In Praise of HarshnessNovember 14, 2007
These are the reasons why teachers should enforce the rules without any pity whatsoever:
- If you make an exception for one child then they will expect you to make an exception for all of them.
- If you ignore a rule then they will expect other teachers to do the same, even in situations where ignoring the rules will create anarchy.
- If enforcement of the rules is seen as optional for teachers then students will target teachers for “terroring” in order to intimidate them into ceasing to apply rules.
- They are more likely to remember a rule if they see someone punished for breaking it.
- They deserve it.
Here are the reasons why many teachers don’t enforce the rules:
- There aren’t enough hours in the day to give out adequate punishments.
- They teach subjects where learning is entirely optional and therefore enforcing rules is seen as unnecessary.
- They believe children (particularly those from deprived backgrounds) can’t be expected to behave.
- They are worried that senior management will create trouble for them if they give out too many punishments.
- No student over the age of 12 ever turns up for detentions anyway.