For once Duncan Garner has got something right.
I’ve been lucky to get a reasonably good insight into what goes on in our schools in recent years.
In many ways I’ve had a front row seat in the classroom, and I’m not sure it’s always been a privilege.
And that’s not because we have bad teachers and poor schools, not at all.
What I’m talking about is the huge and ever-increasing demands that are being piled upon our teachers.
My wife is a teacher-aide at a decile 4 school. I hear stories that could regularly lead news bulletins.
Schools have become more than a learning environment, they’re now a one-stop welfare agency without the corresponding resources required.
And I blame, among other things, bad or absent parents, stress, drugs, poverty, alcohol and general societal breakdown.
At least he didn’t blame the government. The things I saw from teachers as my kids went through the system were alarming. I can’t stand teachers at the best of times, I really can’t stand teachers using kids to indoctrinate them to their political philosophy.
Schools and teachers are now the first line of defence and first to respond.
It used to be that teachers simply taught maths, reading and writing and sent little Johnny home on his bike without a helmet. Ah, the good old days. It seemed so simple. These days kids don’t seem to ride to school.
The truth is our teachers must spot and deal with so many complex and sensitive matters. In some communities they’ve become social workers, helping feed and clothe kids.
The teachers are actually part of the problem not part of the solution. If they stuck to core responsibilities things might be a little better. But, they don’t. They meddle in social policy areas.
They must provide nutritional advice and spot and deal with obesity. They must identify child abuse and act on it, they must cope with and cater for thousands of kids for whom English is a second language.
They also have to teach kids who turn up at school barely being able to write their own name, or read the most basic of books. The list goes on and on and on.
They shouldn’t be providing nutritional advice. That is the role of parents. I’m fine with them reporting abuse. We can solve the English as a second language issue by stopping immigration from non-English speaking countries. As for the illiteracy problem…that is wholly their issue and they need to drop everything else and solve that before worrying if Tarquin and Trixie-Belle have appropriate food in their lunch box.
Here’s the funny thing. When I was at school I ate tonnes of food that these days wouldn’t get a look in at school. If there was a steak and cheese pie it had my name on it, plus fizzy drinks and don’t forget my custard pie or custard square. We all ate like that. If anyone had filled rolls or other gay food like that then they hid it lest they get the bash. Child obesity wasn’t an issue back then. We rode our bikes to school, only snowflakes got Mummy to drop them off. When riding wasn’t cool anymore we walked. At lunchtime we played bull rush or rugby…sometimes the teachers joined in so we could have a crack at them too. We were very active. Now, schools don’t let kids ride bikes (too dangerous), parents won’t let kids walk (too dangerous) and so we have mass traffic jams taking Cupcake and Snowflake to school…and watch as they waddle from the car to the classroom. Almost all of that comes down to snowflake teachers as well forbidding this or that food item at schools, forbidding riding of bikes.
One things for certain though, there were few fatties back then and we ate crap food. Oh, and we mercilessly fat shamed people.
But, I digress, and here it is that I arrive at the uncomfortable feeling that I am going to agree with Duncan Garner.
Now Labour leader Andrew Little wants to give these educators another job – teaching teenagers the meaning of sexual consent. He says schools should do this because teenagers do most of their growing up at school.
I strongly disagree – surely this is a job for parents. This must start at home. And ideally it should start with a father or mother or both telling their son that no means no. This is about respect. This is about boundaries.
And all power to those high school students who marched on Parliament this week over the issue of consent. I have two teenage daughters, this stuff keeps me awake at night.
But these lessons must start at home. We as parents must also be teachers. Too many parents are contracting out their jobs to schools.
All Andrew Little was doing was jumping on the snowflake’s bandwagon. There isn’t a rape culture in New Zealand. If you want to find one just take a look at an Islamic country. Sadly, though, we are importing a rape culture, and for me we had to confront this when my daughter was at Intermediate school when Abdullah took an unhealthy interest in Miss Whale. The school , of course, ran for the hills. That meant SB and me had to deal with it. Luckily SB dealt with it before I could. The point is we dealt with it ourselves. Which is the same point Garner makes.
It’s time we Kiwi parents stopped blaming schools for our children’s limitations and stepped up and took more responsibility ourselves.
Of course for most parents they’ll already be doing a great job. But the ones who need to be reading this probably aren’t. And they need to step up.
Not only will it take the load off teachers but it will make us a better country.
That and removing teacher union’s power.