I have just watched the New Zealand Teaching Council’s video starring Taika Waititi and sympathise with him and any student who has or is still experiencing such awful behaviour from adults in positions of power. No kid should have to experience that. The video and it’s message however, appear to be poorly thought out and more of an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff scenario.
Why isn’t the council (and teacher’s unions, universities or schools) vetting potential teachers before they begin causing problems? Cut the problem off at the source. If teachers like this still exist, why haven’t they been fired or been given a warning? If the Council know of these teachers, which they must, seeing as they have produced a video about it, why are they wasting their time making a video and not doing something about the people who are harming the children? Surely not abusing children (via racism or whatever) should be taught when teachers are being trained and not after they become a problem? If that is being taught as part of the curriculum to become a teacher, then why the need for a video? Why weren’t these people vetted? I also think that if people have to be taught not to be racist or abusive, then there is a major problem and it should be raising red flags to those around them.
Also a video like this is simply patronising to the many teachers who aren’t nasty and racist. The fact is that there are always going to be awful people and a video like this is not going to change the people it is aimed at.
I would suggest all good teachers should be insulted by the video, as I am sure most are actually good people and are now being tarred with the same brush as racists etc. Does the New Zealand Teaching Council really believe that most of their teachers are like that? This is a direct assault on every good teacher’s character.
If there really is a major problem with racism, abuse and whatever else in New Zealand schools then the Council need to tell us, so we can all take our children out of the system to protect them. If there isn’t a major problem, why the need for this video?
As I said earlier, the best thing to do if there is a teacher, like those described in the video, is to get evidence and have that person fired. The evidence is crucial (not just for justice and fairness) because if students see this video they will be able to use it as ammunition against teachers they dislike.
I question somebody of Taika’s age being involved too. Surely it would have been better to get someone who has been in the system a lot more recently than the early to mid 90’s to front it? If there is such a big crisis that requires such a video, then someone who has been at school more recently should be easy to find. Is it still the same environment (both in schools and the rest of New Zealand) 25 – 30 years later?
Another point that is worthy of being addressed is that this isn’t simply a minorities issue and students of all colours and backgrounds have faced racism, sexism and nastiness from teachers, staff and fellow students. I would suggest that only mentioning minorities goes against the message the council is trying to convey.
Also against the message is where Taika jokes by saying Europeans didn’t bathe until 1962.
If we really wish to stomp out racism/sexism/nastiness is to end segregation. There is no need for single sex schools or religious or race based schools. Segregation has not and will not ever help towards harmony.
Without a doubt there is a need to ensure a safe and inclusive school life for all students but a patronising and unfunny video is not going to help and it’s not even a good start. Racists and abusers are not going to watch this video and have an epiphany. The video appears to be nothing more than a PR stunt to make is seem as though they are doing something, rather than actually doing something. Meanwhile, the children being affected will continue to stuffer.
The powers that be, need to ensure that racist and nasty people never get a chance to be in a position to negatively affect children in that way, end segregation, ensure the curriculum in schools is balanced and factual and most importantly look after the children and good teachers.