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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Don't teachers deserve more respect?

Today's newspaper (and also the radio news) talked about a court case, where a mother is suing a school because her daughter did not get an A-attest. (In Belgium you need an A to go to the next year.)

This has already caused a lot of reactions, among which one of the head of the catholic schools. This is showing a lack of respect for the job of teacher, she claims, and when this doesn't come to an end, more cases will follow.

One hundred years ago, a teacher was respected. Along with the mayor of the town and the priest, he represented authority in the region and was either feared or liked by kids and their parents. But today a teacher can be sued whenever a parent feels like it - most of us already have an insurance against such practices!

In my opinion - and being a teacher myself - I know (most) teachers don't thread lightly when the future of a young boy or girl is concerned. We discuss their results in a meeting with all the other teachers of this class and we don't give a B (needing to go to another option, but not failed) or C (failed) just for fun. But when we decide a pupil can only have a C, it is a decision that has been talked about over and over.

The pupil mentioned in the article had 4 subjects in which she failed. Most likely, they were major subjects in the option she was following. When someone take bookkeeping, but has not scored enough in economics, for instance, or in mathematics, a teacher can only say he or she won't be able to make it to the next year.

I think parents should understand this. We do our best, but we cannot make kids do better if they don't have a feel for the subject or the intellect. Then they are better off doing something else - but this is what most parents don't like to hear. Their kids should all be doctors or lawyers, not plumbers or carpenters. Hell, they still don't know plumbers and carpenters make more money!

There should be a law against parents suing the decision of the class meeting. If this decision is binding, they'd have to comply and their kids would probably be better off.

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