Hardworking teachers don’t deserve to be abused by parents

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Hardworking teachers don’t deserve to be abused by parents

Shane Budden, The Courier-Mail
February 28, 2018 4:00pm

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IN THE corner of a staffroom, a young woman sits softly crying. Her female co-workers offer tissues and words of comfort; her male colleagues pace back and forth expressing various degrees of impotent rage.

The young woman is a teacher, and up until 2:30pm life was perfect, taking her young charges through a science lesson, hoping to instil a love of unravelling the world’s mysteries that might one day see them earn a Nobel prize (teachers, as a rule, dream big dreams for their students).

Then, without warning or even a knock, a parent burst into the room and levelled a tirade of abuse at her. Her crime? It seems she suggested her students ask their parents to read with them.

The job of teaching is stressful enough without abusive parents, writes Shane Budden. Picture: iStock
The position of this parent (expletives deleted) is that it isn’t her job to teach her kid how to read. That is what the teacher is paid for.

You might think I am making this up, but almost every teacher you have ever met, seen or heard about has a similar story. Parental abuse and disrespect is an occupational hazard for teachers – and to make matters worse they regularly read stories about how subject matter experts (or, more recently, tradies) could do a better job.

There is no profession in the world that people feel more comfortable demeaning, disrespecting and insulting than teaching. Few of us would lie on an operating table arguing with a surgeon, but when it comes to teachers, we all award ourselves doctorates of education.

Teaching is a calling. Teachers buy into the success of students, heart and soul, and it can take a toll. The hours spent late at night and on weekends in lesson prep, the accumulation (and expense) of resources created over many years.

Ask any teacher’s spouse – full disclosure, my wife is a teacher – and they can tell you of boxes of word games, number facts cards, costumes etc, that trail teachers through their careers.

Teachers are haunted by the memory of children who had horrible home lives, struggled no matter what, or went through school unloved and undernourished. They carry the scars of dealing with kids who seemed to enjoy making their life hell, and the parents who think the child can do no wrong.

The teachers keep at it, though, for those moments when a child finally clicks to fractions, or develops a love of reading that could take them anywhere. Being a teacher isn’t something you do, it is something you are.

Parents can make their children’s education better by showing them to respect their teachers, writes Shane Budden.
By way of reward, teachers are disrespected, abused, underpaid and accused of only working 9 to 3 (a baseless and ignorant accusation). They are blamed for every failure of the education system, despite being forced to teach a flawed curriculum written by people who have never taught, in language that would baffle Deep Blue.

If parents want to see the system improve, they can do their bit – read to your kids, don’t expect a teacher to teach your kids morality, fitness, health care or how to wipe their backsides. Yes, there are kids who turn up to primary school without having been toilet-trained.

The best thing you can do for your child’s education is to get them to listen to their teachers. The only way to do that is to show teachers the thing kids need to show them in order to learn: respect.

Shane Budden is a Brisbane lawyer and freelance writer

Source: The Courier Mail