Freda Lewkowicz has some thoughts in today’s paper about the St. Thomas Burn Book situation, and rightly points out that the problem is not with Facebook or the Internet, but with students’ attitudes toward teachers.
She theorizes about some of the causes of this behaviour. One potential cause, the negative impression teachers give by striking, should be discounted entirely. While I never experienced a teacher strike, I and my fellow students were actually largely supportive of teachers’ salary and other demands. At least, those of us mature enough to understand labour politics beyond “Yay! A strike! No school today!”
The problem is that elementary and high schools have become more and more like mommy. It makes sense: during the school year, teachers see students more than their parents do. So that natural teenage rebellion that is usually aimed at their parents also portions out some of its rage toward authority figures such as teachers.
But that’s not the end of the story. Students are not sufficiently disciplined today. Part of it is because of the stereotypical overbearing parent blaming the school for everything that goes wrong. Part of it is the schools’ “boys will be boys” attitude that condones bullying, vandalism, rudeness and other anti-social behaviour. And part of it is just that some kids out there are stupid and mean.
Everyone, teachers and parents, need to make it clear that this type of behaviour is not tolerated.