Ashamed to be a teacher
As an old time schoolteacher how I enjoy the book of Proverbs
which tells us very clearly the secret of child training. We turn to Proverbs 22:6, where we read:
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is
old, he will not depart from it."
That seems to be very clear to me and yet in an article
entitled "I am ashamed to be a teacher", taken from The Daily Telegraph,
2 May 2001, we read the following: "...Rarely has anything in education made
me so angry as the last week's news that English teachers -– who still insist
they know better than anyone else what is best for the nation's children -–
are now threatening to boycott the recommended 700-word spelling lists that the
Government has just sent out to schools as part of the new literacy strategy for
pupils aged 11 to 14...
Employers and taxpayers who foot the education bill have
every right to expect school leavers effortlessly to be able to spell 'accommodation'
and 'necessary'. Too often, however, they are sold short.
A national newspaper section editor told me recently that she
now refuses to have even post-graduate work experience students in her office
because they cannot spell. And how often do you see a notice anywhere, or
receive a letter from a bank or other organisation, that is free of spelling
At my secondary school in the Fifties and Sixties, every
teacher saw teaching spelling as a collective duty. The science teacher made
sure we could spell 'gaseous' and 'alkaline', the religious education
teacher 'disease' and 'synagogue', and the historian 'peninsular'
and 'reign'. That is exactly the line that the new Key Stage 3 lists suggest
today's teachers should take. There are subject-based recommendations and a
sense that every teacher should be a teacher of spelling.
And there's the rub. Too many of today's teachers,
particularly at primary level and in non-selective secondary schools, were
themselves educated in the Seventies and Eighties by people such as Bethan
Marshall. Result? They emerged with poor spelling and, too often, an
intransigent belief that it does not matter.
A former girlfriend of one of my sons, having twice failed
all her A-levels, was enrolled on a college science course leading to qualified
teacher status. 'I'll have to do secondary teaching,' she told us
blithely, 'because with primary there's a lot of stuff about writing and
reading and I'm not very good at that.' Doubtless by now she is teaching
Or consider the maths teacher who, when I was head of English
in a secondary modern school, used to bring me his writing to check, saying: 'I
do so envy you people who went to grammar school, because you were taught to
spell.' The teaching profession is awash with such people...
I have often seen, for instance, 'sentance' in the
comments written by teachers on children's work and 'sponsered' on notice
boards. If you are looking for accuracy in spelling, do not go into schools."
Back to the Word of God again in Proverbs 22:15 "Foolishness
is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall
drive it far from him."
Proverbs 23:13&14, "Withhold not correction from the
child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt
beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."
And can you believe it, we pick up The Belfast Telegraph
during our recent trip to Ireland on 1 May 2001, where we read the headline, "Law
banning corporal punishment by next year -– LEGISLATION to ban corporal
punishment in Northern Ireland's independent schools is due to come before the
Assembly early next year, it emerged today.
However, it has already been branded 'anti-scriptural' by
the Free Presbyterian Education Board which is hoping to build up political
support to fight the Department of Education's plans.
A spokesperson for the Department has revealed the timescale
just months after a Belfast Telegraph story highlighted that 26 Ulster schools
are still permitted by law to physically punish children, despite it being
banned in all grant-aided schools from 1987.
However, only the seven schools run by the Free Presbyterian
Church and a school in Bangor still use corporal punishment...
Rev Ivan Foster, convenor of the Free Presbyterian Education
Board, said he was 'very saddened but not surprised' to hear about the
He said: 'I do not think that Christian parents should be
denied the right to obey the teaching of the Bible...
It would be an anti-scriptural piece of legislation and I
think there will be sufficient opposition to it.
I think that anyone who regards the teaching of God's word
as sacrosanct will be aggrieved and alarmed at this development.
If the legislation is passed we will have the choice of
obeying a much more ancient piece of legislation in consultation with parents or
complying with McGuiness's legislation.
I think that we would keep our options open for corporal
punishment to be used and we would continue with our present position. We will
not change our thinking or practice and would just have to live with the
Rev Foster added that they would also examine the possibility
of taking legal action if the bill is passed.
Dr John Kelly, principal of Kingsland Independent Primary in
Bangor -– which also uses corporal punishment if the parents agree -– said:
'I think it is wrong for the Government or schools to impose on parents what
Biblical defence of corporal punishment -–
REV FOSTER lists some Bible references regarding teaching on
corporal punishment as part of a system of child discipline:
- 'He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that
loveth him chasteneth him betimes.' Proverbs 13:24.
- 'Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul
spare for his crying.' Proverbs 19:18.
- 'Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod
of correction shall drive if far from him.' Proverbs 22:15.
- 'Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou
beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod,
and shalt deliver his soul from hell.' Proverbs 23:13-14.
- 'Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,
but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of
righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.' Hebrews 12:11."
Can you New Zealand readers understand what you are reading
here and think that we can get away with it in our country? We now refer to the New
Zealand Herald, 5-6 May 2001, "Ban on smacking moves step closer -–
The Government has taken its first cautious steps towards a
possible ban on adults smacking children.
Social Services Minister Steve Maharey yesterday released
documents detailing officials' advice on issues to do with the physical
punishment of children...
In November, New Zealand diplomats in 15 countries were asked
to report on whether smacking was illegal in their host country and how
effective child protection laws were.
Their report found smacking was now illegal in most European
But physical punishment was still allowed in Australia,
Canada, Britain, France and Spain..."
Interestingly enough, the use of batons by police has never
been outlawed and thus we are not allowed to strike a child on the bottom which
is admirably suited for the exercise, but allowed to whack them over the head
later and crack their skulls with a police baton.
These rules and laws are being brought to us by people who
have no knowledge of Scripture and no knowledge of the principles of God who
made us in the first place.
What a joy to have brought up a beautiful family of children
who did what they were told and who enjoy life to the full as a result of
feeling secure in the love and instruction of parents who follow the Word of
How different to those horrible children that we see and hear
at airports around the world screaming and shouting and abusing their parents
because, unlike our children, they have never had this wonderful opportunity.
The ultimate aim of all this, of course, is to breed a
generation of young people who cannot do what they are told and then bring in
repressive legislation to control them.
This is the Hegelian Dialectic in operation:
- Create the problem.
- Solve the problem.
- Control the people in doing so.
The Word of God calls this the mystery of iniquity and we who
are living in these last days just before Jesus returns, must expect to see all
these things take place. Folk who are wise will take no notice of such
ridiculous rules, but will continue following the Word of the living God, who