Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Teacher mentor, Bill Rogers, gets it
Bill Rogers, a teacher and mentor in Australia, is saavy enough to see that issues with students aren't necessarily solved through "better classroom management." I hardly had any behavior issues the first year I taught in a bilingual classroom in inner city San Jose. The worst year I ever had was my final year of teaching in a small town in California. My neophyte principal would call me into his office over some manufactured complaint by a student. I would explain they were doing this...because they could. It was a power trip that involved their peers. Generally, my experience had been that boys were rowdier and more apt to stray from the class focus. But the last year gave personal meaning to the term "mean girls." They were sneaky, manipulative and spiteful. There are times when I meet a nice kid and recall that I actually did like them when I started teaching.
The particularly disturbing issue of teacher bullying is also addressed. Some students (in our schools) use calculated, intentional, purposeful behaviours to intimidate, manipulate and "control" group behaviour towards some teachers. This is bullying. It is always wrong. No teacher should have to put up with the psychological harassment of some students in some of our schools, (most bullying is psychological).
Senior staff need to be alert to, and aware of, such behaviours in their schools and support colleagues who experience such behaviour. Teachers who may be more vulnerable to the power-seeking behaviour of some students should never be subsequently blamed under labels of "poor discipline" or "poor teaching". Bullying (of any kind) is always wrong and must be confronted in an appropriately restorative way. This issue is also addressed (at some length) in the book.
Here is the full article