Newsletters


2018-04-16
Newsletter 154 - SPECIAL EDITION! School Violence


SPECIAL EDITION – SCHOOL VIOLENCE

As teachers I hope you had an opportunity to read the article in the Sunday Times 08 April 2018 “Teachers Face Violent Attacks – by Pupils”. I was horrified. This ugly matter keep cropping up…it seems not be going away.  

Research suggests that schools must take responsibility for 45% of the success factors impacting on learner performance. The other 55% are factors external to the school. However these two domains are not mutually exclusive; the one impact on the other…in simpler terms; the success with which we deal with external poverty factors will always impact on how successful the role of schools and teachers will be in learner performance. For how long will we as a society expect schools to shoulder the blame and responsibility for the success of learner performance? Teachers, the 45% cannot carry the burden of 55kg of weight (the 55%) without buckling under this enormous weight.

But teachers, this is no excuse. You represent the moral and legal authority in your classroom and for your learners. By common law teachers are the locus parentis (the parent of young learners in school). Discipline comes with the job; it is not an-add-on that can be ignored or pass on to someone else…”teachers must learn to deal and cope with discipline in their classrooms”. And I fail to appreciate the sentiment of “but the learners of today…” This opt out is far too easy. As a seasoned teachers I have always been of the opinion that teacher love the powerful weapon of sarcasm – hurting with words. Learners will not stand for it; they are shrewed enough to understand teacher sarcasm as an attempt to hurt and insult…learners then respond.

In any relationship each person takes 50% responsibility for making the relationship work but each member takes 100% responsibility for their actions.

Equally teachers must understand that the classroom (not their classroom) is a public space (teachers treat it as a private space) not to be ruled (but facilitated) by the teacher…we all should have the right to equal access to the classroom and its practices.

The state and its apparatus have the duty to prepare teachers for classroom management and learner discipline. We have failed our teachers in this regard. Research and every state apparatus you speak to including private institutions concur. But we must shift the blame to the immediate authority who prepare our teachers and that is the HEI (our universities and colleges). They have and protect their autonomy…it is time they accept direct responsibility for that principle of self determination. As a public we should not accept buts and excuses…the buck stops with you. HEI are accountable. And if you cannot deliver then stand aside and give someone else the responsibility.

This ranting and raving is not good for my blood pressure or my sugar; but I have said it. Let me go back to the statistics of the horrified headline.

“PUPILS BEHAVING BADLY”

PROVINCE

NUMBER OF INCIDENTS

TYPES OF BEHAVIOUR

SUSPENDED/EXPULSION

 

 

 

 

Gauteng

531

Drugs/bullying/assault/fighting/weapons/sexual harassment

 

Western Cape

126

Drugs/bullying/assault/fighting/weapons/sexual harassment

Expelled

Limpopo

942

Drugs/bullying/assault/fighting/weapons/sexual harassment

 

Mpumalanga

18

 

Expelled

Northern Cape

02

Drugs

Expelled

North West

02

Assault

Suspension