May 10, 2021

The Editor Speaks: Schools not up to recognised standards. What about the parents?

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Colin Wilsonweb2At the Annual Education Professionals’ Welcome on Wednesday 26th August 2015, Hon. Tara Rivers, Minister for Education, revealed the overall findings of the inspections. She said, “The overall finding of the inspections is that most government schools have had improvement in terms of student performance across the board; however, these results are still significantly below the expected minimum when compared to international standards. Generally, in English, mathematics and the practical aspects of science, overall achievement is significantly lower than UK norms by at least one year.”

Minister Rivers also informed the audience that the inspections revealed a number of other shortcomings in the system, including: several Human Resource related issues in regards to recruitment, retention and deployment of high quality teaching staff; the need for better appraisal and performance management practices for underperforming staff; the need to increase resourcing and improve training and support for the management of Special Education Needs and behavioural issues; the need to ensure that teaching assistants are effectively deployed and supervised; the need for better collection and use of assessment data, and monitoring of performance trends over time; the need to have more targeted induction and Professional Development (PD) programmes to meet the needs of teachers and support staff; and the lack of inter-school support and exchange of ideas, good practice and successes, which is believed to help improve the overall performance of all schools.

The Education Ministry have sent out a Press Release (See iNews Cayman today “Cayman Islands Education Ministry clarifies ‘misunderstandings’ regarding latest schools’ review”) saying, “Since the release of this information, there have been several questions and comments concerning the baseline schools inspections and the Ministry wishes to clarify any misunderstandings regarding the inspections and their findings.”

I didn’t think there was any ‘misunderstandings’ but I welcome further clarifications.

However, is it fair to put the blame 100% on the teachers and the school system?

I don’t think it is fair to put the whole blame on the teachers but certainly parents must take some. One only has to look at the parent/teacher meetings where the ratio of parents who come out to them is woeful.

How many parents actually find the time to read to their children?

How many parents have bought their children smartphones?

How many children get mad when their child is disciplined at school. Not with the child but with the teacher?

“We have gone from a time when parents believed what the teacher said in regards to their child’s behavior and reacted accordingly to the present, where parents stare in disbelief and think of a million excuses as to why their child misbehaves,” says Marybeth Harrison, a public school speech therapist in Hunterdon County, N.J. She said teachers are “sadly the first to be blamed,” as parents cite poor classroom management or a lack of patience. “It’s time for parents to start ‘parenting’ and teach manners, respect, etc. … at home. Let teachers teach.”

Do parents discipline their child when they are truant?

So what is the conclusion?

You can actually blame both and you can blame also the television, the social media, the pop musicians, the movies, and even the weather.

I wouldn’t want a teacher’s job no matter how high the salary is. I don’t have the mind skills or the patience. And the job gets harder and harder.

And the reason I added Smartphones to the list is whilst they are certainly a great learning tool they are also a huge distraction to real life teaching. Perhaps the question of smartphone use in the classroom should shift from not if they should be used, but how to best use them?

Whether the teaching profession likes it or not, a school is there for someone to learn and it is still a teacher’s job to see that is carried out despite all the difficulties I have outlined.

And in my book, if you succeed, you are a hero.

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