Like gardener, I agree totally.

My youngest son served 22 years in the army, most of which was spent overseas. On returning to civvy street he and his wife decided that there was no way they would condemn their bright, polite children to the mercies of the UK's youth culture and the English state schools system. My son was born in Canada and so was able to take his family to live there. None of them has ever regretted it.

  DrScott 23:53 02 Jun 2008

do have an unfair advantage - the pick of their pupils and motivated parents.

However, discipline is an important issue in private schools and as such they are generally very good at enforcing it.

It's a tragedy that parents generally have to bankrupt themselves to enusre their kids can read by the time they leave school.

  gardener 00:36 03 Jun 2008

What I find disturbing is the apparent lack of interest in any subject offered at school. My wife tries her best to make her subject stimulating and a very few kids do respond, but the majority do not, in fact they go out of their way to disrupt the lessons and quite obviously are determined to stay ignorant.

Yes, we weren't model pupils when we were young but there is something different here and it's not just parental indifference. These children are determined NOT to inquire or be inspired to wonder at the world around them. This makes the teacher's job impossible and the future unthinkable.

  robgf 00:50 03 Jun 2008

It's sad in a way, the number of school leavers I see at interviews, who are obviously bright, but can only write like a five year old, such a waste.

We take on a few, who exhibit a mechanical aptitude. But it does come as a shock to them, as I wont tolerate talking back, or bad language and they can leave their mobiles, ipods, etc, at the door.

But I find, that all it usually takes, is a few months to bring their maths and English up to a reasonable level.
They just haven't been taught properly and bad behaviour has been ignored, instead of being punished.
When you explain that using swear words and slang is unacceptable and wont be tolerated, the rapid improvement in their vocabulary is amazing. Suddenly they discover that they do know more than three words.

  Chegs ®™ 05:55 03 Jun 2008

Teachers today are so bound in rules it's little wonder the kids dont respect them.If a teacher shouts loudly at a child,they can expect a disciplinary hearing and possibly lose their employ.If a child shouts at a teacher,the rest of the class join in.When I attended school,talking in class got you the board eraser bounced off your head.Therefore,order was maintained.If a teacher were to commit this today,they'd be in court charged with assualt.Parents can be charged with assualt for smacking a naughty child,therefore a child reasons they're unpunishable.I am not trying to imply that its impossible to bring up children with manners & respect instilled into them without beating them,as my daughter has very very rarely been smacked & it makes me very proud to hear the comments she receives from other people.The naughtiest children seem to be created when both parents work,the parents assume that the child will learn howto behave towards others during school(they do,usually following the misbehaviour of other kids)but teachers arent there to teach behaviour.

  newman35 07:19 03 Jun 2008

Have much sympathy with a lot of what you say, but the fault is OURS, and I mean all of us above 40 years old.
We have stood back and watched (even encouraged) the present attitude of youth towards learning and 'respect'. Just look back over the 60s/70s to see the models of behaviour we set!!
With regard to discipline etc, I'm afraid the toothpaste is out of the tube, it ain't going to go back in, so we need different strategies to motivate kids.
Cannot agree with the statement about working parents - one could make similar claims for any group - single parents, jobless, immigrants, etc etc.

  Forum Editor 07:39 03 Jun 2008

has nothing to do with bad behaviour in a child in my opinion. Children acquire a set of values from their parents, and to a degree from their peers. If all parents set a good example then it's reasonable to assume that the vast majority of their children will follow. That has never happened of course - there have always been bad parents and badly behaved children.

There have been times, however when children were far better disciplined in schools, and that wasn't entirely due to strict classroom regimes - children were brought up to respect authority and their surroundings to a greater extent than seems to be the case today. Boundaries can become blurred, and there's evidence to suggest that the quality of teaching today is much better than it was thirty or forty years ago - a very good education is there if children are able and willing to assimilate it.

That's not the problem - the problem is that large numbers of children today don't appear to leave school with much of an education; there's an apparent divide between those who want to learn, and those don't seem to care. There are social reasons for this, and they're disturbing. We have a situation in which lots of parents put themselves first and their children's academic and moral education second - it's a self-fulfilling prophesy.

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