Teach­ers fear fall­ing vic­tim to in­creas­ing lev­els of ill-dis­ci­pline


A YOUNG fe­male stu­dent teacher, who has wit­nessed pupils vi­o­lently fight­ing among them­selves on the school grounds, is con­cerned about her safety. An­other teacher, with 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, has ad­mit­ted that be­ing at school ev­ery day was a chal­lenge, while a third added that pupils don’t think twice about test­ing their (teach­ers’) lim­its. Videos cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial me­dia of teach­ers be­ing shoved and pushed, or hav­ing an ex­er­cise book hurled at them in the class­room have in­ten­si­fied their con­cerns. So too has re­cent news of a pupil al­legedly stab­bing his 24-year-old teacher to death in Zeerust, North West. “When I read about the teacher who was stabbed in a class­room, my heart sank. Where is the re­spect? Where have our val­ues and morals gone? What sort of youth are we rais­ing?” ques­tioned a Chatsworth high school teacher, who did not want to be named. “It ap­pears that pupils have free rein to do what they please, be­cause there are lit­tle or no con­se­quences for their ac­tions. “Some sort of cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment must be en­forced at schools to re­store or­der. As teach­ers, we walk on eggshells. “Even if we try to dis­ci­pline pupils, it back­fires on us,” added a Phoenix sec­ondary school teacher. A Veru­lam stu­dent teacher hopes the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion will re-look its pol­icy on cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment. “Many of the vi­o­lent out­bursts and ill dis­ci­pline of­ten stem from is­sues in the home. I have seen pupils vi­o­lently fight among them­selves. I can only imag­ine what they would do in a con­fronta­tion with a teacher.” An Isipingo teacher added that chil­dren come from all sorts of back­grounds and have their own is­sues. “They seem to act out their is­sues in the form of vi­o­lence. These deepseated is­sues need to be ad­dressed with the Depart­ment of So­cial De­vel­op­ment.” As teach­ers, they had to re­main calm at all times, she said, adding “that is the big­gest chal­lenge”. Although cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment of pupils was banned in South African schools in 1996, in a shock­ing turn of events many teach­ers have been at the re­ceiv­ing end of phys­i­cal and emo­tional vi­o­lence, with the Min­is­ter of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Angie Mot­shekga re­cently say­ing the depart­ment would work closely with the po­lice to curb vi­o­lence in schools.

North West teacher Gadi­mang Daniel Mokolo­bate was al­legedly stabbed by a pupil at school.

Min­is­ter of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Angie Mot­shekga

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