Czech teachers complain of children becoming more aggressive

Czech teachers have long called for an increase in salaries. They claim that not only are they underpaid but that their job gets more demanding with each passing year, as their pupils grow more unruly and aggressive both in and outside the classroom. According to the Association of Primary School Teachers, nearly 90 percent of teachers now complain that children are increasingly difficult to manage. Dr. Petra Vrtbovská from the Prague Institute for Foster Care says that the primary blame for this unrestrained behaviour often lies with the parents:

“The parents who have got kids at school would now be in their 30s or 40s. These people were 10 or 20 years old in 1989 and their own childhood, adolescence and the period when people establish families, was a period of momentous changes. So these people spent a lot of time on their own development, on making money. As a result their children usually lack two very important elements of parenting: love and acceptance provided on regular terms, with clear boundaries. So what we see is kids being born to these people, having these needs, and parents who are not able to provide them with fulfilment.”

How is that reflected in schools?

“The trouble is that they don’t feel trust towards adults and they have got a lot of energy which is not regulated. This energy is manifested as either a strong aggression or a strong affection. So the children go to school and they act according to these strong energies that are not restricted in any way. And this is what’s been happening.”

Are teachers prepared to cope with that?

“It’s very difficult to be prepared. There is one good feature of the Czech system of education. We don’t have drop outs, our system doesn’t let children go, and I find this very important. At the same time it’s very demanding on teachers. The only recommendation is to have very clear-cut boundaries. But the school can never do this on its own. Teachers need to cooperate with parents.”