Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Darwen Vale Teachers Go on Strike

They said this was a first. It may have been, but it should not be a surprise. It is in fact a symptom of the chronic disconnect which is now commonplace between the key institutions in Western society – families, schools, government. About 70 teachers in a school in Lancashire, England, picketed their school because of a breakdown in school discipline. Staff at Darwen Vale High School in Darwen are angry over a lack of backing from the head and other management at the school when they confront unruly children.

Simon Jones, a local National Union of Teachers official manning the picket line, said: ”This is not a strike against pupils. It is about management, and management failure to support staff in dealing with challenging behaviour. No one wants to demonise the children here; they are no better or no worse than any other.” Pity the poor teachers, pity the poor pupils. In a broken society all are victims. Few know why and even fewer know what to do about it. This is by no means a “sink” school. In fact, in the latest report on the school from the Office of Standards in Education last June, Darwen Vale was rated a good school where pupils’ behaviour was given a good rating.

Something really terrible has happened when an entire body of teachers in a school has felt compelled to down tools and walk out of their classrooms because they find themselves no longer able to do that which should be second nature to them – relate humanly and affectionately to the body of students in that classroom. What the exact circumstances in Darwen Vale are may be special, but there is no doubt but that the reaction of those teachers is mirrored in thousands of classrooms around the Western world today where teachers feel they can no longer cope. Why? It is not a deficiency in their skills, or in their training, or in their good will. It is nothing less than a breakdown of civilised human behaviour.

Read it all here.

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