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Gerardo Castrillo Ceballos, Professor of the School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra
The loneliness of the secondary school teacher
To many teachers of teaching today, one can apply the degree scroll of a book of short stories written by Alan Sillitoe in 1959: "The loneliness of the long-distance runner". In a long-distance degree program , unlike the hundred-meter sprint, endurance is more important than speed; that is why it is less showy and does not lend itself as much to the limelight staff. The winner usually remains "hidden" in the middle of the group until he or she appears in the final straight. This resistance, in the case of the teacher, is called resilience, which is the ability to face adversity and overcome it.
With the arrival of postmodernism at the beginning of the 20th century, a crisis of reason began, in which the consistent was replaced by the banal, and voluntary behavior by desire. This affected many families and the family Education : parents who used to educate their children in respect, freedom manager, effort and discipline, gave in to the siren songs of permissiveness educational. These parents who presume to be "liberal" with their children consider themselves good parents, so when faced with the inevitable misbehaviors of their teenagers (selfish, lazy, disobedient, undisciplined, etc.) they look for culprits outside the family, preferably in the school and in the teachers.
This subject of parents almost totally delegated the Education of their children to the school and reserved for themselves the unlimited right to demand results. "Many teachers complain that parents are not only unconcerned about instilling minimum values in their children, in the conviction that this is an obligation that only concerns the teachers, but also that, in any problem, they are ready in advance to blame them, taking the child's side, with the ultimate alibi that, after all, if he is rude, it is the fault of the teacher who did not know how to teach him".
(J. M. Esteve: Amiel)
As early as 1981, an ILO (International Labor Organization) report ( work) formulated an accurate and timely diagnosis of the new status: "At a time when schools are increasingly being asked to perform functions that traditionally fell to other social institutions such as the family, teachers feel that it is unjustified to reproach them for not being up to all the challenges posed by a rapidly changing world, especially if they do not have the resources they would like to meet them".
Jon Bradley, professor at School of Education at McGill University in Montreal, believes that, as a society, we are transferring responsibilities to schools in many subjects that are not related to their performance and expertise. They usually belong to the family. Attempting to redirect them to be taught at high school is usually a failure.
The expectations of the knowledge society can hardly be satisfied in the short term deadline and only by teachers. Teachers need to unlearn procedures from the past in order to learn and acquire new tools as soon as possible that will enable them to adapt to the new times, which are those of accelerated change. And parents often lack patience.
Teachers feel unprotected and alone. It is more worrying to feel alone than to be alone, since it is a perception staff of emptiness and anguish; it can be felt even when surrounded by people. This perception of loneliness is provoked by some parents, who far from showing solidarity with teachers, ally themselves with their child in a very critical way.
One of the possible preventive measures to avoid this conflict, as well as its consequences in the form of teacher discomfort and loneliness, is to rethink the initial training of academic staff , stripping it of possible idealized visions and adapting it to the new problems. This requires teachers to develop relational skills for communication with indifferent parents and social skills to apply them in the classroom with adolescent students who do not want to learn.
Today, new ideas are needed to involve the parents of the students in the life of the school. It is essential to make them see that work as a team always improves results, and not only at business. This teamwork between parents and teachers favors motivation to study and a significant increase in academic performance.
At this time it is more necessary than ever to socially vindicate the figure and the work of the teacher. That is the goal that pursues the celebration every year of the "World Teachers' Day", which highlights their educational and social work.