Friday two cents: I say lets give the teachers a break!

For the past three months, one group or another has racked the schoolteachers in Ontario across the coals.  Government, parent groups, student groups, the media and anybody else who have a grievance against them have taken a shoot at the teachers.

Now a group of students are crying foul over posting inappropriate, some of them sexual in nature, comments about their teachers on twitter.  Nine students in Brampton have been suspended for posting malicious comments about their teachers.   Many students are defending the 9 saying that these comments were made after hours and not in class.  One of the suspended students even said that “she’s said worse online, including sexually explicit remarks about teachers that were meant to be jokes between friends”.  She thinks that the punishment of two days suspension is ridiculous (You can click on the links below for the whole story.)

I remember passing notes and talking to my friends about teachers I did not like but that was between friends in a conversation and not made public.  Well my dear students, when you post something about anybody else on twitter you are making it public and you must be held accountable for your own actions.

I say lets give the teachers a break!  I applaud the action by the school board in suspending these students.  They need to learn that what they say publicly has consequences.  After all this talk about bullying and cyber bullying, everyone must realize that bullying is not just student on student but there are incidents of student on teacher too.  When you belittle or intimidating someone, no matter who they are, you are bullying them.

Everyone thinks that being a teacher is an easy job.  Work from 8 am – 4 pm, stand in front of a group of children showing them how to add 2+2, two weeks off Christmas, a week off in March and two months off in the summer.  The real story is that teachers do a lot of the hard work on their own time and many truly care about their students.  Many of them are in the profession to really help and pass on their knowledge to next generation.

What is sad is the fact that many of these students do not see what they did was wrong. Maybe this shows that these bullying programs and awareness weeks are either, not working or just falling on deaf ears.

Story Links

CBC story              The Toronto Star Story


6 Responses to Friday two cents: I say lets give the teachers a break!

  1. Great blog. I heartily agree – cyberbullying isn’t restricted to child victims, and I stand behind the school board’s (I’m assuming) decision to treat these tweets as the harmful attacks they could be perceived to be, rather than writing it off as a thing kids do and failing to protect the teachers.

    Maybe they’ll learn a lesson – but it sounds as if they’ll just be more careful next time.

  2. Oh, I forgot one thing I wanted to say regarding your last comment! I don’t think this is necessarily proof that bullying awareness programs are falling on deaf ears. Rather, it could be proof that bullying awareness programs should not strictly focus on peer-to-peer bullying, and may need to help youth construct adults as people too.

    I remember when I was in elementary school and early high school, it was easy to forget that teachers were people. I never did something like this, but I also didn’t think about whether or not they got sick, or had hurt feelings on day, etc. – they were fixtures of authority and therefore invulnerable. Maybe we need to break down those barriers and show people at a young age that everyone can be hurt, and no one deserves to be, regardless of what you think is funny!

    • paulgauchi says:

      Yes, the bullying programs should be expanded to involve others such as teachers. This way maybe young people will learn it is hurtful to all people and it might even prevent a new trend that is happening more often now, elder abuse.
      However, the fact that the girls in the Toronto Star article sounded as if they had no remorse, I think that perhaps we should expand the programs to involve the parents as well. This attitude starts from the parents and what their values are. If those girls were my daughters, they would not be talking to any reporters, forget about having a cell phone for at least a month. Respect begins at home; I wonder what is in that home.

      • I agree that the home can be crucial, but young girls these days… I’m 24, so I have no knowledge of what previous generations are like. But seeing my sister (five years younger) grow up was horrifying. From age 15 until present (19) she shows zero respect to my parents, who are both very focused on treating people with respect and kindness. They are absolutely shocked at the way she talks, the disregard she holds for other people, and the utter lack of remorse she shows when she is caught being cruel. When her cell phone was taken away for bad behaviour, she literally ran away from home for three days to punish our parents – her message was ‘see, you don’t know where I am because you can’t call me on my phone.’ They haven’t taken it away again. Short of physically controlling your child (which is illegal), there is so little you can do in the face of complete and total disrespect.

        Watching them try to parent her makes me afraid of being a parent. They had three children, and two of us turned out nice and socially conscious – but one, while I love her, can definitely be called remorseless, disrespectful, and certainly capable of bullying.

        I think there is something in our culture, the agency given at such a young age perhaps – through cell phones and social media, children seem to think that they have an opinion worth sharing as soon as they can craft it together, and then they do so. I spent that time writing in a journal, and by the time my words could be read by a wider audience, I had matured. They don’t get that chance – hopefully they will regret this when they are older, but there are cruel people at every age, so who knows?

      • paulgauchi says:

        Sorry to here about your sister but if it is any consolation your story is not news to me. I have been an RECE for many years and I have seen this behaviour before. I have taken courses on adolescence and child behavior and I would hazard a guess that many of my colleagues would find your story very familiar too. We have many debates and discussions about what is the best way to assist these adolescents. Is counseling the best way or offering outreach programs to them? We have even discussed hard corporal discipline.
        We could not agree on what is the best approach but one thing we have agreed on is that the family is the central aspect for the adolescent. Whatever is decided that needs to be done, the family is the key to the solution. What was it a famous singer once said, “All you need is Love.” Call me old fashioned but sometimes that is all you need.

  3. mamacormier says:

    Thank you Paul. Students talk about their right to free speech but they fail to recognize that for every right there is a responsibility and in this case it is to not spread hateful, hurtful or malicious gossip.

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