Why do teachers punish for stupid reasons

Punishment in class: what is allowed?

Your child goes to school to learn something. In order for this to be possible without disruption, penalties are sometimes necessary if the course of the lesson is disrupted, other children are annoyed or things are broken. For example, a couple of my students recently had to spend the break after their art lesson in the classroom cleaning because, even after repeated requests from me, they were not ready to protect the table and floor from dripping paint with newspaper.

Your child's teacher should never arbitrarily apply a punishment

A penalty must ...

  • related to the misconduct. Your child is given additional homework because they are often too late and miss classes.
  • be appropriate. Your child is in detention for repeatedly forgetting to do their homework (but not the first time)
  • to be announced. "Anyone who forgets the math book three times has to write detention!"
  • imposed immediately after the incident. Your child will be put away for whispering.
  • have a purpose. Your child has to write an apology letter to the child who annoyed them instead of dull 30 times "I do not annoy others" on paper.

What catalog of measures is available to your child's teacher?

The school laws of the individual federal states regulate exactly what a teacher can and cannot do. There are some deviations (e.g. in Baden-Württemberg detention for up to four hours is allowed, in Brandenburg only one hour, in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Rhineland-Palatinate it is completely forbidden), but the contents are essentially the same.

So the teacher can ...

... order your child for detention. You must be informed in advance of the time and give your consent.

... give your child extra homework.

… Take things away from your child for the duration of the school day that they have been messing with (e.g. the cell phone, the pencil).

... give your child detention.

... move your child to a different place in the classroom, for example because it was too loud.

... enter your child in the class register.

... have your child repaired any damage (e.g. clean the wall it has smeared).

... send you a reprimand (because of truancy, permanent disruption, etc.).

... move your child to the parallel class (the class conference and the school management have to be involved for this).

... exclude your child from school events (e.g. class excursion).

... threaten your child with banning them from classes for up to four weeks (in Lower Saxony even up to three months) or expelling them from school (the class conference and the school management have to be involved for this).

In these cases you should definitely intervene

In the school the teacher is in charge. However, you shouldn't put up with everything! Contact your child's teacher immediately if your child reports any of the following incidents. There is clear misconduct here:

  • Your child was beaten by a teacher.
  • Your child's teacher abused and insulted your child with cynical or sarcastic expressions (“You are stupid as bread!”, “What will become of you?”).
  • A collective punishment has been imposed on your child's class, e.g. B. a trip was canceled because two children did not behave properly.
  • Your child was shown in which the teacher named mistakes from his poor class work or had to do it before every squat in physical education class.
  • Your child's teacher has thrown their keychain or chalk to startle your chattering child.
  • Your child had to mechanically copy a word or text hundreds of times.
  • The teacher pulled in your child's cell phone and / or read its contents for more than a day at school.
  • Your child had to go outside (with the classroom door open or with the handle pressed down, it is allowed in Baden-Württemberg, for example).
  • Your child was detained without your consent.
  • The teacher read aloud a piece of paper that was passed between your child and another child.
  • Your child had to stand in the corner.
  • The teacher lets the class write a test unannounced as a punishment for disruptive behavior, for example.
  • Your child had to pay money into the class fund because, for example, they tipped their chair.

My advice!

If your child's teacher reacts negatively to your objection, you should consult the parent representatives of the class. Perhaps you have already received complaints from other parents? Then a conversation with the school management would be useful. Your child's teacher should be accountable. In a further step, an administrative complaint could then be made.