Teachers should take reins on unruly students
Published: Friday, May 20th, 2005
After reading a series of articles about students’ behavior in public schools, I have but one question: Where is Mrs. Babcock? Those of us who were privileged to have her as a teacher at Tucumcari High School know that one such person turned loose in each school and given the power to be a teacher would take the reins from the students and return learning to the classroom. ‘Tis no wonder that teachers are eager to have four-day weeks. One less day of facing undisciplined youngsters would be a real boon and would give a whole day for therapy in order to face the next four days without major breakdowns. No one should have to put up with disrespectful behavior, much less have to try to cope with parents who refuse to permit disciplinary actions more rigorous than a brief stint in “in-house detention” or “time out.” Neither should a person who calls himself a teacher have to stand alone should he decide to demand respect and then have to be overridden by a principal who won’t support his teachers. When a teacher has to spend most of class time asking the students to be quiet, something is more than a little wrong with the system. Just how much learning can occur amid total bedlam? We know the answer because we are aware that no teaching can occur in such situations; yet we just sit back doing nothing except complaining about how unprepared children are after having spent 12 years in educational institutions. A Mrs. Babcock simply wouldn’t put up with such nonsense and would return order to a classroom in a short time. She might have to become a tad physical the first time she entered, but she’d have everyone’s attention the second time she strode to her desk to call the roll. If parents charged to the school to protest, she’d happily take them on and make them see the light before they returned to their homes. I certainly don’t advocate corporal punishment, but if such is needed on occasion, it might be quite beneficial. Usually a firm hand on the shoulder would work when teachers were allowed to touch students without fear of administrators or parents. Most often, a direct look at the culprit would be enough to bring instant results. If no discipline is permitted, we don’t really need the four-day week because we are wasting a lot of time merely riding herd instead of teaching. If a child isn’t disciplined, how is he ever going to learn anything about self-discipline? If a child isn’t taught to respect others, how is he ever going to learn self-respect? If a teacher has no time to teach, how is a child ever going to learn? Obviously, something needs to be done. But telling children to use their indoor voices simply won’t cut it, especially when they are all talking at once. Parents need to discipline their children and to teach them to respect others and then let real teachers take over to give them the educations they deserve.
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