Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why the Jordanian Teacher Terrorizing that Kid Should Not Be Punished

I watched the clip of a Jordanian teacher terrorizing a 1st-grade student in a public school. It was painful to see a young kid being humiliated, but it was more painful to see the reaction of a wide array of people to this youtube clip.

It looks like the people who were "shocked" the most were those who never gave a damn to start with. We all know that children get beaten up in almost every single public school in Jordan. Sometimes they get brutally beaten up, tied by chains, humiliated, and the physical abuse may even qualify as torture in some cases. Some students died, actually died, as a consequence of violence targeted at them from teachers.

The ministry of education doesn't pay attention to these cases. The principles of these schools don't care, mainly because most of them support the right of teachers to treat their students as their kids (i.e. beat the shit out of them-if necessary!) And just like having 10 kids can be a burden to a father, having 50 kids in one class is a huge burden. There is not time to pay any special attention towards kids.

I'm not even going to discuss sexual abuses against kids since I don't have names (obviously not clips either) but we hear the stories about teachers who have been "investigated" by school administration and asked to teach a different class because of clear sexual abuses against students. Things have got so bad in a public school in Madaba that a school shut down its restroom because of such sexual.

All these fake reactions by the ministry of Health were a result of the clip going viral, and not because of the violence itself. That little kid is lucky. His misery that went viral will almost guarantee he'll never be hit again , at least for a while. But make no mistake, this morning in Jordan a big number of students in Jordanian schools will be beaten up in schools by teachers and principals and nobody will record it on youtube, not allowing the Ammani elitist living in a bubble to pretend to be have feelings to allow them to feel sorry for kids who seem to be living in a different planet.

At least that teacher was teaching that kid something other than that his country is giving up on him and unless his parents were rich and connected he didn't belong to this land he lived in anymore.


jaraad said...

After all the tweets, facebook comments, and reactions that reached all the way to the top, I would say I really admire your courage for saying what you said. And since you are the first to say it out loud about this poor teacher. I will say I agree with you. I don't think any one could imagine the psychological situation this teacher is going through after the entire population of Jordan wanted to "kill her" or "eat her alive" or "beat her." those were some peoples tweets or comments by the way. This teacher is ruined for life.
Yes, what the teacher did was wrong, no question about it. And she should be penalized reasonably. But the reaction shouldn't have reach that level. Making this teacher Jordan's devil. As you mentioned there are way more terrifying stories that involve physical abuse. Does the government educates our teachers on how to treat students or how to deal with difficult students. Our education system is not going to be fixed by penalizing this one teacher.
Thanks for bringing this subject up.

sheeshany said...

و الله مأساة!

Anonymous said...

للمعلومة فقط
انت غبت عن الاردن فترةطويلة
الان ممنوعمنعا باتا ان تحمل المعلمة عصا
ممنوع منعا باتا ان تجلس في الصف
ممنوع منعا باتا انتشتم و قد قامت تلميذة بالشكوى عن معلمة قالت لكل الصف اخرسوا
و قامت التربية بتوجيه انذار للمعلمة
المعلمة وصديقتهاحسبما رأيت يصورون ردفعل الولد ليضحكون عليه لاحقا
واضحانهاكانت تضحك وهي تحاول اسفزازه

صدقني هي الان فرحة بالنجومية التي وصلت لها

لانهااصلا مريضة نفسيا
الوزارةاضطرت لاخذاجراء لان الوضع تطلب ذلك

من عمان

kinzi said...

Hareega, I totally agree with you.

She did nothing more than any other teacher. The system supports this kind of behavior.

She should be corrected, but not be punished, as she was only doing what the system expected of her.

Unknown said...

I am a foreigner here, relatively new to Jordan (<2 years). I am one of those who was shocked by the treatment of the little boy. I was also one who tweeted it and posted it on my Facebook page, as well as sending the clip to Her Majesty, the Queen. Now I read your post and learn that pupils are allegedly beaten, tied with chains and that some children have actually died! I am not questioning the veracity of your statements, but if these things are happening on a regular basis, where is the outrage? Where are the parents of these children and why aren’t they doing something to stop it?
Because I am accustomed to the uncaring attitudes of the bureaucrats in the US, I’m not at all surprised by the attitudes of the principals and ministers. I also understand the overwhelming nature of the job of the teachers. None of these mitigates inattention by the parents. Principals, teachers and Ministry of Education personnel can be forced to “care” if the parents of these defenseless children stand up for the rights of their kids. The kids can’t do it; it is the job of the family to ensure a child can attend school without the fear of being bullied, humiliated, tortured and sexually abused by so-called educators.
The very idea that a restroom was shut down in the school at Madaba is a clear indication that the Ministry is well aware of the problems. That was the wrong approach to such a problem. The teacher or teachers who were guilty of abusing pupils should have been immediately and publicly punished. There is absolutely no excuse for that.
In the end, it is only the parents who can prevent any of this. Parents should be intimately involved with the education process of their kids. If the educators know that parents are checking up on them, ensuring the progress and safety of their kids the likelihood of abuse will plummet. When a child is brought into this world of uncertainty he should at least be assured that his parents will assume and maintain their responsibility toward him until he reaches adulthood. No higher responsibility is given us than to raise our kids in a way that they are safe and as free from fear as it is possible to be in this world in which we live.
There is lots of blame to go round in this scenario, but the ultimate blame lies with the parents who don’t know what is happening to their kids when they are in the care of the education system.

Anonymous said...

She was having fun as Karaki said in a statement. It was meant as a joke! If she condones these types of jokes where kids get traumatized, I am 100% sure she should end up in jail after a fair trial.

Raghda said...

The teacher should be held accountable, but should not become the scapegoat for a broken, corrupt and rotting educational system. She is accountable for her actions, but so is the system and its caretakers for allowing such behavior, and worse, to go on in Jordan's schools on a daily basis. It should also be held accountable for the fact that kids reach the 8th and 9th grade without learning how to read or write and for the dismal state of many of Jordan's schools.

We, as the citizens of the country, should also be held accountable for knowing that these things are taking place, for witnessing these acts, and worse and remaining quiet, for not camping outside the education ministry till things change.

yazan-haddadin said...

(At least that teacher was teaching that kid something other than that his country is giving up on him and unless his parents were rich and connected he didn't belong to this land he lived in anymore.)

Sorry but this didn't make ANY sense.

What's wrong with one case getting this attention and shedding the light on this national problem that u described?

yazan-haddadin said...

for following comments

Hareega said...

Jaraad... I completely agree that what she's done was wrong, and she deserves to be penalized for it, but I don't want her to, because that would close down the case and the issue of violence against kids.

Anonymous.... it's always banned to smoke in public in Amman. How is that going?

Living in Jordan wouldn't necessarily make me know things better, there are a lot of Ammanite who forget that they live in Jordan

Hareega said...

kinzi... exactly, she's just one of those encouraged to act similarily by the system

Ol' Big Jim.... there are several reasons for why beating school kids might pass as acceptable. First, violence is always considered a solution to any problem in Jordan. It's practised everywhere, inside houses, schools, college campuses, football stadiums, parliament sessions, so schools are no exception. Secondly, most kids in Jordan are beaten up by their parents, not everyone, but certainly the majority of kids are, so being "disciplined" by the school teacher using violence is not all frowned upon. Finally, a lot of problems do exist in public schools, from lack of teachers, to lack of heating systems, lack of books, kids leaving school early to beg on the street, so really there isn't enough time to deal with the problem of violence against kids.
The case of the child who actually died (I believe it was 2008) was taken seriously and there was an investigation about it, not sure about its result.

Hareega said...

Anonymous 2.... so she should go to jail because she taped it, and considered it a joke. It's sick but it's the national problem is not being addresses yet.

Raghda... ditto

Yazan-Haddadin... I told you what it makes sense, you won't convince anyone just by saying "it doesn't make sense" , tell me why not

the only way this minor incident can solve a national problem is if the King or Queen take some action to solve it. Otherwise, I have ZERO trust in the government or the Parliament to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Yazan: "What's wrong with one case getting this attention and shedding the light on this national problem that u described?". why not have the teacher be accountable/prosecuted?? Because other teachers are doing the same?? What kind of logic is that? Catch a drug dealer but let him go because there are other drug dealers out there that haven't been caught yet? The teacher needs to be disciplined and set as an example for a new educational system with higher standards.

London said...

yazan-haddadin - I think you just looked at one part of Hareega's argument. I have no doubt that no one - including Hareega - will disagree with you that "nothing's wrong with one case getting this much attention and shedding the light on this national problem", this is provided that the root cause is looked at rather than this incident in particular.
There are two things we can take from this clip as far as I'm concerned, first there's the teacher herself, and second there's the bigger picture of school beatings and abuse in general.
Hareega correctly chose to focus on the second issue since it makes a much stronger case. This doesn’t mean that the teacher must go unpunished but we all need to acknowledge that there are teachers whose actions are far worse and far more disgraceful, which leads me to think that punishing this teacher is not going to make the issue of abuse disappear.
The teacher's behaviour is just the symptom; the system that tolerates such behaviours is the root problem.
Problem is: I have no idea what the solution is, but there must be one.

Hareega said...

in addition to what London said, the events that followed the release of that tape do not suggest that Jordanians believe this is a national problem.

The reaction of the ministry of Education was that this was an isolated incident. They found the teacher, who is "the villain" here, tracked her down, and they will put her in jail or make her pay a fine, and probably won't let her teach again then brag about achieving something in front of the people.

Once the teacher is punished , people will feel good that a problem has been taken care of when this wasn't true.

Dealing with this incident as an isolated one will blind the people to the bigger national problem we are facing

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