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These days kids are different


Kids these days just aren’t the same. It’s a tired old cliché, but one that often contains a kernel of truth.

In fact, kids these days are different. Much of it has to do with evolving views on parenting and education. And teachers are on the front lines of these changes.
More parents than ever seem to believe their children walk on water. That they are innocent vessels yearning to be filled with the nectar of wisdom. They are angels in a hostile world.
Not all parents, of course. Most collaborate fully with educators to make sure children are being steered in the right direction.
Then there are troubled homes. Children come from poor and dysfunctional families. They are immersed in domestic violence, drugs, neglect and poor nutrition. With school counsellors spread so thin, teachers are often forced to play social worker.
Then there are severely challenged children, whose parents insist heaven and Earth be moved to keep them in a regular class setting. Whether or not sufficient supports are provided makes little difference to some.
These are the pressures that face teachers these days. And by all accounts, locally and nationally, things have been at a boiling point for some time.
“I would hear a lot of stories about violent students, students not being able to control themselves, to self regulate and surprisingly a lot of those issues I found at the primary and elementary level,” NLTA president Jim Dinn told CBC Radio last winter.
“In some cases, we’ve had stories of teachers being bitten, being punched. I’ve seen the bruises so it’s a concern, definitely a concern that’s being expressed by teachers.”
So, what are teachers supposed to do?
One thing they can’t do is retaliate.
Last week, a teacher was charged with assault with a weapon after allegedly launching a basketball at a 12-year-old girl when her back was turned.
Police laid the charge after viewing closed-circuit video from the school in Mobile where the incident occurred.
The parents, understandably, are livid. The teacher was handed an undisclosed amount of time on unpaid leave. She is now working as a temporary resource teacher at another school.
These situations are always messy.
The aggrieved party will insist there was no provocation. Even if there was, nothing can justify a demonstrable assault on a student, unless clearly in self defence.
Emotions on both sides often explode, which is why The Telegram had to shut down online comments on the original story about the charges as unprovable accusations and smears started flying back and forth.
One thing that is clear is that stress levels among teachers, staff and even many students have hit a critical level. In the closed cauldron of a school, bad behaviour and high anxiety can boil over pretty quickly.
We can rail about student rights and teacher rights all we like, but unless action is taken to provide proper supports, little will change.

In fact, kids these days are different. Much of it has to do with evolving views on parenting and education. And teachers are on the front lines of these changes.
More parents than ever seem to believe their children walk on water. That they are innocent vessels yearning to be filled with the nectar of wisdom. They are angels in a hostile world.
Not all parents, of course. Most collaborate fully with educators to make sure children are being steered in the right direction.
Then there are troubled homes. Children come from poor and dysfunctional families. They are immersed in domestic violence, drugs, neglect and poor nutrition. With school counsellors spread so thin, teachers are often forced to play social worker.
Then there are severely challenged children, whose parents insist heaven and Earth be moved to keep them in a regular class setting. Whether or not sufficient supports are provided makes little difference to some.
These are the pressures that face teachers these days. And by all accounts, locally and nationally, things have been at a boiling point for some time.
“I would hear a lot of stories about violent students, students not being able to control themselves, to self regulate and surprisingly a lot of those issues I found at the primary and elementary level,” NLTA president Jim Dinn told CBC Radio last winter.
“In some cases, we’ve had stories of teachers being bitten, being punched. I’ve seen the bruises so it’s a concern, definitely a concern that’s being expressed by teachers.”
So, what are teachers supposed to do?
One thing they can’t do is retaliate.
Last week, a teacher was charged with assault with a weapon after allegedly launching a basketball at a 12-year-old girl when her back was turned.
Police laid the charge after viewing closed-circuit video from the school in Mobile where the incident occurred.
The parents, understandably, are livid. The teacher was handed an undisclosed amount of time on unpaid leave. She is now working as a temporary resource teacher at another school.
These situations are always messy.
The aggrieved party will insist there was no provocation. Even if there was, nothing can justify a demonstrable assault on a student, unless clearly in self defence.
Emotions on both sides often explode, which is why The Telegram had to shut down online comments on the original story about the charges as unprovable accusations and smears started flying back and forth.
One thing that is clear is that stress levels among teachers, staff and even many students have hit a critical level. In the closed cauldron of a school, bad behaviour and high anxiety can boil over pretty quickly.
We can rail about student rights and teacher rights all we like, but unless action is taken to provide proper supports, little will change.

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