Though the work of teachers is fundamental to the future fortunes of their pupils, they feel increasingly demoralised by the lack of support that they receive when it comes to enforcing class discipline.
This must change. By their very nature, teachers are very tolerant and will only make the decision, for example, to exclude unruly students if they have good reason to do so.
The problem is teachers feel undermined when they have to accept the troublesome youngsters concerned back into the classroom because there is nowhere else for them to go – a consequence of budget constraints and desire for all students to be taught in mainstream state schools. The consequence is well-behaved youngsters having their learning disrupted.
Yet, if the job of a teacher wasn’t hard enough, it is compounded, according to Ofsted’s new report, by those ‘pushy parents’ whose emails, at all times of day and night, are becoming increasingly frequent – and aggressive in their tone. Again, teachers need support here. Though education is invariably at its most effective when it is a genuine partnership between school staff, parents and pupils, too many families appear to abdicate their duties.
Teachers are not surrogate parents. They also have lives – and families – of their own. And unless they’re respected by all sections of the education profession, staff shortages will only become more pronounced.