Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

'The Disruption Made Teaching Virtually Impossible. I Could Not Believe What I Saw' (UK)
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 4-24-2005 | Julie Henry

Posted on 04/23/2005 6:23:18 PM PDT by blam

'The disruption made teaching virtually impossible. I could not believe what I saw'

By Julie Henry, Education Correspondent
(Filed: 24/04/2005)

As the petite, middle-aged teacher shouts desperately for the 20th time for the out-of-control class to be quiet, a faint, childish boy's voice can be heard, calling out above the deafening din: "Suck ** ***, miss".

The appalling scene of classroom disorder and disrespect is just one of many captured on film for a channel Five documentary, to be screened this week, which will reignite the debate on how to tackle bad behaviour in schools.

'Sylvia Thomas', a teacher who agreed to film her classes secretly On returning to teaching after a 30-year absence, a supply teacher using the pseudonym Sylvia Thomas secretly filmed shocking examples of lessons ruined by large numbers of pupils over a three-month period.

The documentary shows children aged from 12 to 15 completely ignoring her and other staff while they shout, scream, fight, swear and wander around the classroom at will.

In one scene a full-scale fight breaks out and a 6ft tall boy is seen wielding a rubber truncheon, as the terrified teacher calls for help. In another, pupils throw books, pens and balls of paper across the room for a full 15 minutes as the teacher protests, before they declare that they "don't give a ****". In yet more disturbing scenes, a boy in a computer class is filmed accessing hard-core porn sites and then protesting his innocence, saying "I just typed in '****', miss".

The supply teacher was filming in 15 ordinary secondary schools in London and the north of England - randomly chosen by the supply agencies she contacted, and none of them considered to be failing by recent inspection reports.

Clearly shaken by her experiences, the teacher said she could not comprehend the behaviour she filmed, using a tiny camera hidden in a briefcase and a microphone disguised as a jacket button.

"I could not believe what I saw. I could not describe what I saw," she said. "The disruption that I experienced made teaching virtually impossible. These were schools in middle-class areas, not sink estates. We are not trying to single out the schools in the programme. They could be schools in any part of the country as far as I am concerned, this behaviour is so widespread."

In almost every class, the teacher is seen repeatedly trying to restore order - but her authoritative voice and friendly, no-nonsense approach makes no apparent impact on pupils.

She is ignored or challenged constantly. In one maths class, a 12-year-old who was censured for saying, "Shite, miss!" told her: "I've got just as much right as you to say what I want. I've got a right to speak up for myself."

"It was a constant battle," the teacher said. "Some pupils have got the idea that they can threaten the teacher with the police, with being summoned and sued. Teachers end up walking on eggshells, and when you do that, you can not discipline a child. The balance between the child and the teacher has swung too far in favour of the former - and they know it. The whole way they walk down the corridor says 'We are in control'."

The documentary, Classroom Chaos, to be broadcast on Wednesday, lays bare a growing tide of "low-level disruption" identified earlier this year by school inspectors as a major concern. In his annual report, David Bell, the chief inspector of schools, said that nine per cent of secondaries suffered from "persistent and unsatisfactory" behaviour - up from six per cent in 2000.

Schools staff also report increasing levels of abuse and violence. A recent survey by the Teacher Support Network, a charity that runs a helpline for school staff, found that 98 per cent of respondents had been verbally abused and 45 per cent threatened with violence. One in five had been assaulted and 38 per cent said their personal property had been damaged or defaced.

At its conference last month, the National Union of Teachers, the biggest teacher association, voted for a national charter of behaviour - with sanctions for pupils who breach it - to be drawn up in an attempt to stem the tide.

All three main political parties have pledged to improve school discipline. Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, has promised support for teachers who apply zero tolerance in the classroom.

The Government still insists that schools must take their fair share of disruptive pupils, however. The Conservatives have promised to abolish appeals against pupils exclusions and create "turnaround schools" where poorly behaved pupils can be rehabilitated. Some 21,000 new teachers and smaller classes are pledged by the Liberal Democrats.

According to Ms Thomas, however, the turnaround will not be easy. "I thought maybe their behaviour was because I was bad teacher, or because I was on supply," she said. "But I've shown the video to teacher friends and they say the same things have happened to them." She has now given up teaching for good.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: believe; disruption; education; impossible; saw; teacjhing; virtually
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-65 next last
I 'X'ed' out the vulgar words. If you want to see them, go to the source.
1 posted on 04/23/2005 6:23:22 PM PDT by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: blam

Look at the parents and you'll find the problem.


2 posted on 04/23/2005 6:26:04 PM PDT by k2blader (Immorality bites.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Ping to self for later pingout.

Words fail me.


3 posted on 04/23/2005 6:26:18 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Resisting evil is our duty or we are as responsible as those promoting it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

Introduce a program of having the parents attend as well.


4 posted on 04/23/2005 6:32:58 PM PDT by balrog666 (A myth by any other name is still inane.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
All three main political parties have pledged to improve school discipline.

How, pray tell, does Parliament propose to "improve school discipline"?

Short of making "disrupting the class" a capital offense, that is...

Government policies doubtless contributed to the problem; but there is not a damn thing that they can do that will solve it.

5 posted on 04/23/2005 6:35:11 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

Get your kids out of publik skoolz, Mate.


6 posted on 04/23/2005 6:37:40 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Get after the RAT's all of you cat people - earn your keep!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

In the course of my job, I saw two incidents today that stood out. One was a 8 or 9 year old kid with a mohawk. The moment I saw the kid I said to myself he probably has some violence issues. I was stereotyping, making presumptions and reminded myself as such and then a second later the kid started punching with one hand his other open-palmed hand, obviously pissed off. I laughed just because my instinct had seemed to prove true. Just a moment but I am sure that if a got a look at the kid's school record I would find disciplinary problems.

The other was in a low-income housing project where, again, an 8 or 9 year-old was involved (I do door-to-door customer service). In this case the kid was walking up with a rock in his hand and a larger kid, maybe 15, made it clear to the kid that he would be pummelled if he followed through on his obvious assault attempt.

There have always been punk kids but I'm sure both of these kids are the result of dna, bad parenting and a overly-liberal society.


7 posted on 04/23/2005 6:38:53 PM PDT by torchthemummy ("Sober Idealism Equals Pragmatism")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: okie01

Well, they could start by getting handcuffs from Florida..LOL


8 posted on 04/23/2005 6:39:59 PM PDT by Txsleuth (Mark Levin for Supreme Court Justice!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: blam

"Sink estates"?


9 posted on 04/23/2005 6:41:49 PM PDT by johniegrad
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam



I don't think anyone thinks that taking a cane and beating children was a good idea. Read Roald Dahls book BOY if you think so. It was cruel.


But you had an education system who went from using corporal punishment as a deterent to using nothing- snap... just like that. There wasn't a process to it. There wasn't an alternative introduced. So now you have a whole generation of parents who are clueless- who think the school discipline should stay in the schools. And don't want to involve themselves.


10 posted on 04/23/2005 6:42:14 PM PDT by LauraleeBraswell ( We must stand behind TOM DELAY!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
This is where the NEA is taking America, too. The combination of Socialism, Political Correctness and a monopolistic school system and here you are.

Pray for W and Our Troops

11 posted on 04/23/2005 6:43:27 PM PDT by bray (Iraq, freed from Saddamn now Pray for Freedom from Mohammad)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

How much more needs to happen before things change?


12 posted on 04/23/2005 6:46:22 PM PDT by Podkayne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: okie01
Well, I claim no familiarity with British law, but I can think of a few ideas.

* Banning severely or repeatedly violent students from regular schools, and compelling their attendance at military-style alternative turnaround schools.

* Allowing teachers to use physical force to defend themselves and other teachers or students from bullies without facing criminal or civil penalties.

* Banning lawsuits against teachers or schools for disciplinary action that is not excessively and disproportionally violent; and allowing corporal punishment for lesser offenses.

* Allowing school security guards and police officers to carry, draw, brandish, use, and kill with firearms under the same conditions permissible against criminals on the street.

* Forbidding school authorities from interfering with investigations into or prosecutions for actions that would be considered as criminal if they had occurred outside school property, or from passing rules and regulations allowing or requiring punishments less severe than otherwise required by law.

Involving parents probably won't help; the parents either (1) fear their own teenage children, (2) don't care about the miscreants, (3) don't believe the teachers, or (4) reward bad behavior. Teachers probably recognize this, and have considered those parents who are impressionable.

However, I will propose:
* Making parents criminally and civilly liable for the misdeeds of their children in schools, as if the parents performed said misdeeds themselves.
13 posted on 04/23/2005 6:48:55 PM PDT by dufekin (United States of America: a judicial tyranny, not a federal republic)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: johniegrad
"Sink estates"?

"housing projects"

14 posted on 04/23/2005 6:50:47 PM PDT by SedVictaCatoni (<><)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: SedVictaCatoni

Thanks.


15 posted on 04/23/2005 6:51:27 PM PDT by johniegrad
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: blam

Ya see Sylvia, you get a cricket bat and when he opens his mouth to spill out his filth you....

Just joking. If this is the way parents raise kids today think what we have to look forward to when these yard apes start procreating.


16 posted on 04/23/2005 6:51:31 PM PDT by Americanexpat (A strong democracy through citizen oversight.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dufekin
* Making parents criminally and civilly liable for the misdeeds of their children in schools, as if the parents performed said misdeeds themselves.

That would have a meaningful positive impact.

But can you imagine such a bill actually being passed. Either in the UK or the US?

17 posted on 04/23/2005 6:53:15 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: blam

Government schools are evil.


18 posted on 04/23/2005 6:55:26 PM PDT by stinkerpot65
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam
I used to spend a lot of time and money trying to help the public schools here in Panama. One of the schools did not have a kitchen to cook food for the kids and for many kids the meals they got at school might be the only one they ate for the day. Also, the area in front of the schoolñl was grass and mud and because this is the tropics it rained a lot and the kids could not go outside for recess.

I paid for the materials to build the school and pour concrete in front to make an area for the kids to play and hold Assembly's. I was promised by the parents that they would help construct both.

Well, that didn't happen and I had to pay workers to come in and construct both. Then I purchased food for the kitchen, I could not get the mothers to come help with the cooking.

Classroom discipline was the worst I had ever seen. I don't do much civic work anymore. Parents have to get involved in the schools if they really care about their kids. This isn't just a problem in America and Briton but all over the world.
19 posted on 04/23/2005 7:02:53 PM PDT by Americanexpat (A strong democracy through citizen oversight.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

I went to public schools in the 70s and 80s and never saw anything like this. I assume that a "supply teacher" is a substitute teacher. I think kids do tend to take more advantage of a substitute teacher than they would a regular teacher though.


20 posted on 04/23/2005 7:03:11 PM PDT by Unam Sanctam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

The parents of this generation are elected to take a seat in our state capitols.


21 posted on 04/23/2005 7:09:02 PM PDT by cornelis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Unam Sanctam

That was my thought as well. Not that these little turds weren't way out of line. Good Lord. This woman's classes sound like that Cheech and Chong routine "Sister Mary Elephant"...

"Young man, give me that knife."
"ThhhhhhhhWACKddddd!"*
"Thank you."

*[SFX of the knife being thrown at, and sticking in, the blackboard]


22 posted on 04/23/2005 7:10:17 PM PDT by RichInOC (...somebody had to say it...why not me?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: blam

At that age, we had a lot of respect for the guy with the big wooden paddle that we so heard used right outside the classroom door.

Funny how the teachers always fight on the same side with those who fight to take away corporal punishment from the schools AND parents.


23 posted on 04/23/2005 7:12:14 PM PDT by digger48
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

We have go to stop thinking of Education as a right. If the little Basket cant behave expel him or her.. Bring back reform schools. Just the threat will stop a great deal of the problem.


24 posted on 04/23/2005 7:15:12 PM PDT by sgtbono2002
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LauraleeBraswell

We had caning. My fourth grade teacher used a 6-foot bamboo (this was in the Philippines) so as to do three boys at a time. Into efficiency she was.

We also had pinching and slapping with rulers.

It worked for us. I support it.


25 posted on 04/23/2005 7:16:16 PM PDT by buwaya
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: blam

These uncivilized monsters will be rearing the following generation shortly, fertility having no correlation to intelligence. They are supposed to be able to run the society and yes, they will be in charge of you at the nursing home. Is there any wonder why I pray that Jesus will return soon?


26 posted on 04/23/2005 7:17:17 PM PDT by kittymyrib
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: digger48; torchthemummy; sgtbono2002; dufekin; okie01


Let me repeat this post

In the UK- children used to get caned- sometimes until they bled. Children! I don't think anyone thinks that taking a cane and beating the hell out of children was a good idea. Read Roald Dahls book BOY if you think so. It was cruel.


But you had an education system who went from using corporal punishment as a deterent to using nothing- snap... just like that. There wasn't a process to it. There wasn't an alternative introduced. So now you have a whole generation of parents who are clueless- who think the school discipline should stay in the schools. And don't want to involve themselves.



27 posted on 04/23/2005 7:19:37 PM PDT by LauraleeBraswell ( We must stand behind TOM DELAY!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: buwaya
The thing about corporal punishment is that, when truly implemented, the threat is what keeps most kids in check. That is, for every one that actually gets swatted, there are many who stay in line simply to make sure they don't get theirs.

There aren't too many alternatives that are this effective in that regard. Even isolation isn't as effective.

28 posted on 04/23/2005 7:20:52 PM PDT by mcg1969
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: buwaya



That's awful. I support caning for criminals like in Singapore. But really- caning is beating. You don't want to beat children. Can't you just spank them?!!! Or even with a ruler slap them. Caning children is just cruel!


29 posted on 04/23/2005 7:21:15 PM PDT by LauraleeBraswell ( We must stand behind TOM DELAY!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: blam

I teach at a major university. I had to throw 6 out of 18 students out of one of my classes before it started this week. I'm lucky. I can throw them out.


30 posted on 04/23/2005 7:21:47 PM PDT by Poser (Joining Belly Girl in the Pajamahadeen)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

I see things haven't change in England since the movie "To Sir with Love".


31 posted on 04/23/2005 7:22:15 PM PDT by jonsie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LauraleeBraswell

It sounds as though they're raising a bunch of spoiled brats over there.When a parent allows a child to do what he wants when he wants he is creating a monster.If they want to stop their kids from acting like fools they better grow a backbone.The consequences for this type of behavior has to be severe enough to deter the kids from doing it.Right now there is no punishment or it's too inadequate to make the kids think twice before acting up.It's better to teach them this now before they become adults and end up in prison.


32 posted on 04/23/2005 7:22:36 PM PDT by rdcorso (The Democratic Party Has Become An Abomination)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: blam

Holy Jeeze. I had nuns when I was younger and they scared the bejeezus out of me. They wouldn't have tolerated this type of behavior.


33 posted on 04/23/2005 7:22:37 PM PDT by WestVirginiaRebel (Carnac: A siren, a baby and a liberal. Answer: Name three things that whine.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LauraleeBraswell
But you had an education system who went from using corporal punishment as a deterent to using nothing- snap... just like that.

Laralee, this is the key. Corporal punishment need not be as severe as you're describing. But frankly if it's going to do any good, discipline has to be painful---whether physically or otherwise.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11.

Again, it doesn't have to be physically painful, but it does have to be a consequence that the children truly want to avoid. That narrows the list quite a lot.

34 posted on 04/23/2005 7:23:00 PM PDT by mcg1969
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: stinkerpot65

My daughter goes to public school. She had a piano recital last week which was held at a local Catholic high school. When we arrived at the school, there were several students still there waiting to be picked up by parents. I assume that they had been participating in various after school activities.

All of the kids were dressed just as bad, if not worse, than public high school students and the obscenities coming out of their mouths would make a sailor blush. A boy and girl were making out on the steps in front of the school in broad daylight. I was embarrassed to be there with my daughter. She doesn't behave that way and her friends don't either.

I don't see this kind of behavior at my daughter's school and it's a government school.


35 posted on 04/23/2005 7:23:22 PM PDT by SilentServiceCPOWife (Welcome to the Hotel Free Republic-You can check out any time you like but you can never leave)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Poser
I had to throw 6 out

Through the window?

36 posted on 04/23/2005 7:23:28 PM PDT by cornelis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: LauraleeBraswell

I certainly wouldnt want any child caned until they bled, However a few good licks never hurt anyone and could do a lot of good.


37 posted on 04/23/2005 7:26:00 PM PDT by sgtbono2002
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Poser
""I teach at a major university. I had to throw 6 out of 18 students out of one of my classes before it started this week. I'm lucky. I can throw them out.""


Now, I'll admit I wasn't very nice to the teachers in High school last year. I was a Senior and I did many typical Senior things. Like Spraying the fire extinguisher at people and having swivel chair races in the hallways and I could go on and on.


But College is Big Boy and Girl school. The fact that you had to throw out 6 students is just embarrassing. It's college not highschool, and your students should know they
are adults now!
38 posted on 04/23/2005 7:28:00 PM PDT by LauraleeBraswell ( We must stand behind TOM DELAY!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: LauraleeBraswell

I don't deny there have been excesses.

I never saw a classmate with more than a bruised ego in my experiences, and the sound of someone else getting a couple of monitored whacks, was a great deterrent to others.

Just kicking them out of school creates more problems to society than teaching them that actions have consequences throughout life. They don't get that by sending them home to MTV and the internet and their buddies basement.


39 posted on 04/23/2005 7:29:37 PM PDT by digger48
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: dufekin

ALL excellent ideas! Well done!


40 posted on 04/23/2005 7:30:23 PM PDT by TAdams8591 (Evil succeeds when good men don't do enough!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: digger48


Are you from the UK?


41 posted on 04/23/2005 7:30:40 PM PDT by LauraleeBraswell ( We must stand behind TOM DELAY!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: blam

I think you need to check your English slang. Shite stands for what it sounds like!


42 posted on 04/23/2005 7:33:38 PM PDT by Fractal Trader (Free Republic Energized - - The power of Intelligence on the Internet! Checked by Correkt Spel (TM))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

The whole cultural atmosphere in England has changed for the worse.

When we spent a year in England around thirty years ago, our children attended several different schools: a private school, a convent school, and the youngest went to a state school in a small village near Cambridge.

The youngest was in a class of about 30 kids, but discipline was maintained, the kids were quite and attentive, and they learned their lessons. It was far different from American public schools at that time, which were much noisier and less disciplined, even though class sizes were much smaller.

The kids came from all sorts of social backgrounds, but they were all well behaved and evidently disciplined by their parents. This is one more aspect of British culture that has gone down hill.


43 posted on 04/23/2005 7:44:37 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LauraleeBraswell

I realize the article is from the UK, but the problems are the same here.

No, I'm a Hoosier.

I spanked my kids, and I support rare and monitored spankings in school, you obviously do not.


44 posted on 04/23/2005 7:45:20 PM PDT by digger48
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: blam
I believe this facile phrase holds a vital clue:

"friendly, no-nonsense approach ..."

45 posted on 04/23/2005 7:47:12 PM PDT by Old Professer (As darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of good; innocence is blind.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jonsie
I see things haven't change in England since the movie "To Sir with Love".

Yes! I thought Sydney Poitier straightened out everything years ago! :)

46 posted on 04/23/2005 7:47:27 PM PDT by brightstar (George W. Bush -- Founding Father Of Democracy In The Middle-East)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: LauraleeBraswell
There is a BIG difference between "spanking" and "beating".
47 posted on 04/23/2005 7:47:39 PM PDT by digger48
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: k2blader
Look at the parents and you'll find the problem.

Look at the Lawyers and you'll find the problem.

48 posted on 04/23/2005 7:51:48 PM PDT by Major_Risktaker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: digger48


""There is a BIG difference between "spanking" and "beating".""


I agree.

But with that teachers union we have now!, Liberals should not be allowed to discipline any child.


49 posted on 04/23/2005 7:53:46 PM PDT by LauraleeBraswell ( We must stand behind TOM DELAY!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: LauraleeBraswell

Therein lies the problem. Liberal teachers idea of "discipline" is to either relocate the student with other troublemakers, or send them to the medical community to be forced into a lifetime of mood altering drugs.

Kids learn within moments of birth, how to manipulate adults. It is up to the adults to teach them the boundaries of acceptable behavior.


50 posted on 04/23/2005 8:01:55 PM PDT by digger48
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-65 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson