Who would be a school teacher?
Having been a school teacher myself for a period of 15 years,
I have decided that a simple equation leaves me unfit for the job now in the
year 2002. The equation reads thus: Responsibility minus authority equals a
An article sent to me from the Daily Mail dated 27 March 2002
really rang a bell with me, and we print it in part here for your consideration.
"A Lesson in Lunacy - The other day I became a teacher. It
took a couple of phone calls and one ten-minute meeting. I'm not qualified or
trained in any way. I certainly don't have any experience with children. But I
do have a degree in drama. The fact is I'm not really a teacher, I'm an
actor. And I don't want to be a teacher...
A fortnight after my interview I found myself standing in
front of thirty 14 year olds in a classroom at Furtherwick Park Comprehensive
School in Canvey Island, Essex. My job was to teach them maths...
Over a couple of weeks, I found myself teaching French (of
which I have a smattering), information technology (I own a computer), home
economics (I eat), geography (at least I'd managed to find Canvey Island) and
German, of which I don't have any knowledge at all...
Now I had something in common with the class, who after three
years' study, had not absorbed any of the language and appeared to think that
the word "Nein" was a number, which, as they had learned in my maths class,
was somewhere between seven and twelve. My experience taking a cookery class on
my first day was the most alarming. There is something intrinsically scary about
being alone in a room with thirty rowdy twelve year olds who want to start small
Teaching is probably too strong a word for what I did. Crowd
control or riot prevention would be more appropriate terms. The pupils had
wide-ranging abilities and interest in their education. In one lesson I would be
supervising a group of intelligent youngsters who were keen to learn. Sadly, I
was unable to help them.
In the next period I would be confronted with disruptive and
sometimes violent-aspiring thugs whose sole ambition seemed to be to qualify for
the dole queue as soon as possible.
When I first walked into the classroom, I could feel ice in
my stomach. I'd never taught before and I did not know how to do it. I was
scared. Thirty 14 year olds were shouting, laughing and throwing things at each
I'd put on my best smile, say good morning and ask for a
bit of quiet. Few looked up. 'I'm, Mr. Mitchelson.' I would say. Nothing.
Mentally I would shrug, then begin shouting. Battle would commence.
The next hour would be spent telling my students to sit down,
shut up and stop throwing things. Once, I walked into a lesson to find a boy
repeatedly shouting what is certainly the most offensive word I know, but
perhaps not the most offensive he knows. Every day I reflected that this was a
situation that had little resemblance to my own school days.
When I was 14 (just ten years ago), discipline was still
inherent in the system, although children would misbehave. My friends and I
would never have dared to ignore the teacher, to persistently disobey him, or to
show the kind of disrespect that I was to learn is commonplace...
By the end, I realised I was in the same boat as all the
other teachers, qualified or not...
The permanent teaching staff appeared resigned to an
impossible situation. Troublesome children were constantly being sent from the
class -– all day, every day.
When I walked into the staffroom, there was an almost
tangible atmosphere of collapsed morale and cynicism. The other supply teachers
I spoke to were more philosophical.
One was giving teaching a try... and another asked me if I
had any idea how to stop the pupils throwing paper aeroplanes at him.
The need to actually teach didn't really apply to my job.
Early on, one of the permanent teachers told me: 'What we're looking for is
baby-sitters. If you can stop them killing each other, you're doing a good
My only experience of a classroom came from my own schooldays
and what I'd seen on the television. Grange Hill and Sidney Poitier in To Sir
With Love were my most significant educational aids...
The system which forces unqualified agency 'babysitters'
to be employed, just to keep order is cheating the children and stealing their
I could have stayed (they wanted to keep me), but I chose to
To any born again believers in Jesus Christ who are school
teachers, I would encourage you to daily seek the wisdom which is from above.
The children themselves are not to blame for the ridiculous policies we have
adopted in the name of a more civilized, modern education. You may be the
children's only opportunity to ever hear about our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave
His life that every man, woman and child may live forever with Him. There are
many ways to 'influence' children in the right direction.
Some may question whether it is wise to go against the rules
of the education system and preach Christ. My answer would be that I did and I'm
thrilled to report that quite a number of children gave their lives to Christ as
a result of my standing up for that which was right. Render unto Caesar the
things which are Caesars and unto God the things which are Gods. It's all in
the approach you take -– seek the wisdom from above.