Here is a post which sexologist Dr. Nicholas Briffa wrote in lieu of the assault on an MCAST lecturer by a student:

“Qiegħed jiċċirkola vidjo ta’ argument jaħraq bejn student u għalliem. Mhux se nerġa’ naqsam dan il-filmat għax nemmen li dak il-vidjo qatt ma kellu jitla’ onlajn speċjalment jekk ittieħed mingħajr kunsens tan-nies involuti. Mhux se nikkummenta fuq dan l-inċident għax nifhem li l-awtoritajiet qegħdin jinvestigaw u anke għax jiena l-istorja ma nafiex. Wara kollox in-nies involuti kollha għandhom familja. B’hekk importanti li ninfatmu minn kummenti personali u nkunu sensittivi.

Madankollu nammetti li ġiegħelni naħseb ħafna. Jiena u nżur l-iskejjel meta nkun mistieden mit-tmexxija tal-iskejjel qed nirrealizza kemm ix-xogħol ta’ għalliem sar iebes – adoloxxenti u tfal li ma jirrispettawx lill-awtoritajiet, ħiliet differenti ħafna fl-istess klassi, sfondi soċjo-familjari kumplikati, deadlines u esiġenzi relatati mal-curriculum u ħafna affarjiet oħra. Kontinwament niltaqa’ ma’ għalliema li għejjew u li qegħdin jagħżlu li jħallu l-professjoni. Għalliema li jgħidulek li kultant saret impossibli tgħallem sewwa. Din jiena nesperjenzaha wkoll meta nkun mistieden inkellem speċifikament lill-istudenti dwar temi relatati mas-sesswalità u s-saħħa mentali.

L-adolexxenti tal-lum huma mera tas-soċjetà ta’ għada. Dak li niżirgħu u nsaqqu se jħalli l-frott.

X’nifhmu bil-kelma dixxiplina?

Aħna l-ġenituri qegħdin niġbdu l-istess ħabel tal-iskola?

Bħala pajjiż x’qegħdin nagħmlu biex inkunu ta’ sostenn għall-għalliema u biex inħajjru iżjed nies jidħlu fil-mestier?

Xi sforzi qegħdin nagħmlu biex nieħdu ħsieb is-saħħa mentali tal-għalliema tagħna?

Għaliex u x’nistgħu nagħmlu bħala sistema edukattiva biex naffrontaw iż-żieda drastika fil-problemi ta’ saħħa mentali fl-adoloxxenti?

Il-vjolenza qatt ma hija aċċettabbli, fl-ebda ċirkostanza jagħmilha min jagħmilha – raġel, mara, għalliem, Pulizija, studenti, ħaddiema, superjuri eċċ. Tant ieħor mhux aċċettabbli il-kliem ħażin. U dan mhux għax dojoq, skruplużi jew mimlijin meraq! Imma għax propja hekk titlob l-etika, l-edukazzjoni u r-responsabbiltà ċivika.

Il-professjoni ta’ għalliem ġewwa Malta għandha tkun ugwali daqs professjonijiet oħrajn jew bħal tal-kumplament tal-pajjiżi tal-Unjoni Ewropea. Nistaqsi – lil hinn mill-‘political discourse’ – il-Gvern x’qiegħed jagħmel dwar dan?

Hemm bżonn li tittieħed azzjoni u mhux kliem sabiħ biss! Niftakru li grazzi għall-għalliema, tinbet kull professjoni oħra!

Grazzi lill-għalliema kollha tax-xogħol li tagħmlu ma’ uliedna. Napprezzaw.”

[A video of a heated argument between a student and a teacher is circulating. I will not share this video again because I believe that that video should never have been uploaded online especially if it was taken without consent of the people involved. I will not comment on this incident because I understand that the authorities are investigating and also because I do not know the story. After all the people involved all have family. Thus it is important to wean ourselves from personal comments and be sensitive. However I admit it made me think a lot. I visit schools when I am invited by the school management and I am realizing how hard the work of a teacher has become – teenagers and children who do not respect the authorities, very different skills in the same class, complicated socio-familial backgrounds , deadlines and requirements related to the curriculum and many other matters. I constantly meet teachers who are tired and who are choosing to leave the profession. Teachers who tell you that sometimes it has become impossible to teach properly. I also experience this when I am invited to speak specifically to students about themes related to sexuality and mental health. Today’s teenagers are a mirror of tomorrow’s society. What we sow and water will bear fruit. What do we mean by the word discipline? Are we parents pulling the same rope as the school? As a country, what are we doing to support teachers and to encourage more people to enter the profession? What efforts are we making to take care of the mental health of our teachers? Why and what can we do as an educational system to face the drastic increase in mental health problems in teenagers? Violence is never acceptable, under no circumstances whoever does it – man, woman, teacher, Police, students, workers, superiors etc. So many other unacceptable bad words. And this is not because they are narrow, scrupulous or full of juice! But because that is exactly what ethics, education and civic responsibility demand. The teaching profession in Malta should be equal to other professions or to the rest of the countries of the European Union. I wonder – beyond the “political discourse” – what is the Government doing about this? There is a need to take action and not just nice words! We remember that thanks to the teachers, every other profession sprouts! Thank you to all the teachers for the work you do with our children. We appreciate it.]

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