Teacher, please help me. My son is very stubborn. I hope you people flog very well in this school. In fact, John requires triple dose of the flogging other children receive.” This was a desperate plea by a parent who was obviously overwhelmed by her son’s behaviour. It is a familiar scene in the schools in my environment. Some teachers actually see such developments as opportunities to brutalise the children without any restraint.
A resourceful and skilled teacher will not resort to corporal punishment no matter the pressure from parents. Whatever “disciplinary” atmosphere it creates is illusory and transient. There is always the tendency for students to get used to the severity of any form of punishment a teacher may come up with. The teacher therefore will keep thinking of more severe and cruel things to do to coerce the students into obedience. This cycle may never really end. Many students have ended up in the grave and teachers in the prison.
I underestimated how much burdensome this request has been to teachers until the issue came again for discussion at the end of a seminar I held with some teachers about two weeks ago on the issue of the proper disciplinary approach. It is really a pathetic situation. The pressure from parents has pushed many teachers to abandon the reliable principles of motivational techniques of teaching.
In the course of my career as a teacher, it was really a difficult task to convince parents with such requests that there was need for change in their parenting approach. Many of the parents I counseled were appreciative of the parenting skills I communicated. It is therefore imperative that schools should extend a helping hand of partnership to the parents of their children on this issue. Really discipline in schools will be greatly enhanced if parents are trained to acquire the right parenting skills. The ways of achieving this includes the following:
- The organization of workshops and seminars on parenting.
- Pep talks on different aspects of proper parenting during PTA meetings.
- The production of periodic newsletters and magazines that are dedicated to parenting topics.
- The establishment of counseling units in schools.