I heard on the news today the somewhat astounding story that, in a school in Glasgow, parents have been banned from talking to teachers. Apparently teachers were being subjected to aggression which made them extremely stressed. Parents have therefore been provided with areas in the school playground to congregate in whilst waiting for their children to emerge. Whichever way you look at this particular story, there's a problem. It's either an issue that parents have such a sense of entitlement that they feel they can go into a school and give teachers mouthfuls of abuse based on, one assumes, a fairy limited grasp of what goes on inside said school, or it's an issue that the teachers themselves are so lily-livered that they can't deal with a bit of whinging at the end of the day without going off sick with stress because they work in an industry which is mollycoddling its employees. Are these teachers genuinely feeling physically threatened or are they just unable or unwilling to stop themselves from taking these things too personally?
The word stress gets bandied about all the time these days. All jobs are stressful. Life is hideously stressful, but perhaps people's ability to deal with stress at work is directly disproportionate to how indulgent a company is when it comes to dealing with the well-being of its staff. Is it fair to suggest that more employees will claim to be stressed if stress is a legitimate way of getting signed off work?
Sometimes I wonder whether stress is used as an excuse by people who simply think their job is too mind-numbingly boring to continue. Or perhaps by people who are aware that they're simply not very good at their jobs. I'm being unfair. Genuine stress is awful. God knows I went through enough of it whilst working on Beyond the Fence.
The truth of the matter in the case of this school is probably that there's so little morale in teaching at the moment that the head teacher simply said "sod this for a game of soldiers, we're not paid enough to deal with this crap." There comes a point when someone just gets bored of a sort of low-grade abuse. Who knows? It's certainly a rather surprising story!