Tuesday, May 29, 2012

To Be Or Not To Be a Teacher

Yesterday I heard from an old friend that he too had left the work as a teacher. It came as a chock. How can a well educated and popular teacher like him quit before the semester is over to start working in the local grocery store, with meat?

What I know the school he worked on is quite calm compared to a lot of schools in towns. When asked he answered: “Now I will not have to work when I am free from the job, and if I work some evenings and weekends I will anyway have the same salary as before...” (great salaries for teachers in Sweden!)

What is happening in Sweden? I know my story (and you too soon), but all these good teachers leaving the school like the rats jumping from the sinking ship. I will just mention two more before my story: One music teacher became a church musician (nice change) while one who became retired started to work as a sub in her old school, saying “now I only have to do the fun part-have lessons- all the other things, the so called paperwork that took all the time from the real work is gone. This is the real work for a teacher”. I can't agree more with her!

Now my story:

I also felt that I spent more and more time doing work that was administrative and not teaching. I used to tell my friends that when I started working as a teacher I had time to sit and plan my lessons and help as a sub when somebody was sick (up to 4 lessons/week). I also got extra paid for that.

After 15 years I still had to be a sub when someone was ill, but due to new rules that the union had approved all over Sweden we were not paid for this, but forced to do it. The planing had to be done during the “home working time”! Now I also had to do other things like much more paper works to “protect the school from being accused to not follow the rules” and “check if the students had any diagnosis” and... these where the reason why my friend quit and now works at ICA superstore.

I worked anyway until one day I was threatened during a student trip in the forest were we where supposed to sleep that I should “live as this was my last day”. The trip was canceled during the evening and I made a report to the police. I was told that they can do nothing because the girl was under 15 years old (she was 14). The head master did what he could, but according to the law in Sweden the girl did not have to move to another school unless she said yes to the place he wanted to give to her (her parents said “No!”).
So I had to work in a classroom were it was a student who knew I could do nothing when she were messing and disturbing the other students.
Some weeks later she really were messing during a math test. She was playing games, with the sound on, on her cellphone! She was told by me to put it away, and I got the answer “soon”. When I came back I said “according to the law I am allowed to take your cellphone if you are disturbing others with it, so pleas put it away.”. “No”, she said. “Then I will take it now”, I replied and put my hand on the cell. What happened then was like in a dream.
She hold tightly in her cell and leaned fast forward and bit my hand. I was in shock and just looked at my hand and said loud:”You bit me”, then I walked out from the room. I do not remember what happened with the test.
Once again I called the police and the headmaster and my colleges gave me all their support. I signed of and was home psychically down. It is called “sick leave”. I did not have any strength left to work in that kind of situation. The doctor said it was no good to return. (The girl stayed in the class and the police did nothing again., and the headmaster could nothing do, more than try to insert extra resources in the class-but he lost me. He did what he could for me!)

What to do? Stay home and be “sick” approved by a doctor, although you don't feel sick or do as my former colleges above?

I did nothing of that. Instead I started to study again to become an engineer. I have great study buddies and gets a great education, but the cost is high: I need to take new student loans (the way it works in Sweden) and it costs the society too to. It is a crazy situation, but now I enjoy my life.

Will I ever come back to school as a teacher?

Good question. I love teaching, I really do!!! and I am a great teacher (according to my other students, not that girl). The problem is that even the law is against the teachers in Sweden.
Under 15, nothing happens
over 15... according to a court decision recently students are allowed to hit the teacher “a little bit”, because the teacher profession should be looked upon as the police profession according to Aftonbladet (Swe link). “!on kcuF” (invert it). They never gave me a course in self defense. I am a teacher, and as long as the students have the right to beat the teachers I will not come back.

If Sweden are supposed to be one of the best countries in the world in education the government and the opposition have to do something drastic, else there will be no teachers any more.

Poor all the wonderful children!

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