Kevlar and Crises Training: The perils of Modern Teaching
February 17, 2019 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Many teachers are leaving the field within the first five years now, due to escalating violence in the classroom, and the exhaustion and burnout associated with this, according to a recent Canadian article. It's hard to pinpoint what factors are contributing to the more aggressive norms, but social factors are certainly a stress for many right now, including most adults responsible for modelling and teaching emotional regulation to the younger members of our population. Knowing that it is in the proper education of our children that society's true values are expressed, how might the public school system effectively address this growing social concern?
posted by TruthfulCalling (23 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Better training, better pay, less bullshit, fewer hours.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:34 PM on February 17, 2019 [24 favorites]

While I'm sure teachers would like all those things, I think that most would prioritize better support. Rather than extra training and pay, they want someone who can come physically assist when a student gets physically violent. And they want that person to either be available to stay and do follow-up with the student, or take the student to a de-escalating situation and review them with a proper psychological perspective. We already ask our teachers to be too many things. They need us to not expect them to solve all childhood problems for all of their students and give them the array of professionals around them to do so.
posted by meinvt at 8:45 PM on February 17, 2019 [21 favorites]

I listened to this this morning with my wife. We're Canadians living in the US and she's a teacher.

Part of the issue in Canada is lack of regulation. The US has the ADA, IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act. There's a LOT of legal controls. Her school has full-time psychologists, security staff and there are specialized schools in the district to handle kids with emotional disturbances (ED). As much as I love Canadian schools, the TDSB isn't mandated to have these things by law and thus they don't have funding for them and everything gets shoved down to the teachers. I feel bad for everyone involved.
posted by GuyZero at 9:02 PM on February 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Also, I think the public puts a lot of blame and responsibility on teachers and the schools for things that should be pinned on the home or the community.

I would like to say that this was my own epiphany. But I was clued in by J.D. Vance's book, "Hillbilly Elegy." It includes this: "In an entire discussion about why poor kids struggled in school, the emphasis rested entirely on public institutions. As a teacher at my old high school told me recently, 'They want us to be shepherds to these kids. But no one wants to talk about the fact that so many of them are raised by wolves.'"

I wonder what might be the best ways, especially for local communities, to help families, which would be another way to indirectly help children learn.
posted by NotLost at 9:12 PM on February 17, 2019 [16 favorites]

Better training

Do we know what that means at this point? I'd guess about 75% of what was covered in the BA secondary ed curriculum at the university I went to was pretty dubious, and another half of the useful wasn't particularly methodical. That was over a decade back, though, and I have no idea how up to date the faculty were on teacher pedagogy.
posted by wildblueyonder at 9:24 PM on February 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

From grade school through high school, which included a high school rough enough that there were two student on student murders during lunch break (which by then only lasted 23 minutes because of the history of violence) during the five months I was there -- and I just remembered that I had to jump over a small pool of blood in a hallway during a class break once -- I can only recall hearing of one incident where a student offered violence to a teacher, and I was pretty sure the sadistic gym teacher had provoked it.

It just wasn't a thing that happened very much in the 50s and 60s.
posted by jamjam at 10:35 PM on February 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Better training,

The only thing I know about Canadian teacher training is in the animated short, No Apple for Johnny. But like wildblueyonder, if training is so universally deficient, what would better training even look like? Does anyone even know?

better pay,

What does better pay mean in this context? Attract a better class of teacher, because the current stock are inadequate disciplinarians? Entice current teachers to stick out an increasingly violent student body for a longer duration? Because it seems this would be an argument that current teachers really are not up to the task, needing a bigger carrot to attract more professionalism and endurance. A call for better pay here, while perhaps a good idea on its own and I sense may be a jab at the way the system pays/values education, sounds more like a jab at the professionalism and skills of current teachers.

less bullshit, fewer hours

All that and a pony. I'm sure an awful lot of people not even remotely involved in teaching want these things, but again, I'm not sure how relevant this is regarding the post. Sounds like teachers do indeed want less bullshit... from students. I get the feeling this isn't what you mean, however. And it's not clear to me how fewer hours translates into less classroom violence.

These things, better training, better pay, less bullshit, fewer hours, sound like solutions to a problem that's not really described in the article. And indeed, it is a perplexing problem. I've thought for a long time that the expectations for teachers often quite unfair, relied upon to parent students as much as teach, and expected to impart knowledge regardless the engagement students themselves have with the process. Every teacher I ever knew would love to have students that were interested, curious and driven. Every teacher I ever knew was saddled with classrooms of students who were largely bored, uninterested and unmotivated at best. Very few teachers have the miracle mojo to correct for that dynamic.

It's all just very interesting to me that this article seems to indicate an uptick of classroom violence by students, particularly younger students. Is this really a thing?
posted by 2N2222 at 10:39 PM on February 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

It just wasn't a thing that happened very much in the 50s and 60s.
posted by jamjam

So I'm to understand that before teachers were prohibited from beating students physically students were less likely to physically assault teachers. That's some insight right there.

On a more relevant note, this article is specifically about teaching in Canada. While many of the complaints are applicable to teaching in the US as well, the fact that they don't (to my knowledge) have to deal with charter schools, No Child Left Behind, textbooks needing to be accepted by the Texas school boards in order to be printed without losing money, and the atrocious school funding model that the US uses leads me to expect a lot of irrelevant comments about US schools from this millennium.
posted by I paid money to offer this... insight? at 11:59 PM on February 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Better training, better pay, less bullshit, fewer hours.

The article discussed Ontario teachers, who start ~$60,000 and hit $100,000 at ten years, who have a four year BA plus two years of Teacher’s College (including multiple practicums), who do have overly onerous paperwork requirements but at least have caps on class sizes (15-26 depending on grade with 90% below 20 students) and generally work a six hour day (including mandated breaks and planning times every day).

I know a lot of teachers, plus I have children in three different schools that have been identified as high needs, I worked 25 years in Ontario schools in four different school Boards (just left in January) and this “crisis” of violence is NOT something that was a common complaint. If anything, the staff most likely to experience any violence are the much worse paid Educational Assistants who generally have a social work background and are assigned to work one-on-one with high risk students. Each school I have worked at has a social worker on staff and access to psychologists, and troubled children immediately get the Children’s Aid Society involvement (which investigates the home life and is very invasive). I agree teachers need more Social Work type training, but the profession also need to ensure the people going into teaching are passionate and are not going into it for just the money (sadly quite common), as well as not just the same bunch of white, middle-class demographics who no longer reflect the composition of the classroom.
posted by saucysault at 1:36 AM on February 18, 2019 [11 favorites]

"Better training -- Do we know what that means at this point? "

What I flippantly meant was, master mentor teachers paired with new teachers when they begin teaching in their particular schools/communities/subject areas. Lengthening the teacher training portion won't really help (it's arguably too long already), but support from a teacher mentor makes an ENORMOUS difference. The best model is probably Finland where teachers teach basically half the hours US & Canadian teachers do, and spend the other half of the hours collaborating, planning, and mentoring/being mentored by other teachers. (And yes it helps with burnout relating to troubled/difficult students.)

It's hard for me to tell from the article whether these are common classroom events or the ones in the article are outliers chosen because they are startling. The two things that do jump out are large class sizes in the early elementary years, and teachers being concerned that reporting kids will result in punishment for the kids rather than support. Especially in early elementary, that's super-concerning. But if the incidents in the article are daily events and not the horrifying outliers, Ontario needs to invest a LOT more money in therapeutic day schools and behaviorally-focused supportive classrooms because holy cow.

"Some Ontario schools and boards are encouraging educators to take Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training, a de-escalation program, run by the Milwaukee-based Crisis Prevention Institute."

This is a good training, but the union is right to be concerned about having individual teachers take it without school-wide support. Ideally you'd want all of your teachers to take it AND to have social workers in every single building. (It's a helpful and interesting training not just for people who work with children but for parents; I learned a lot, and it's applicable to children in general, who are tiny balls of outsized emotion they need help managing, not just children with serious problems, so it was interesting as a parent and it's been useful many times. While a lot of the specifics have left my brain at this point -- it was 10 years ago -- the general principles remain and are helpful.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:30 AM on February 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

This also appears to be specifically about Ontario teachers. Education is a provincial matter, and it probably differs in the other twelve provinces and territories.
posted by jeather at 6:16 AM on February 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

the fact that they don't (to my knowledge) have to deal with charter schools
Education is a provincial matter, and it probably differs in the other twelve provinces and territories.

Yes, this! Alberta has several charter schools - IIRC, they are actually publicly funded. My kids went to Westmount, which wasn't as great an experience as the propaganda would lead you to believe.
posted by jkaczor at 6:49 AM on February 18, 2019

Yes Master Mentors would be fantastic. What I saw I lot of was that teachers with seniority would choose their next year’s class based on the students they would have (and know them from being around the school). Then the new teachers would end up in their first few years of teaching to have classes that disportionately had high-needs students. As well, senior teachers tended to be better advocates for themselves in getting supports such as EAs right at the beginning of the school year, and when the new teachers realized they needed those same supports a few weeks into class there were none to be had. Class sizes are max 15 in the kindergarten years (often 30 kids with two adults plus any necessary EAs), and max 20 kids in the primary years (plus any necessary EAs). There are very few theraputic schools as integration has been a long-standing policy (when I was in elementary school in the early 70s it had been policy for a long time then and I always had classmates with varying levels of physical and mental abilities, same as my kids now).
posted by saucysault at 7:01 AM on February 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's unclear from the article how much of this is a result of students generally becoming more violent and how much of it is a result of more violent students being integrated into classrooms. The "solution" used to be locking these kids away in special classes and special schools, and that was a problem for a lot of reasons, but integrating violent students into regular classrooms is also a problem for a lot of reasons. I don't know what a good solution looks like, but right now in BC, at least, it mostly looks like assigning EAs -- who are paid way less than teachers -- as substitute targets for the violence.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:03 AM on February 18, 2019 [4 favorites]

I meant the issues teachers deal with differ -- re support, mentorship, etc -- not the laws, which definitely differ. Quebec requires a BEd, which is already a year longer program than a BA/BSc, and if you already have a degree, you really can't save all that much time because the student teaching takes up many semesters.
posted by jeather at 7:04 AM on February 18, 2019

I listened to this when it was broadcast on the Sunday Edition. jeather is right- this is focused on Ontario, and more specifically, mostly on the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). The Toronto school district is the largest in Canada, and unlike most large systems in the US, there is only one elected council. It's also critical to understand that the TDSB was only created in 1998 through a controversial annexation/amalgamation of several different communities.

Americans might be familiar with one of those areas, Etobicoke - which is the heart of 'Ford nation.' Yes those cocked up cokehead Canadian Trumps giving Toronto the reputation it deserves. Many of these reactionary conservatives are still angry about the annexation, angry that they are not 'represented', angry that their kids school is just different than the one they grew up with. Most of the alternatives available to these folks are, in their eyes, worse, because TDSB was the WASPy school district for the white anglos. There is THREE more districts you could send your kids to but those are all either the dreaded French* schools (CSV), the terribly alien Catholic schools (TCDSB) or the worst of all, the might combination FRENCH CATHOLIC schools (CSDCCS). Seriously these people.

So. The fear is that the TDSB kids are 'out of control', and that the teachers just can't deal with the kids because the rules and the administration just doesn't care. If that all sounds very familiar it's because it's an old story. Now I want to just pause a moment here and consider that this is where and how othering is allowed to be publicly expressed in Canada. In this specific case know that minority and immigrant kids often require additional educational support and in my experience these different groups get lumped together as problem kids that are expensive to properly 'fix'/educate. Race certainly wasn't mentioned or even referenced, and even if you live just down the road you could easily miss how the solution would work that makes race a key part of this for me. For the fine folks of Etobicoke are going to understand that the solution is to separate all the problem kids, and it will not be a surprise that the good program will be for kids that look like theirs and the alternative will be for all the kids that don't look or sound like they belong in Etobicoke. So even if the problem isn't framed as inherently racist, the solution would be.

There is no moment in the piece where point to and say that it was overtly problematic, because it's primarily about the activation of the fear. That fear. Difference is harming my kids. When minority communities talk about bad allies, this is it, this is what they are talking about. Of course, it takes work, and without the context and background understanding of the motivations of suburban Ford Nation racists and the super 'polite' way Canadians dance around the issue of othering, disability and race it just takes someone explaining it.

Note: TDSB also has an issue with what is refereed to as the "Culture of Fear" where teachers and principals feel intimidated and unable to speak out about bad situations. That's why the teachers in the bit are all anonymous, or all the folks even mentioned are retired or outside the system. This is why what seems like should be a straight forward policy issue (ie How the org should deal with violent kids) is a whisper piece on the national radio, and this is the bigger problem casting a shadow over everything.

As for being held hostage in a class? Or getting assaulted with a shovel? Call the P*O*L*I*C*E. Call the OPP. If the policy is lacking and you are afraid of your own org, and the situation is bad in real life then it's time to call the police. Otherwise I am going to suspect you are just using fear for political ends.

*still too Catholic mind you, but not CATHOLIC. Ask a Catholic about the difference. Also CSV might turn your kids French.
posted by zenon at 8:33 AM on February 18, 2019 [7 favorites]

You answered a lot of my questions, zenon, because a lot of this did read as coded racist or classist "concerns" where the problem isn't out-of-control violence, it's minority children who can be more easily removed if they're LABELED violent.

Nobody's being freaking held hostage by an unarmed 7-year-old. That is literally absurd. A 7-year-old in a rage can be scary! (especially to the other children, but also to adults sometimes) But this idea that a teacher felt like she was in a "hostage situation"? That's either got to do with some hella racism, or that's a teacher with complaints about her administration that she wants to paint in the most ridiculous light possible. ("They've created a situation where 7-year-olds are holding adults hostage! HOSTAGE! I was helpless!")

Some of these definitely sound like complaints any reasonable adult could address, but the teachers want to make the point that they don't have administrative backup so they refuse to take common-sense steps because of the risk of being reprimanded. That's an ENORMOUS problem on the administration's part and a very real thing that happens more often than it should, but teachers demonizing children to get administrative attention is NOT GREAT, and it happens a lot.

On a broader note, a lot of children are coming to school with more problems than in the 90s (when inclusion policies were substantially similar), because the ravages of late capitalism have the majority of children in North America now living with substantial stress. 17% of Canadian and 21% of American children live in outright poverty (grabbed the UNICEF summary for that data but it sounds about right), but many more are low-income, or food-insecure, or housing-insecure, or lack access to adequate child care. Many of their parents have casual or gig employment, limited benefits, and limited security. Community networks have broken down, leaving more individuals and families isolated and without support, and rebuilding those networks requires money and free time that people don't have to spare. Demands on time are ever-larger with lengthening commutes and longer work hours. It's not surprising that we see more children with more behavioral issues when they (and we!) are all dealing with all these systematic stressors that we have virtually no control over. We need a wholesale change of culture, to one that serves people and not corporations, but if wishes were horses ...
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:07 AM on February 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

I teach high school in the US, but have recently found myself in a position where I hear from elementary teachers about this problem. The increase in student violence is real and scary, both because of how it's driving good teachers away and because of the glaring evidence that students are not getting the help they need. The linked article did a good job not focusing on young teachers, either: the ones I see most ground down by this are experienced teachers who have the perspective to see that this IS something different in education.

I'm still puzzling out the reasons for this change. Some of it is the result of better school systems: special education philosophies these days (rightly) emphasize mainstreaming students as much as possible, rather than quarantining them in back rooms as used to happen. They also (rightly) emphasize that students should not be punished for their disabilities, which in the case of personality disorders often means behavioral outbursts. Also, schools have (rightly) come to realize that suspensions and explusions are bad for students, especially at the elementary level where an absence means a high-risk student might not eat that day or will spend 8+ more hours in the care of their abuser. Not to mention that explusions are usually super racist. Better care of these students demands they be in the classroom as much as possible, though of course these practices developed at the exact same time schools were losing the extra resources to care for them.

And then you get to the recession. There are the obvious effects -- less funding for things like classroom aides and paraprofessionals who could support these students, growing class sizes which means each individual receives less individual support, delayed construction of new buildings to relieve population pressure, and so on. And then there are the more subtle effects: today's elementary students were born during the recession, which means a whole slew of early intervention programs just didn't happen for these kids because funding was cut or because parents were scrambling for work and didn't have the time or money to provide them. Most families survived the recession with minimal harm, but for those very few who were already the most vulnerable... greater stressors and fewer resources magnified whatever struggles this population already had.

This is by no means a large segment of the population. But all it takes is 1-2 students per grade, every year, to cause some serious institutional strain. Increased care and concern for the students (SO needed!) combined with a lack of funding means the pressure falls on the person who interacts with the student most, their teacher. At a time when many schools are trying to make a case about why their funding levels should finally return to pre-recession levels, statistics about explusIons and police visits look really bad. I've heard from elementary teachers that they are explicitly discouraged from reporting behavior problems up to administrators, from filing worker's compensation claims in result of an injury, from calling the police. Better to let the student's immediate outburst pass and we'll try harder to avoid the next one, but for now just let the student rage it out by destroying the classroom.

It is so heartbreaking, for all parties involved. Better pay could attract more people to the prodession as well as tell teachers that the community values them and their work (which actually really is a comfort when you're icing your shins that night). Smaller class sizes will help all students get more individual contact with the teacher as well as reduce the number of people exposed to such outbursts (because we haven't talked at ALL about the other 25 students in the room who are exposed to such violence). More classroom help in the form of aides, paraprofessionals, even co-teachers can help prevent or minimize the impact of these violent episodes. Any more funding, any at all, will help. But right now we're telling teachers to teach kids deep breathing exercises and then blaming them when it doesn't work. And the students are STILL not getting the real medical or social services they need.
posted by lilac girl at 9:46 AM on February 18, 2019 [6 favorites]

...a lot of this did read as coded racist or classist "concerns" where the problem isn't out-of-control violence, it's minority children who can be more easily removed if they're LABELED violent.

I didn't see the message of this article as a recommendation to seperate the 'good' children from the 'bad' children, or any commentary on what demographics those two categories might come from. People are experiencing stress at all levels of society right now, no matter their cultural background, class, age, gender, etc. These are stressful times! Throw in violent video games and media that often replace time spent socializing and learning effective emotional coping skills, and of course children are going to have increased behavioural problems - young children need a great deal of positive, calm attention in order to grow up stably and thrive, and the tragedy of our times is perhaps that there is not enough time for adults to be providing it to them.
If anything, this article seemed to me to be a plea to simply reduce class sizes, so that any behavioural challenges that do arise could be addressed more effectively by the adults present.

It's true that it's ridiculous for an adult to claim that a seven year old could hold a classroom 'hostage,' but the education system is very clear with teachers that aggressive responses to this kind of behaviour is not acceptable, especially with younger students. Many teachers feel their hands are somewhat tied; either they become a drill sergeant (of course, never responding physically, unless a student is in direct danger, though), and develop teaching strategies that are much less nurturing and supportive than any teacher would be comfortable with, in order to keep classroom behaviour in line with expectations, or they are left to manage increasingly wild classrooms in which not only are lessons and instructors disrespected, but chaotic environments are created in which poor behaviour is sometimes exacerbated through lack of resources to address it. It's a real problem, even if some elements were exaggerated in this article, it's not being made up.

I think it really needs to be recognized that teachers are often being asked to take on a lot of the brunt of socializing work, in teaching children how to cooperate with one another; it is not, and arguably has never been, simply about teaching children their ABCs. The question is, with so many factors that are contributing to this being so much more challenging now, including the polarization of society, and adults themselves sometimes having more trouble living in harmony with one another, how can that be addressed effectively?
posted by TruthfulCalling at 9:51 AM on February 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is by no means a large segment of the population. But all it takes is 1-2 students per grade, every year, to cause some serious institutional strain.

I think lilac girl hits it on the head with the whole comment, but this is, I think, the crux of it. Tracking, segregation and 'back rooms' for the 'bad' students were all bad, but from my outsider's perspective it seems that a lot of the strain is coming from well-intentioned policies to reverse those approaches being instead carried out as ways to not really provide the sometimes nearly full time personal support these students need.

So, yes, it is partly about training, and partly about class size and partly about work hours, but I think you could dramatically adjust all those things without resolving the problem. The student alone can't hold a classroom hostage, but a student's behavior combined with a series of administration strictures on adult responses and combined with a lack of support can absolutely create paralysis - and that makes all the other student's suffer.
posted by meinvt at 10:50 AM on February 18, 2019 [7 favorites]

As a new teacher in rural northern Ontario, it became very clear to me that 75% of my time was going to be focused on individual behaviour management/discipline in the classroom, and 25% actually on the lesson. Many kids simply didn't come to school equipped to have the head space to sit down and learn/follow the most basic instructions - their home life/personal struggles didn't readily allow for that in a community where 60%+ of family's are under the poverty line. I needed to spend the time to get the individuals into a ready -to work headspace, and then support them in doing the work, which wasn't necessarily at their comfort zone (supposed grade level), because other teachers had pushed them through the system, regardless of their actual learning accomplishments. I the meantime, the remaining students who are ready to work are either already done and bored, or are trying to quietly get their own help from the teacher, who is swamped with handling the other kid's more potentially-explosive/urgent needs. Think of it as a triage-focused Cooking Mama game... put out the fires and keep everyone happy, while getting a meal on the table.

If one of my little pots exploded in frustration, I couldn't very well send them to the administration for discipline, as it would undermine my control in the rest of the classroom - and make no mistake, some of our students revel in getting the teacher to totally lose their shit. It's fun, and makes them feel powerful, and maybe helps resolve whatever issues they have with their parents. The administration lacks the context to solve the situation humanely, and will likely give them an arbitrary punishment, harsh suspension, or send them back to class.

I figured out early on that the administration was not on my team; they aren't in the situation, and don't have the sensitivity to my students, especially the more behaviorally complex kids, to work out effective response - the kid gets labelled a problem child, and it makes it that much easier to suspend thwm in the future and, ultimately expell my student... freeing up more time and resources for everyone else.

I recognized early on that when students complained to their parents about discipline/being sent to the office/perceived unfairness/whatever, the administration would actively undermine whatever teacher had sent the kid to the office, to placate the parents.

I can't leave the other 25 kids in the classroom on their own to take care of my one kiddo who is having a meltdown, because "you can't leave the kids alone!". Meanwhile, the lack of privacy to handle the issue is making it even worse, if the other kids are able to watch my upset kiddo and I sort it out.

I genuinely loved working with my kiddos with major behavioural issues and learning disabilities - I loved learning what made them tick, and circumnavigating their breakdowns. It was a pure delight to watch them take hold of the material in a way that worked for them, and shepherd them on their own special projects. As a new teacher in her practicum, I was able to spend that extra time with my high-needs students, as the host teacher took care of the kids who were more equipped to function in the regular classroom environment. 2 teachers in one room was an awesome setup, plus the wonderful EA.

I went into teaching with some amazing teachers, and slowly, the respective administrations have gotten rid of them, bc they work "out of the box", and have advocated for change to this irrevocably damaged system. My host teacher was a brilliant woman, with the patience of a saint who could make the most boring material come to life. She is a better person than me in every way... and yet the administration got rid of her, when it became clear that they couldn't mandate her into using only staid, board-approved materials in the classroom.

She has since returned to school, and has become an amazing medical doctor in our community, whose patients are lucky to have her compassion and insight.

I got out ASAP. I am a damn good teacher, but I got out. I now put my teaching energy towards children in my community through other organizations (girl guides, children's theatre etc.), and I serve as an administrative justice advocate for local parents in conflict with their school boards/administration.

The 1950s industrial-style system of public schooling is inherently broken; the current schooling model is built on assembly line development of a supposed tabula -rasa student, (which has never existed, and WILL NEVER exist). The current school system was made to be efficient, and cheaply produce worker-bees who are not equipped with critical thought.

Virtually any other schooling system is better than this one.... Montessori, agricultural working schools, waldsturban forest schools, whatever... the industrial school system is a disservice to all learners.

(Sorry for the book, apparently I have strong feelings about this issue).
posted by NorthernAutumn at 11:47 AM on February 18, 2019 [14 favorites]

(And don't even get me started on the damage done to the kids whose parents have fully equipped to manage socially and are ready to work as soon as they enter the classroom. They do see the lack of attention they receive, in comparison to the kiddos with more negative behaviours that receive the bulk of "extra" attention. Sitting nicely in your seat doesn't get you the attention and praise that every kiddo craves. So they've got time on their hands and feel disrespected by the babyish work opportunities presented to them for learning. They similarly feel blown-off by the teacher, who seems to have all the time in the world for little Johnny who keeps starting fights. The resentment builds up quickly., against the teacher, the kiddo with behavioural issues/learning disabilities, and the lack of justice in the school system as a whole. They immensely resent the collective punishments, and being ignored on an individual level. They are really sharp students whose passion and appetite for learning is first not met by crap low-resource lessons, and further extinguished when they recognize that their own emotional and learning needs are completely ignored by the existing school system. No wonder they resent being forced to spend 6 hours a day in this oppressive schooling environment.)
posted by NorthernAutumn at 12:11 PM on February 18, 2019 [11 favorites]

> the ravages of late capitalism have the majority of children in North America now living with substantial stress.

The ravages of late capitalism are also the cause of a lot of problems plaguing public libraries (which are also experiencing increased problems with violence, drug abuse and other crimes), but it’s a hell of a lot easier to get angry at and about homeless people at the library than it is to ask questions about why they and other marginalized groups aren’t receiving the help they need.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:24 PM on February 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

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