Flashback

How My Class Faced Problems Concerning the School Staff

September 6, 2018 By
Photograph of students in a classroom with open laptops for How My Class Faced Problems Concerning the School Staff

Student voice has become an increasingly popular topic in schools over the last few years. The concept is excellent: students sharing their thoughts and ideas with the staff, creating a friendlier and better school environment for their peers. The notion of teachers and students working together to improve the learning experience is very refreshing.

Extracurricular activities like student councils and prefects help us learn leadership skills. Having student voice helps turn students into the next line of innovative thinkers, something that every school should try to achieve.

Student voice should not be a facade. I am certain there are many schools where the concept only exists on the surface, as a way to show the general public of how inclusive the school board is. While a lot of schools are supportive of the younger generation (as they should be), my last school wasn’t. A good portion of the staff did not seem to care about what students had to say. Simple suggestions like shortening the announcements and opting out of an event were ignored and even looked down upon. The lack of student voice got so out of hand that the student council became a joke; its members weren’t allowed to take charge of anything that happened at school.

It wasn’t always like this. My class soon realized the new staff was to blame, particularly the new principal. For a reason I never got the chance to find out, the principal couldn’t stand people opposing her, students and teachers alike.

We first noticed this when we talked to her about the announcements. They were taking around 10 minutes of our daily morning and afternoon time, and they mostly consisted of repetitive reminders. When some students approached her to discuss the topic, they were surprised to see how irritated she became, as though she couldn’t believe the students had the nerve to tell her their ideas. It took the student body a long time to get her to listen and it was mainly because of her stubbornness. Mind you, we did make progress in making the school a better place, it just took us the whole year to make a significant change.

My class was lucky to have a teacher that recognized the change in how the school was being run. They were willing to spend class time talking about the problems we were facing. With our teacher’s help, my class realized confronting the staff in an approachable manner was the best way to get results.

Simply going to the office and having a face-to-face conversation with the principal seemed intimidating at first. She hadn’t really warmed up to us and we had to talk to her several times before any changes were made. We were all quite vocal about the problems at our school, and I’m sure we all talked to the principal and other members of the staff at least once during the school year. We also tried other methods like writing letters and even boycotting some school events, but we always went back to having conversations with the staff.

It didn’t always work out. There were some students in my class that liked the spotlight more than others, and for all the wrong reasons. There were times when these students made the whole class lose their credibility. We had arguments with each other, which was bound to happen in a situation like this. In the end though, our goal always united us together: to change the school for the better.

Despite the year being our last at school, my class knew that if we didn’t speak up, the behaviour of the staff would remain the same. I’d like to think our actions affected the school in a positive way, and I hope that the principal has realized how important it is to let students have a say in matters that impact them.

I suppose my experience helped me realize how unfair life can be. There will be times in our lives where people don’t listen to us. There will be times when authority isn’t always given to the right person. One can complain as much as they want, but complaining won’t bring forth change. What you decide to do about it and how you approach the situation is what matters.

We can’t always fight for everything that bothers us, so I will tell you what my teacher told my class: choose your battles wisely. I know it’s tough and yes, it can become frustrating, but stick through with the more important battles and results will follow. Cheesy? Sure. True? Absolutely.



About the Author

Tooba Rahim: Tooba Rahim is a high-school student. She loves anything that tells a good story, whether it be a book, a song, or a museum. In her free time, Tooba likes to write her own stories. She can also be found analyzing classic films and practicing her French horn.