Teaching seems at times very close to social work. At the start of the lesson pupils and students sometimes first need to relax a little because one of them just witnessed a major row between his parents before cycling to school. As a teacher you need to offer this student some space to cool down. I also know of teachers who give breakfasts to their pupils as many of their kids no longer have the customary bowl of cereals or some toast before they go to school. You should, however, also provide a clear structure as to what you allow in class and what is borderline behaviour. A teacher should try to be an authority but not authoritative.

The other day we had a pupil who refused to listen to a female teacher. The school immediately contacted the parents to explain that the school really couldn’t tolerate that sort of behaviour. Fortunately, the parents were very understanding and supported the school’s point of view. Have you come across similar situations in your teaching contexts? Please share your viewpoints with us.