When last time I ranted against parents, it’s my esteemed colleagues this time. And sorry guys, this one’s on you. Of course #notallmaleteachers are problematic, many of my male colleagues are wonderful, dedicated people who work hard for their students, but those colleagues who are problematic are overwhelmingly male.
One issue is the sexualisation of girls. While my school is grades 5-10, my building only holds 5-7, so we’re talking about children. Some time ago one of our headteacher team asked who was teaching a certain class now, because there was a new girl here for that class. Their teacher asked, loudly, probably within earshot of a kid between 11 and 12 “is she nice and pretty?”.
A colleague at a different school told me about a male colleague who had told a primary school girl who had misbehaved “if she liked pushing? Because soon she would be pushed a lot and she would like that, too!”
In the first case, we reacted quickly with several women saying in unison that this was not OK. In the second case, my colleague, young, new at school, female, was too shocked to say anything.
Another aspect is the discipline issue. For many teachers (not just the male ones, but they’re loudest about it), kids have to obey and to function. If they don’t, well, that’s their problem. So today I had a fight with one of them. There was an incident with a kid who is totally beyond (self) control right now. I’m not going to go into details, but think your basic tragic neglected childhood that leads to aggression and delinquency. While the kid causes a lot of problems, he also has a lot of problems. But just hearing about the incident, that guy went “he needs to disappear from here, immediately!”
Not just that this isn’t possible anyway, because the school for kids with severe behavioural problems has a waiting list, we cannot just “disappear” problematic kids. I snapped that yes of course, that’s the solution to all our problems, send the kids away. He tried to argue that “we just don’t have the resources and we have to think of the other kids”. I told him we were working at it.
He later tried to make peace by telling me that it wasn’t meant as an attack on me (because I’m the special ed teacher) and I told him that this wasn’t about me, this was about how he was talking about a child. Fuck that shit. I know those kids are exhausting and draining, because I get them all. But they’re children. Children who have been told they’re good for nothing for their entire lives and thank you for adding to their sense of not being worth shit and nobody wanting them.
Thankfully our principal (also a dude, #notalldudes, eh?) is firmly on my side. Not that he was involved in that conflict, but in seeing those kids as children in need, not problems to get rid of.