Until you have done it, you will never know how difficult a job it is to get in front of two-dozen kids each and every day and try to teach them. There are so many obstacles that need to be overcome on a daily basis.
Some students make no qualms about the fact that they would rather be any other place than behind a student desk and in front of a teacher.
Other kids know that they need to be in class but other than being physically present, they don’t feel any obligation to learn. Their parents often treat school as a babysitting service and show their disdain for education in every way that they possible can.
Other students will do as little as possible and very rarely complete any work.
These behaviours and attitudes are really hard to overcome because teachers don’t have the tools to do the job effectively.
We can keep students in at recess to catch up on any work that has not been completed. The downside here is that both the students and the teacher lose out on a break that is needed. The old saying that you can lead a horse to water applies here too because some students still won’t complete the work.
As for disruptions to the class, kids do it so they can get sent out of the classroom. They usually get out of doing the work, have all the attention on them for a while, and come back to the class with little or no consequence.
If I have a problem with a student, quite often I don’t get the support I need from the parents. I know that when I was a student, if my teacher called home, my parents listened and I certainly heard about it. I was held accountable for my actions. I got in trouble and had actual consequences.
Nowadays this isn’t happening. I call parents with concerns or ask for some support from them if their child is being disruptive or unproductive in class. It’s sad to say but I often don’t get the cooperation from home that is so desperately needed.
So what do the students really learn?
They learn that they don’t need to be respectful to the teacher. They learn that their teacher basically has no power to offer any sort of meaningful consequence. They learn that they can slide by without doing the work. And they learn that adults don’t work together anymore in the interest of education. Quite frankly, they learn that education isn’t important.
I feel powerless sometimes. I need the tools to do my job. I need support from the home. I need real consequences. I need ways to show both parents and students that learning is important and that working hard is its own reward. I need the tools to do my job. It’s as simple as that (and as complicated).