When I heard the first time in May 2020 that a student was asked by his teacher to cover his eyes during an online oral check, so that he couldn’t read notes, I couldn’t believe that such a request was real. We were in the middle of a terrible pandemic that was (and is) affecting not only the physical health of many people, but the mental and emotional confidence of our youngsters. What does it mean to ask a student to cover the eyes to avoid cheating? Is this a single case? Or how often does it happen?
In April 2021 another case was revealed as a girl in a school in Italy was asked to do the same!
We should pay a deep attention to those events however rare or often they happen.
The picture of a pupil with covered eyes to avoid reading notes is a symbol of deep mistrust which is exactly the opposite of what should flow between teachers and pupils.
I believe that those cases are very limited and do not reflect the aptitude and professional standards of the large majority of teachers. Still, those behaviours should be discussed and resolved for the benefit of children and also to help certain teachers review their way of looking at young people.
Teachers and students are in fact not opponents who have to be in a permanent war to one other or try to escape one other. Quite the opposite: what should run between teachers and pupils is a lively stream of reciprocal understanding, warm empathy and even mutual support. Such a stream of trust and empathy should be alive in every moment of teaching and learning.
The relation between teachers and students is not hanging on legislation or rules: it’s a matter of ethics and responsibility between human beings who respect and help one other, especially in a difficult, challenging time as the present.
Probably those teachers who mistrusted their pupils, have regretted what they did, but rather than searching for faulty people, we should search for faulty behaviours and help one other move on to a more human environment in education.
Exploring and improving the human connections between teachers, pupils and parents are keys for a good development of the daily practice and for the best educational achievements.