A teacher of a five year old boy is recorded calling the child “pathetic”, “selfish”, and “ignorant” and discouraging other kids from being his friend. The teachers union saying that the teacher’s rights have been violated.
A Kindergarten teacher stands one child in front of the classroom and one by one has them tell him what they don’t like about him and have them vote on whether or not he deserves to be in the classroom. The teacher is unapologetic.
Both of these incidents hit the national news in the past month. What is worse than these incidents is the comments left on blog posts and newspaper articles that talk about how these children were treated. Yes, these children have behavior problems, and one of them has even been recently diagnosed as autistic, but it does not justify berating and embarrassing children. Still numerous adults have made comments that these children have no right to be in school, and to actually call them retards.
The problem here is not strictly in teachers being less than compassionate. The problem is not in autistic and problem children not getting their needs met. The problem is in a society that is intolerant of people who do not function at the same level as themselves.
While the children in these cases were difficult to handle in a large group in Kindergarten, it is very possible that these children would grow out of many of their more disruptive behaviors in time. The teachers in these cases however, made sure that these children would label themselves as less than desirable, therefore ensuring that their self esteem would be broken to a point where they would never improve. To make things worse, at least half of the comments supported the teachers.
This is why so many parents with “problem” children end up homeschooling them. This is actually where my homeschooling journey began. My daughter, who is turning 12 this summer, was labeled a problem child in her first year in school. In preschool, she was given poor grades because she refused to recite the ABC’s and her numbers. She asked the teachers why she should tell them when they already knew them. In Kindergarten, she was labeled as unfocussed and too mouthy. By first grade, teachers wanted her medicated because she absolutely refused to sit still, and asked far too many questions during the school day.
When people ask me what made me homeschool, and I tell them about the issue with my daughter (as the final straw, but not the main reason), they can’t even believe I am talking about the same child that stands before us now. While homeschooling will not cure all of a child’s ills, it does remove him or her from a hostile environment, thereby minimizing damage to the child while allowing them to get the individual attention they need to develop into their best selves.