Hit the dummy teacher
A school in China has created dummy teachers for kids to punch to express their frustrations. Yay or no?
(Shawn Benjamin)
If your teen could punch a teacher without consequences, would he or she do it? According to this report from Ananova.com, a school in China has stuck pictures of teachers onto dummies, to encourage the learners to destress by punching them.

I am all for the physical release of life’s frustrations, and you only have to watch one high school rugby match to know that some teens do have quite a lot of pent-up rage. Is it wise, though, to make the teachers a legitimate target for this release? Should teachers be seen as the enemy, or is this just a fun and harmless activity?

Attacks on teachers by learners happen around the world. In a current case, teacher Tania Jacobs is suing the school at which she was working when a learner attacked her with a hammer.

For teachers like Jacobs, or those caught up in school massacres, becoming the target of a learner’s attacks can be a life-changing event.

Teachers have a tough task to try to balance a class full of personalities, many of them reluctant to be in school and preoccupied with other concerns. No teacher will expect every learner to be a huge fan, but it takes a strong sense of self to accept that you might be the target of this person’s physical expression of anger.

Vice principal Meng Fanxiang is quoted by Ananova.com as saying: ‘I don’t care if they beat up my dummy!’

If the Chinese school’s initiative can help to prevent tensions from coming to this kind of violent conclusion, similar creative solutions should be considered in every high school. Many schools strive to give learners safe spaces to express their feeling, but perhaps the touchy-feely environment of counselling may not suit the type of learner who would rather smack the hell out of a dummy bearing the face of their least favourite teacher.

It’s a controversial idea, but worth watching if it means better teacher-learner understanding in the classroom, where it matters.

Would you approve if your child’s school set up punchable dummy teachers?

Read more by Adele Hamilton

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