Six weeks into the reopening of schools, with some pupils not placed in schools yet, our attention has diverted from 'no child should be left behind' to hair.
We see a teacher combing out a pupil’s hair: we do not know the context other than what we see recorded and circulated on social media, but it has us split right down the middle.
We deduce that the teacher had no right to do this – the teacher has a teaching degree not a hairdressing qualification.
The other side is the belief that the teacher acted correctly as the child’s hair was untidy and needed to be presentable before he stepped onto the school property. And then we always have Switzerland, those of the belief that the teacher’s actions were not the problem, simply how she combed the pupil’s hair.
Six weeks into the reopening of schools, with some pupils not placed in schools yet, our attention has diverted from “no child should be left behind” to hair… I am a 30-something-year-old woman who attended schools at the dawn of democracy.
My mother was a teacher in Soweto for 21 years at a school considered to be for township pupils only. I would bring to suburbia the behaviour of the township … but momma ruled differently.
When I was enrolled, my parents and I consented to the code of conduct. My school years were not without incident. I refused to attend a certain teacher’s class in grade 11 and my mother told to do it.
I showed up and excelled. I believed my mother knew what she was doing. But it was what she did in the background that forever made an impression on me.
Unbeknown to me, she registered all my complaints. My mother took on schools’ administrations for my protection. She allowed me to learn and she parented, but she never let me to go against the code of conduct.
Sometimes pupils’ acts of defiance are not warranted. It is for the parents to engage with schools’ management and for them to meet each other halfway, failing which the two opposing sides drift further apart.
Teachers become extreme and pupils more defiant, while parents are the missing middle.
If parents are absent, how can they feign shock when teachers parent for them?
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