What you say

29th October 2004 at 01:00
"I'm an Asian teacher and I don't doubt for one minute that racial tension exists in most schools in one form or another. However, I believe that dealing with such 'aggravation' in the classroom needs delicate hands, particularly when the discrimination is subtle. If incidents occur, the senior management team must get involved immediately. A formal report stating what happened - name calling, gestures, or whatever - must be completed so you're covered.

"No teacher, especially a non-white one, can afford to be too subjective about such incidents. You have to state the facts clearly and not give opinions. If it's a clear case of a pupil saying or doing something that is obviously racist then serious action must be taken and the child - and his or her parents - must be left in no doubt that this kind of prejudice will never be tolerated.

"However, the grey area is when discrimination is subtle. In this case it may be prudent to offer a view of what was said or done, and then allow the powers that be to decide on a course of action.

"I always try to be objective. I am first and foremost a teacher and not an Asian teacher. The same goes for kids: they are pupils, not Asian, black or white pupils. It is incumbent upon us all to inform them that we should be celebrating this nation's multiculturalism instead of seeing it as a problem." ninasimone

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