Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Absence of Malice

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  • mark taslov,

    note; Cartman, not Cartman's mum.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    I still don't think I agree with you 100%, Mark (come on, the stories were funny!), but I can see where you're coming from. Maybe if you'd put it that way in the first place rather than getting a wee bit snooty I wouldn't have got my snark on.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Hence Emma had her mum pwn her teacher

    Except she didn't. I know you've told me to get over it, Mark, but this simply isn't true. When my mother went to the Parent-Teacher evening, I still hadn't got out of bed from the glandular fever. I only found out about it after the fact. I was incredibly ill.

    But... how should we then "respond to their failings"? If parents aren't allowed to protest on their children's behalf, and the system provides no opportunity at all for students to provide feedback on their teachers?

    I also think we might be dealing with different concepts of respect. To me, it's something that can't be demanded, only earned, and is not 'due' to anyone. My former boss disagreed.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    yes Eddie, The stories are funny. It was just that one section I was taking issue with, and fairly, having read your blog a while Emma , I know how responsible and caring you are. I just wanted to raise the issue.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    Wellington College late 1990s, wagging. Didn't do it. My mum taught there. Realllllllly hard to get away with it.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    on the contrary. giving due respect to authority figures whether they deserve it or not is mandatory for maintaining our society and our own well being.

    be they police officers, doctors, judges or traffic wardens.

    If a doctor doesn't have my respect, it's probably because they're not a very good doctor. In which case, I'm not likely to let them do any doctoring on me.

    In which case, respect isn't mandatory for maintaining our society and well being, lack of respect can often help maintain your well being.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    giving due respect to authority figures whether they deserve it or not is mandatory

    Um, ew.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    My former boss disagreed.

    ha! ok, Sorry for misconstruing events, like I said Emma, it's more the general trend that concerned me'

    But... how should we then "respond to their failings"? If parents aren't allowed to protest on their children's behalf, and the system provides no opportunity at all for students to provide feedback on their teachers?

    I'd suggest methodical diplomacy, or if that fails, biting their ear off. I think what I'm getting at is not so much the intent as the tone. There are ways to set a teacher straight, without the children forever knowing that our mum pawned Mrs Bishop or whoever.

    When the children realise that the teacher is everyone's lacky, parents, administrators, students, then they lose the respect necessary to enable a good learning environment. there are also (unfortunately) the types of teachers who will continue that cycle by taking that out on the students. This is a cycle to break.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    It's time New Zealand matured.

    What, you don't think we buy into the bullshit enough, compared to more obedient peoples like the Chinese?

    Let's hope we never do!

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    giving due respect to authority figures whether they deserve it or not is mandatory

    Um, ew.

    it's simple pragmatism Danielle, would you like a speeding ticket or would you prefer to be arrested? I don't respect the officer, but I pay him respect as the situation required.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    it's simple pragmatism Danielle, would you like a speeding ticket or would you prefer to be arrested? I don't respect the officer, but I pay him respect as the situation required.

    That's not respect. That's fear.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    it's simple pragmatism Danielle, would you like a speeding ticket or would you prefer to be arrested? I don't respect the officer, but I pay him respect as the situation required.

    Ha! I am proved correct. Mark, you're conflating obedience and respect. A certain about of obedience to authority is indeed required for a properly ordered society (the degree of obedience is very much up for debate). That ISN'T the same as respect. To use a slightly extreme example, I wouldn't respect a hypothetical homophobic cop in the slightest, but I might well be obedient in order to avoid negative consequences to myself.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    giving due respect to authority figures whether they deserve it or not is mandatory

    Um, ew.

    It just gives me Paranoia flashbacks.

    ha! ok, Sorry for misconstruing events, like I said Emma, it's more the general trend that concerned me'

    Thanks Mark, I appreciate the change in tone.

    When the children realise that the teacher is everyone's lacky, parents, administrators, students, then they lose the respect necessary to enable a good learning environment. there are also (unfortunately) the types of teachers who will continue that cycle by taking that out on the students. This is a cycle to break.

    I am aware that there are parents taking this way too far, and good teachers on the end of crap they don't deserve. Dissent often isn't constructive.

    But. Back when I was at high school there was very much a sense that the kids had no power at all, that they were completely at the mercy of the whims of the staff, some of whom clearly abused that power. When we were mistreated, we had no recourse. This didn't lead to constructive obedience, but non-constructive rebellion.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Dunedin in the 70s - we wagged - well I didn't, but in retrospect I wish I had - the bullying was so horrendous I have no idea how I ever got up the nerve to go back there day after day - 35 years later the place still gives me the willies, I've actively worked to make sure my kids never do

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Bunking off was what we in the comprehensive school called it.

    Wagging was what the Grammar boys / characters from Enid Blyton & Biggles books did.

    I think we called it Wagging at Christchurch Boys', but I was from London and watched a lot of Grange Hill, so I called it bunkin', innit.

    Not that I actually did either. I skipped one PE class because I hated all that sporty macho stuff (I don't think we actually played "Bombardment!", but the general atmosphere was similar). Of course, physical activity is important, but I'd have thought that an hour of biking to & from school would have sufficed. Oh, but integrating
    physical activity into one's everyday life obviously doesn't build character in the way that running around a muddy field with a bunch of sweaty oafs does.

    But I never skipped class. After all, it's pretty hard to pass schol if you're not there to take advantage of the teachers teaching. Yes, I was a nerd. Was.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    We called it skiving.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Stuart Coats,

    When the children realise that the teacher is everyone's lacky, parents, administrators, students, then they lose the respect necessary to enable a good learning environment.

    And when do you think this occurs? I'll admit to having inside knowledge here as my father was a teacher (which, like David Cormack, may explain the lack of wagging) but I think the kids work out quite early that their teachers have very little authority. This, IMHO, is why the good teachers get even more respect (there's that word again) from their students because a good teacher makes you want to be there. They might be teaching you maths, but a good teacher does more for you than that. They help you to become a better person, which is what school should be about.

    A good teacher can also work out when a kid needs a break and won't get as worried about the odd missed class. It's also less of a blow to their personal ego, but then they know the child will return because, in the end, they want to be there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    I've just retired a bit early from secondary school teaching and one of the things that got me down was the bureaucracy of it all. I'm sure I would have loved you as a student, Emma, but if I was your form teacher or house tutor and responsible for your absences I would have been tearing my hair out. With my luck you would have been abducted the very day I didn't report your absence. Or your mother would have made a complaint to the school in the middle of the year because I HADN"T rung up and informed her of your frequent unexplained absences.
    Every serial wagger is a bookkeeping nightmare and adds to the admin workload of teachers who just want to teach but have to keep registers and are in their turned bullied by management if they don't dot the Is and cross the Ts.
    Most students aren't as bright as you and generally speaking the kids who turn up to class regularly are the ones who get the good grades if that is what people want out of school!
    As a teacher with the best intentions I've upset plenty of kids. A few years ago some students of mine and a colleague's performed a ritual burning of Othello.
    No matter how hard you try you can't win 'em all. Report comments are written to a deadline and can come out wrong so very easily! There are some 'orrible teachers but most of us want to be liked and don't deliberately torment our young charges.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • JoJo,

    Hawke's Bay, early 1990s. Wagging. (But thanks for the Grange Hill memory-nudge Tom.)

    I never did it because I hated the consequences - I knew I'd get caught by someone, whether parents or teachers. They had pretty good attendance systems, so could quickly check whether someone was acceptably absent or wagging.

    But I found that as a fairly intelligent, academically lazy dissenter, I could rebel in other ways. Creating general havoc by protesting against teachers' actions was much more fun than wagging to watch American soaps. And if you were clever about it, they couldn't punish you with detention.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    The times when my parents stood up against teachers who were bullying me were very very good for me. A sadistic teacher can do a lot of damage to a young person's self-esteem and to have someone stand up and say "I believe you and I believe you deserve better" can go a long way towards healing. Having my parents on my side is the only reason I got through my schooling without becoming completely neurotic.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    But I found that as a fairly intelligent, academically lazy dissenter, I could rebel in other ways. Creating general havoc by protesting against teachers' actions was much more fun than wagging to watch American soaps.

    My main achievement as a dissenter was to have hymns removed from senior assembly. I'd had enough of getting detentions for refusing to sing about God & Jesus in a supposedly secular state school, so I wrote a proto-Dawkinsian rant about the evils of religion for the school newspaper, which led to a referendum and the end of "God only Wise". The only problem was that we had to sing more rugby songs.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    "we had to sing more rugby songs" - ah, unintended consequences. We lobbied about hair length and off-site passes and the principal promptly disbanded the newly-formed school council. Coward.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Ha! I am proved correct. Mark, you're conflating obedience and respect. A certain about of obedience to authority is indeed required for a properly ordered society (the degree of obedience is very much up for debate). That ISN'T the same as respect. To use a slightly extreme example, I wouldn't respect a hypothetical homophobic cop in the slightest, but I might well be obedient in order to avoid negative consequences to myself.

    Sorry Eddie, it was a crap example, but there's respect and there's 'showing respect' , generally our young un's aren't up to making the distinctions you have made.

    What, you don't think we buy into the bullshit enough, compared to more obedient peoples like the Chinese?

    Let's hope we never do!

    Let's hope we never do what RoOz? Who are the Chinese obedient too? As I've mentioned before, the primary cement in the structure of the system in China, are not the institutions but the families. Money and networks offer easy routes around most institutional obligations.

    In terms of education, the family knows best, parents override educational standards all the time here, insisting they know what's best for their little emporer(s). Standardized testing has been implemented a long time.

    so RoOZ, just hoping you never end up like that, isn't going to be enough.

    When you speak of obedience you neglect to consider that you're comparing a country with an often contravened drinking age, with a country whose culture has never necessitated the introduction of a drinking age.

    Lets take a look at recent NZ history,

    Supression of terrorism act, enabling arrest without crime,
    surveillance of protest groups,
    registration required for political action,
    introduction of standardized testing in education.

    what more can be said than,

    welcome to China.

    Don't ever buy into the illusion that New Zealanders are somehow less obedient than Chinese. I'm not talking about the past, I'm talking about now.

    And right now

    their obedience is to their families
    your obedience is to the law.

    Sorry to drift off topic there Emma, but after having a laugh I thought I'd better set that old record straight (yet again).

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    on the contrary. giving due respect to authority figures whether they deserve it or not is mandatory for maintaining our society and our own well being.

    Still reeling from this one.

    One of the great things about the 21st C is that we are starting to realise that the people we were brought up to respect had often failed to earn it.

    Britain in the 80's and early 90's was good for that. Police corruption, Poll Tax, race riots... you name it. It was all triggered by a lack of trust.

    Trust does not arise from "honour thy father & mother" in a well educated, informed society.

    At the risk of hyperbole, the shoulders of giants we stand on weren't only great scientists, they were people who strove for truth & justice, whether they be suffragettes or union leaders.

    One of the reasons that schools have such trouble with the student-teacher relationship is the imbalance of power, for both sides. Because it is not even tripartite: there are many actors with contrary objectives.


    Parents want their kids to be out of the house for a few hours... some of them would like kids to get a good education (but many feel threatened...)
    Parents as Voters want some Utopian thing where they can measure on a score card how well the kid is doing, rather than actually spend time with them and work it out...
    Government wants educated plebes for the workforce at a low cost... oh and while you're at it can you deliver a pile of social education because nobody else seems to want to.
    And students want to work out who they are, which is bloody hard with all that other crap going on.

    I left school with no idea who I was or what I wanted to do. Stuff all qualifications. It's the former I think was the big failure.

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Bit slow responding to this one, shit to mark. Most dictionaries provide a number of interpretations of respect.

    we could jump on the noun.

    3. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.

    or we could be open to this interpretation

    4. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect's right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.

    as with the verb;

    9. to hold in esteem or honor: I cannot respect a cheat.

    10. to show regard or consideration for: to respect someone's rights.

    11. to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with: to respect a person's privacy.

    The issue, again brought to the fore, being New Zealand literacy rates.
    ;D Eddie.

    I didn't actually say obedience.
    and i didn't find a definition for respect as obedience.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/respect

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

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