Reading Toxic Childhood produced some kind of epiphany for me. It has clarified so many of the questions I have had in my head not only about teaching but also how I view the UK and modern industrialised soceities.
It tells us why teaching is hard and getting harder. And that is surprisingly freeing. Our failures in the class room are not because we teachers are lazy or inadequate there are actually powerful forces at work in soceity that make it a difficult – but not an impossible job.
We’ve always worried and moaned about previous generations and its difficult to distinguish the messiness of forming young minds with systematic change in soceity.
Once we allow ourselves to realise we CANNOT actually hold back the tide on our own, we can look to solutions that allow us to group together to solve the problem. And a book like this is a good start. What a secondary school teacher (me) should actually do is not really the subject of the book. Nor what school leaders should do, but I do feel that they should read it.
One small help would be to give parenting skills classes for 16 year olds. I think this could be easily achieved. But this is a small part of the solutions that Sue Palmer offers. Ideally initiatives should come from the parents. But if they do come to schools and say help us? Schools need to be ready.