Real life has been keeping me from blogging, including two weeks of teacher training (during which the kids has no English apart from the homework I gave them - how are they supposed to take the subject seriously when teachers aren't replaced?).
Regular readers will remember how last December I set a new personal best for exclusions, detentions and lines. Today I set a record for fastest exclusion - two minutes before the lesson had even started. But I'd rather do something like that than end up like this poor sod, who is up in court for slapping one of his pupils.
For those of you who can't read French, it seems that the 11-12 year-old pupil insulted his teacher, who snapped and slapped him across the face. Even though he owned up straight away, and recognises he went too far, he spent 24 hours in custody and is up before the judges in March because the kid's father decided to sue. The teacher also admits to "slight" drinking problems; he tested positive for alcohol when arrested, but we don't know if he had a drink before or after the incident. Most commentators agree that it was wrong to hit the pupil, but the reaction is going too far. There's also a certain amount of insinuation that the fact that the father is a policeman has led to the case being taken more seriously by the authorities.
There's been a lot of talk in the staff room, and the general feeling among my colleagues is "there but for the grace of God go I". Though we'd all like to think we'd never hit one of our charges, everyone I've heard recognises that if they might do the same if pushed far enough. I've already seen one colleague reduced to tears (in the staff room afterwards, fortunately) and the general feeling is that while we don't want to bring back the cane and send them down the mines, some kids have a feeling of impunity which is only reinforced by a culture of rights with no corresponding culture of responsibility.
It's interesting that the Education Minister, without actually siding with the teacher, has said that he doesn't want the kid to go unpunished and has pointed out that teachers are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. Not that it makes it OK for us to slap the little sods, but who knows, maybe the kid will finally learn that when you insult people, you risk getting hit. If that means he avoids getting his head kicked in when he's old enough to go to bars, some good might come of it. But if he doesn't, he'll get no sympathy from me.
Edit - the teaching union snes have set up an online petition in support of the teacher concerned.