Friday, June 20, 2008

Wishful thinking.

An arts commentator said once that society has now become secular, arts are the new spirituality and art galleries are the new cathedrals, where people go to take in what this society has to teach. That could be a bit over the top, but it's an interesting comment. Another angle on society's outlook is this: once, the extended family and the church helped raise children. In fact it was said 'It takes a village to raise a child'. Now, education has replaced spiritual instruction. Instead of the church and extended family helping raise a child, the school and its staff have to do so. Many people have rejected or drifted away from the church. And there is less contact with extended family, for some; and less community involvement Parents keep their children closer. So schools have to do the job instead.
Not only that, but teachers should do so painlessly. They should raise their students to be perfect without causing them any discomfort.In New South Wales the Education Department gave out guidelines for student protection, which forbade a teacher to raise their voice or speak sharply to a kid. Teachers who did could have a complaint made and investigators came to the school to check them out. Right now there is controversy about it in the press. Teachers are saying that it is impossible to control a class without being able to speak sharply and rebuke bad behaviour where necessary. Where that gets really ugly is, they cannot properly stop some kids bullying others. The bully getting a telling off complains that they are the victim.
The result is, many teachers want to change jobs. I was terribly glad to get out of teaching (in the public system) myself. But there's more to it than that.
For the convenience of others, it is assumed that teachers have complete power to make kids do some things and stop them doing others. People who say that may not realize quite what they are implying.
If teachers actually could exert complete control over their students, make them do and not do exactly what they wanted, they would be quite dangerous people. A teacher could be a real life Pied Piper, who took total power over the children of the village and led them away with him, never to be seen again. It could be quite scary and dangerous.
Power tends to corrupt, the saying goes; and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. If all the self-serving commentators actually thought about it, they should realize that they really do not want ANYONE being able to control kids that way. A teacher, or anyone, who could exert that sort of absolute power over someone's mind is able to manipulate them.
Do they actually want that? Do they want anyone else controlling their children at all?
Would it be better if children, teenagers, young persons, learnt to control themselves? And should that start with the parents, before the young ones even get to school?
On this subject, you can also see how public education is based on a faulty premise, from a Christian perspective. Secular humanism teaches that people are all born basically 'good' and well intentioned. Only a bad environment makes them behave badly. This sounds nice because we want to see ourselves and others in a positive way. But Christianity teaches that human beings are born sinful and need to be taught to repent and accept the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God loves us but does NOT flatter us. He commands us to love one another, but NOT flatter one another.
So secular school authorities assume that if teachers are always set the right example and are 'nice' to kids they will always follow the example and be 'nice' back. IF ONLY. Were it was that simple then schools and families and the whole of society would have learnt to live in complete peace decades ago -make that centuries ago.
There will be no joy in schools until it is seen that correction may be needed. That does not mean bringing back the whip and being cruel. I hate cruelty just like everybody else except sick sadists. But it does mean a student behaving badly should be told so, and penalised if need be so they get the message. Teachers have to have a means of upholding their own control if they are going to do their job. And for their own good, before it's too late, parents need to accept that their children are NOT perfect; and the responsibility for guiding them rests with the family.
Even that is not enough if people try leaving God out of the equation. Human creatures can't do it on their own. History is full of pitiful examples of people who 'blew it' because they lacked the wisdom or goodness to avoid their own ruin. That is why Shakepeare's tragedies are still relevant. They show how it happens.


Camillo said...

I don't think teachers should be allowed to hit the kids, but they should be allowed to speak harshly, or raise their voice! If they don't, the kids aren't going to get the message.

Thanks for commenting on my blog and recommending the book. I have a list of books I'm planning on reading this summer, I'm be sure to check that one out.

-Camillo =]

SnowLeopard said...

I wholeheartedly believe that children should never be struck by their teachers, but that there should be a firm discipline plan in place. I also don't think religion should be implemented in public schools because there are so many different religions and you can't teach to all of them. Teaching about them is one thing, but enforcing them is something else entirely. That is something that should be taught by the parents and the church they attend. This should not a responsibility of the teachers. I hope I don't sound too negative here- even though I am a licensed teacher, this topic is one of the biggest reasons I didn't teach and turned to the library instead. I enjoyed reading your thoughts, and it's refreshing to see someone who is willing to share them despite the political slack you might receive here.

carebear said...

Thanks for the prayers for my little boy!! I appreciate them very much.
Before I became a mommy, I too was a teacher...I taught high school science and loved every minute of it. I really miss it, but know my children need me more right now than my "kids".
Have a blessed day.