In Aktobe, a 10th grade pupil called her teacher “Purulent Woman”. Actually, she called her “Old Slut”, but we wanted to tone down the beginning of this article. The teacher could not tolerate such humiliation and slapped the pupil on the face. The incident could have stayed within the walls of the building of the Aktobe School #53, but somebody recorded it on video.
The Aktobe Education Department shared their comments regarding the incident:
“The teacher-vs-pupil conflict took place during an Algebra lesson over a smartphone. School directorate had talks with both sides of the conflict, and they apologized to each other. On the 21st of February, the teacher took a sick-leave. She is taking treatment at home. Parents of the pupils, as well as pupils themselves collectively ask that the teacher be allowed to proceed her work at school” — Head of Aktobe Education Department, Ms. Metkul Kosymbayeva reported.
So, the conflict was extinguished at local level. There was a fight, but sides found ways to make amends. Society, however, still have questions, because the Aktobe incident was not the only one of the kind. Mass Media will every now and then publish reports about teachers exceeding their jurisdiction and pupils, acting way too frivolously. Both courses of action are unacceptable and are regulated by appropriate legal acts. So, the question is – what particular legal acts?
Three years ago, Kazakhstan adopted the Law Concerning the Status of Pedagogue. By that law, obscene vocabulary and other inappropriate actions in regards to teachers, pupils and their parents shall result in imposition of penalty in the amount of KZT 103 thousand. We have the impression, that the punishment is not exercised very often, because those who resort to obscene language do not seem to be willing to keep their impulses under control. Disrespectful attitude to teachers is a mass phenomenon nowadays – it finds manifestation at school and outside schools, as well as in social networks and messenger chat-groups.
We can refer to more than enough incidents of the kind. One and a half years ago, something shocking happened in a Karaganda school. A pupil “decorated” toilet walls with explicit graffiti. School administration invited pupil’s Mother for a conversation. Instead of taking appropriate measures in regards to her child, the Mother insulted teachers and school just for the fact of paying attention to the incident.
On one side, it is outstanding that some parents “go Banzai” to protect their offspring. On the other side – the line of behavior demonstrated by the Karaganda mother was absolutely inadequate. CCTV recorded emotional attacks on the teachers committed by the mother. That helped school receive compensation for moral damage caused by the insulting mother. The Karaganda Educational Quality Assurance Department took proper measures and the offending family had to pay KZT 83 thousand of penalty.
Another incident of the kind took place in Karaganda. A School #62 teacher wrote a message to parents asking why their son was missing class. In response, the mother bombarded the teacher with a series of insulting messages. The teacher would not react, but had enough of it, when a parent called her “Unfit Swab” and “Corruptor”. The teacher informed the Educational Quality Assurance Department of the incident, and the mother had to pay KZT 92 thousand of penalty.
This current year, another incident took place in the same Karaganda Province. There were no verbal insults – there was an immediate impact on the English language teacher’s face with a textbook. Interesting is that no financial penalty was imposed on the family of attacker. They were just warned. It is possible that sides had peace talks, but we are not sure about that.
Incidents, like above, were something unthinkable just some 20 to 40 years ago. The teachers, who were spiritual leaders and mentors, people who were always right suddenly turned into “student service and maintenance” workforce.
Why do pupils and their parents insult teachers nowadays? People from the education governance system think that the reason is that communities had ceased to trust schools. Many mothers and dads are confident that schools are to blame for teacher-vs-pupil conflicts, as well as problems in the process of education. People just do not want to pay attention to the fact that the renewed system of educations, online training process, all those novelties in the form of tests and workshops confront the philosophy and the principles of teachers.
Many parents hesitate not to voice their thoughts in the presence of their children, while being at home. Children, in their turn, share those thoughts at school. Another problem is that the majority of teachers prefer not to escalate conflicts and to keep them local. That is why, disrespect has become something next to a social norm.
Who Defeats Whom?
Of course, there is the back side of the conflict. There are cases, when obscene or explicit reaction from a pupil is nothing but protection from violation of borders committed by teachers.
We still remember the suicide of a talented pupil in a Nazarbayev Intellectual School, which suicide was one bright proof that pressure from teachers may be to the tragic detriment of the mental health of a child. That is why the teacher is supposed to be the first person to obey the rules. For example, a verbal insult of a child is a crime envisaged in Article 131 of the Law Concerning the Status of Pedagogue. By that article, a teacher may be imposed with a penalty or withdrawn from school for 120 hours of penal work. But contrary to pupils, teachers do not very often become objects of punishment.
For example, in the beginning of the academic year 2021, a Music Teacher slapped a boy on his ear in Almaty – probably to develop his musical taste. The boy was lost and cried and the teacher called him a “crying girl”. The boy’s mother had the teacher fired from school, but the rest of the teachers and some pupils started to ridicule and ostracize the boy. They must have thought that slapping a child is normal. We, however, do not find it normal. By Law, teachers, parents and pupils must practice respectful attitude to each other. May be, once we reach that, we shall not witness other awful incidents.