Teachers are reporting being abused on Social Media. Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The scary thing is, kids are becoming savvier than their parents, and even their teachers. I have a friend, Richard*, who is a teacher of children aged 5-7, and he regularly uses Facebook with the parents, it’s quick, it’s easy and it costs a lot less than printing out 40 letters to parents when at the click of a button he can send a group message and print 3 or 4 letters out for the parents that don’t use Facebook.
So far, so good. He every so often gets a message off an older student (or even now an adult) thanking him. Again, that’s good.
He’s had messages off students (through their parents) asking for the title of the book they were reading in class, or telling him they have a dental appointment in the morning and will be late. Once again, that is good use of the service.
But Phil* who teaches 13-15 year old pupils tells of a somewhat darker, and more sinister experience. Phil is a very experienced teacher, and with over 20 years experience dealing with teenagers, he’s seen the lot. Period pains, anxiety, a few underage pregnancies, boys trying to climb the social ladder, girls turning on each other, depression, bereavement, cancer. You name it, he’s seen it.
Phil, who isn’t a lover of totalitarian teaching, gives his pupils a lot of flexibility, such as during the summer, he’ll task them with one huge project to get stuck into, as oppose to lots of little things that don’t really go together. For example, last year, he set his class a business plan, which covered Maths, English, and Science in some cases. The project also covered Art, Web Design, Music and pretty much anything else above that that his pupil wanted to include. And he would mark each one by hand and note it.
The times though have changed. Phil, has seen more and more messages pinging in. Among the few asking for advice, such as ‘How do I get this to work’, they have mutated into ‘I’m going to f*****g cut you for putting me in detention’.
Teachers are being abused, and bullied by their charges. Though, the police are powerless to stop it. It will only be when someone is fatally injured that things will change. Do the UK really want a Sandy Hook tragedy?
Do they really want a suicide due to online trolling from pupils?
Teachers do a hard job, and it’s never ending, from graduation to retirement. They are forever working on the next project. That 6 weeks off in summer? Forget it, they even take their marking on holiday and mark it on the beach.
Christmas day with the family? Nope, they’re setting up plans for the next term.
A nice summer stroll? Again, no. They are constantly prepping lessons. Mentally or writing it down, but they are constantly thinking how they can use the situation they’re in to try and teach your offspring.
From trips to a theme park, where the engineering could be taught about to gentle strolls on the bridal path, where the seasons and why leaves turn brown could be taught about.
Teachers have to deal with a lot, and your kids trolling them should not be one of them.
*Names have been changed