Bullies don’t just disappear.
They grow up, become parents and then instead of torturing children, they bully teachers instead.
A study released in December found that school principals in NSW were five times more likely to be threatened than the general population.
In the old days we used to worry about Mum and Dad eyeing our report card and taking their profound disappointment out on us. I swear the strap quivered with excitement every term break when that yellow envelope appeared in my school bag. My lack of application, my preference for Dr Who over Homework, and skating over study resulted in a stinging slap on the back of the legs, and the shake of the head with the mantra ‘you’ve let me down, you’ve let your mother down, but worst of all you’ve let yourself down.’ Oh the guilt. I’d rather be hit with a strap.
These days, Mum and Dad aren’t whipping their kids to improve their performance, instead they are taking their disappointment to the school yard. To be precise, to the school principal’s office.
You see the poor results of one’s progeny are no longer an individual responsibility. Its not poor parenting, a failure to provide adequate role modelling, nor is it the absence of firm and consistent boundaries.
Poor student performance is now the fault of the school.
Some parents out there are operating with the belief that school teachers work for the government and are thus in their personal employ. These same parents have instituted a draconian performance review process in the form of abuse and violence. If little Johnny does poorly, then clearly its Mr White’s fault. Let’s go kick his ass. That will improve Johnny’s prospects, especially if he wants to be a sociopath or a serial killer, like his folks.
Ironically, if you’re abusing teachers because your kid’s an idiot, it’s clear they’ve inherited the ‘idiot’ gene directly from you. Unfortunately, when it comes to ‘insight’ these types of parents score a ‘hardly ever’ on their interpersonal report card.
I wonder if these same people also go to the doctor and beat them up if they get sick, or abuse Centrelink if they can’t get a job. Actually I think they do. I’ve seen them being removed by the police, who they also seem to think they’re in charge of.
A friend of mine is a teacher in a high school. She told me that on sending home a note regarding one of her students she received an unexpected response. Her letter of concern read ‘Tom has not been submitting assessments. Could you please make a time to see me to discuss?’ As a parent I would be encouraged that I had the support and interest of a teacher who was willing to set aside time to discuss my child’s progress, or the lack there of.
My friend received an enthusiastic reply. It came in the form of a reciprocal note which read: ‘You can go fuck yourselves’.
While she was tempted to return the note with a minor amendment, correcting the offending ‘yourselves’ to the singular ‘yourself’, she was dismayed that this was the response of a parent to a teacher who was showing concern in identifying the underlying reasons for the educational disengagement of their child.
Teachers read mean tweets:
It’s not just the culture of violence against our teachers that concerns me, it’s the fact that this behaviour signposts a culture of self entitlement and blame – where an entire generation are being conditioned to believe that other people are somehow responsible for their achievement. Don’t beat yourself up about your poor performance, when you can go and beat up someone else.
When Little Johnny grows up into the fully fledged bully he is sure to become, he can tell the world: ‘My teachers made me fail high school. It had nothing to do with the 80 days absent and the 10 bongs before breakfast.’
If parents can’t grow up and accept responsibility how can we expect their kids to ever achieve anything more impressive than a starring role at Juvenille Detention?
Violence begets violence. So my advice to angry abusive name calling blamofiles parents? It comes from a Pink Floyd song…
‘Hey! Parents! Leave the Teachers Alone!’