Don't prejudge adolescence

29th December 2000 at 00:00
I WAS appalled to find that a newspaper such as yours would lower its standards enough to print such a bigoted article as "Return of the wee hairy" (TESS, December 8). What right have we as educators to make such judgments on young people and to deem them unable to be educated?

There is so much confusion in adolescents' lives, and decisions to be made for which path to take. What they don't need is to be made to feel second class because they have not chosen the path that others feel is best. What they are

is sensitive to how others perceive them and if they feel that you

consider them to be unworthy of educaton, they will respond in that way.

I am not for a moment suggesting that all pupils are easy to be taught. That has not been my experience either. However, one of the best moments in my teaching life was when a pupil was asked why he behaved better in my class than in many others and his reply was that "she cared about you and was interested in you as a person".

However hard, it is our duty to try to capture the interest of all our pupils, not dismiss them because of what they wear and because of their background. To suggest anything else demeans our profession.

Joy Snape

Station Road, Earlston

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