Why I walked out on teaching;Letter

12th June 1998 at 01:00
Today I quit teaching after spending five hours in a Bedfordshire lower school struggling to contain a class of 26 unruly, badly-behaved and rude six and seven-year-olds. I have tolerated being told to "f*** off", as well as "watch it mate". I have just avoided being bitten and kicked.

My job can only be described at best as "crowd management", at worst as "zoo-keeping". My patience has been tested, my throat is sore from shouting and my head hurts. But I managed.

The reward for this superhuman exercise in self-control was to be confronted by a mother who abused and threatened me - and promised court action - for leading her errant child by the hand across the room. And all this because teachers have no way of enforcing any sort of discipline at present.

How many more good, reliable teachers will either quit, have a nervous breakdown or be subjected to court cases before the balance in the classroom is redressed?

It's time to take the authority away from children and return it to teachers, before we inherit a generation of illiterate, violent and amoral people to ruin our lives.

Julia Scott

Carlton Bedfordshire

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