Do you remember the Jamaican teacher caught on video threatening to kill one of her students?
Well, news came during the week that the disciplinary panel convened to hear her case recommended she keeps her job.
I agree with the panel’s decision.
It is my understanding that today’s classrooms sometimes have more in common with war zones than with centres of learning.
Too many students come from dysfunctional homes with little or no knowledge of what it means to respect authority and how to conduct themselves in social settings.
Too many students have no interest in getting an education. They are more interested in emulating the worse of local and international popular culture.
Teachers are often overtly disrespected and ignored by students, and it is not uncommon for parents and members of the community to assault teachers and other school officials.
Against that background, it is not surprising that, occasionally, a teacher may ‘lose it’ and behave in a less than professional manner. Indeed, what is surprising is that more teachers have not lost their cool!
It is true we are responsible for our behaviour and the teacher admitted before the disciplinary panel that her behaviour was unprofessional.
It was also reported the disciplinary panel recommended the teacher tender an apology to the school’s board of management and news emerged that the threatened student, who no longer attends that school, is also expecting an apology.
I don’t have much to say about the tendering of an apology to the student, except to say care must be taken to not empower students to misbehave and diminish teachers’ authority and standing in students’ eyes.
Finally, I sincerely hope consideration has been given to providing teachers with the psychological support and coping skills necessary to navigate the minefields of today’s classrooms.
There is an urgent need for a coalition of parents, teachers, students and community members to work together to return classrooms to what they are meant to be, that is, centres of learning and character development.