Lessons to be Learnt from the Sticky Tape Incident

I was disturbed to read of the alleged incident involving a teacher accused of sticky taping students’ mouths shut in dealing with unruly students.  Whilst I am horrified at the alleged incident, and the teacher involved, if found guilty, will get a justifiably serious penalty for her actions, I think there are other issues worth considering in relation to the case:

The report says that, “the school has been aware of previous occasions where the teacher has struggled to manage her students.” If that is the case, what was done to support this teacher?  If a teacher is struggling to deal with the management of their class, it is up to the school community to support the teacher.  When a teacher struggles to manage their class, it can have a very negative effect on their self-esteem and can make them impatient and irrational.  Whilst that in no way excuses unprofessional behaviour, it is a sign that the teacher requires some assistance and support.

Teachers, more often than not, join the profession to make a difference to the lives of their students.  They often have the best of intentions and a selfless approach to their job.  However, they soon realise that it can be a very difficult and under-valued profession.

Studies often show that teaching is among the most stressful of occupations, with difficult parents, students, school boards and staff members all factors in pushing teachers to the limit.  While I again stipulate that there is no excuse for acts of aggression against students, it is important to have structures in place that help teachers that are suffering from some of the difficulties that come with the job.


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