President of the Barbados Association of Guidance Counsellors (BAGC) Saul Leacock is warning teachers to control themselves and be cautious when dealing with their wards.
In addition he is calling on parents to pay more attention to teaching their children good principles, lead by example and “instill their value system in them at a very early age”.
Leacock’s plea comes against the backdrop of recent disputes involving teachers, students and parents.
Just yesterday, a group of parents protested outside St Matthew’s Primary School amid an official visit by Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave.
The angry placard-bearing parents, who were demanding the immediate removal of principal Barbara Anne Brome-Bailey, charged that the principal was asking children to relay offensive messages to their parents. One guardian also expressed concern about victimization.
In April it was reported that a teacher at the Ellerslie Secondary School was forced to seek medical attention after a female student reportedly spat on her and kicked her in her vagina. Before that, a Springer Memorial School student and her parent became embroiled in controversy with the principal of that institution over the child’s apparent refusal to pick up an empty sweetie wrapper from the ground.
“With reference to the incidents in schools, teachers should control themselves and make sure they always act professionally, because students themselves are dealing with serious issues – social, emotional psychological – and therefore they need to be helped and given the guidance that is necessary,” Leacock said.
He suggested that one of the best ways for teachers to do this was to lead by example.
“There are many students who are coming to school very depressed and they manifest their depression in a variety of ways, including aggression. Some of them may be hurting or angry, and anger turned inward is depression and the anger turned outward is going to be aggression. So, in a physical way, teachers need to be cautious and to guard themselves against any attacks from students even from themselves being embarrassed,” cautioned Leacock.
As for parents, the Daryll Jordan Secondary School guidance counsellor told Barbados TODAY children mirrored their behaviour and personality and therefore it was critical that they set the right example.
“Sometimes the only idea that people have about parental training [and] parental example is through the behaviour and attitude of children. Therefore, parents should make sure that they remotely control the children’s behaviour by instilling their value system and their expectations to children early, so that they will know that even when they are at school the parental expectations of them are high and the consequences will definitely be regrettable,” Leacock said.
In relation to the ongoing dispute involving the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) and the Ministry of Education over a decision by the ministry to dock teacher’s pay, the educator said he was not in a position to comment.
However, he told Barbados TODAY “I guess the ministry and the unions will have to work it out, but that is something I know teachers would be concerned about, especially if they are exercising their civil right”.