Education | A Cautionary Tale


As an educator in the main most teachers I come across are incredibly supportive around behaviour management. When I go into schools to deliver workshops on leadership, study skills and presentation skills those teachers who know the students best are bellweathers for maintaining discipline, school standards and the boundaries between adult and child.

Sometimes however I come across teachers and support staff who are hell bent on being friends with students. Who will condone their low level disruptive behaviour and who instead of managing behaviour will exacerbate it. Trust me as a streetwise youth worker I can mix it with the best of these students and some times have had to go in to really challenge, rather abruptly those students who don’t understand that there are appropriate models of behaviour for every situation.

If I am honest this scenario occurs mostly in the schools which are in more economically or socially deprived wards. Those where there are high levels of students of 1st generation immigrants. The fact is that I have no problem really challenging those students and giving them a reality check that the outside world will be a lot less forgiving for that behaviour. That if they don’t check their attitude now the chances of getting into meaningful places of employment or suitable institutions of higher education are greatly reduced.

I say this because I care. I care for teachers who have very tough and challenging environments to work in. I care for the students who could leave schools not realising that the landscape for opportunity has changed dramatically. This is why I do what I do. It’s about showing students that life is a game in which they have to know how to play the rules.

In the main the majority of teachers know how to hold that line. Maintain that boundary. Demonstrate to students that boundaries developed in school are in many ways a metaphor for boundaries they need to survive out of it. But for those who don’t hold it, I beseech you. Grow some. Stop trying to being buddies with students. It undermines your authority. You’re not there to hold their hand when they leave so at least empower them so they know when they leave. If not, for goodness sake please go and do something else.