by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
censorship, cyberbully, teachers

ratemyteacher, youtube

UK Teachers Union Demands YouTube And RateMyTeacher Be Shut Down

from the censorship-to-beat-cyberbullying? dept

Back in May, we wrote about teachers in the UK demanding that "something must be done" about cyberbullying of teachers. It appears that teachers have had enough of the various online pranks and tricks that kids pull on teachers. However, as we pointed out at the time, the "something must be done" cry seems pretty pointless. Kids are always going to find ways to bully each other and teachers, and there's no magic bullet solution. Apparently, the teachers missed that lesson, because they're back with actual suggestions on what can be done. Dave writes in to let us know that a teacher's union in the UK (apparently one of many) has adopted a resolution asking for a ban on sites used for cyberbullying. Reading the details of the resolution shows the only two sites they name are YouTube and RateMyTeacher.com -- both of which have many perfectly legitimate uses and where cyberbullying takes up a tiny fraction of their usage. More importantly, however, shutting down these sites will have absolutely no impact on bullying -- except perhaps encouraging the kids to turn it up a notch, knowing that their tactics have had the desired impact. There are nearly infinite outlets for the cyberbullying to take place, and shutting down one will simply encourage kids to use a different method of cyberbullying. It seems highly unlikely that the teachers will get their way, but it's nice (ok, more like troublesome) to know that a bunch of teachers seem to think that the best way to deal with problems between people is censorship and blaming the tool involved.

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  1. identicon
    Peter, 2 Aug 2007 @ 5:27am

    i quit teaching due to lack of support.

    I am not sure if any of you out there are actually old enough to remember the time when a teacher’s word pulled more clout than that of a disruptive and misbehaving student.

    My parents would always believe the teacher over me any day of the week.

    The tables have turned though now haven't they?

    I studied to be a teacher and in this time discovered what it was like to be a student studying under a poor lecturer.

    This certain lecturer had the same notes from years gone by that he would read directly off powerpoint. He would make fun of female students and times bordered on being rascist.

    From what I recall the students in his course filled out his course overview questionairre in the resounding negative and he was disciplined by the university. Most university's in Australia have questionnaires that are handed out at the end of units letting you rate the teachers and courses effectiveness.

    Other lecturers I had inspired me to keep going, do well and finish my degree.

    My first and last year of teaching was a posting out in the far west of Queensland in a small country town. My first year was supposed to be a year of growth and beginning of a fruitful career.

    There were some good times and to be honest teaching when things were going well was most rewarding and satisfying. Seeing the look in their eye when they just 'got it' or seeing a child develop in confidence and ability felt great.

    I tried to reward students when catching them doing the right thing and bring them into line fairly and firmly when doing the wrong thing.

    Teaching though from word go was tougher than it should have been.

    I was different and a 'city slicker' doing service in a country town. I spoke differently (clearly and intelligently), didn't paticularly take to the notion of 'piggin' (pig hunting) with zeal or play rugby. Being male and liking jazz music and reading books meant that you were probably gay(I was forced to teach music and religion in that school which did not help much at all).

    My wife lived in Brisbane eight and a half hours away and I had no close friends out west. In the whole year I had roughly three weeks time together with my wife.

    A lot of the bullying that was tried on me I feel was testing. Any student will do their best to get on over the teacher if they think they can. I didn't leave because students were bullying me even though some students sure tried to make a good crack at it.

    Half of my class was made up of problem children dumped into my care because the teachers from the year before did not want them. Many of their parents did not think that their child had problems or would ever steal from another child yet every day part of my routine was opening desks and returning stolen property to the appropriate students desk. Some of the theives even complained that things were going missing and described the items as things they had taken from other children.

    If there are no consequences for students being disruptive at school and parents do not back teachers up what are children going to do? They are going to push the boundaries just that bit further.

    Some $400 prescription sunglasses of mine were stolen from my desk. These never re-appeared.

    Don't get me wrong, half of my class were great. It is really hard however to foster the ability of the advanced students and those who really want to make a go of it when the majority of your time is spent making sure the students at the other end behave or just keep up.

    I left teaching after that first year because the respect, support and pay I received did not balance with the responsibility and expectation that was rested/heaped upon my shoulders.

    Teachers are people too with feelings. At some point I thought that I could make a difference in some students life. Perhaps I even did. I am sure I did. I lost too much in the process however and lost faith in the education process. I can't help but think how many good teachers are abandonning their profession after being burnt either directly by students or indirectly through lack of support. It is such a waste.

    Some of the comments made in this forum have validated my personal beliefs.

    Shutting down websites will never work and it sounds like some of these online education rating schemes have their place in America. Freedom of speech however I think should be uplifting and empowering not just shooting your mouth off to try to hurt people.

    If a teacher genuinely is poor there are proper ways of approaching the problem. Consult with the teacher directly; speak with another parent, teacher and or principal. Talk directly with the board of education. Problems are solved by positive action and affirmation not inflammatory and pointless gibes.

    By the way.. I am now a successful and happily married store manager enjoying my work and my weekends off. My staff respect me and my senior management team for the most part support me.

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