It seems since Chanel Contos’s petition hit the webways, the debate around who’s responsible for teaching our kids about topics relating to emotional, social and mental wellness has yet again raised its ugly head.
For me, it’s a no brainer. First and foremost, it’s up to the parents, then the schools get to fill in the gaps. Can we honestly expect teachers who spend 60% of their time doing paperwork, 30% of their time, counselling our kids and 10% of their time teaching to then take on the responsibility of providing our kids with the personalised, depth of detail required in this area without the proper training, support or time?
If we want to get really serious about this subject, then the powers that be need to start looking at the way these things are currently dealt with in schools - it needs a complete overhaul. If I had a penny for every time a teacher told me that they wished they could spend more time delivering this kind of content but there just isn’t the time in an already overcrowded curriculum.
Not only that, but they’re (understandably) nervous to tackle these topics head on for fear of backlash or saying the wrong thing.
Teachers have to deal with kids who are self-harming, questioning their sexuality, threatening suicide, being bullied, proclaiming stories of sexual assault, vaping, drinking, smoking and taking drugs (amongst other things) at school on a daily basis. It’s getting beyond ridiculous.
We also need to listen to what the teenagers are saying - they wish they had more direction on the subjects, they wish they had been taught how to support themselves and their friends in difficult and uncomfortable situations. They also wish the way they’re currently taught these topics weren’t so archaic.
Not only does something need to change from the top down - more attention focussed on these areas and serious consideration undertaken around how things can change within the curriculum to start balancing out the amount of time spent on subjects relating to IQ vs EQ.
With very little time or attention being spent on developing emotional intelligence and resilience, we’re running the risk of seriously letting down our future generation and nothing changing. There also needs to be more collaboration between the school, the parents/carers and the wider community in terms of a unified approach. More questions raised about how one can support the other.
And while we all run around like chickens with their heads cut off, the kids will do what it takes, go where they need to in order to educate themselves on these topics because that's what they do. I can guarantee that most of those places they're headed, you won't like what they're learning and from whom.
Just a few of my rambling thoughts on the subject - would love to hear your opinions too!