Schools and Teachers

Just like today’s parents, teachers and schools are also very much conscious of the loss of authority in the educational system. The traditional authority of the teacher has been severely eroded, yet in today’s social climate it is neither desirable nor possible to recapture the authority of the past. In  traditional society children did what teachers told them since by definition, teachers had unquestionable authority.   The authoritative, distant often punitive teacher of yesteryear was replaced by a kinder, understanding and supportive teacher. Today we are at a crossroads; the more liberal approach to education has proven unsatisfactory and only a partial answer to children’s needs, while the authoritarian approach is no longer valid in a world characterized by greater transparency and a more critical relationship to authority.
It is in response to this conflict and the vacuum left in its wake that we found ourselves struggling with the question, how do we fill this void, where the traditional authority has been eroded, in a way that provides meaningful experiences of boundaries? How do we still influence our youth  but in a way that is valid in today’s culture and society.  It is from this crossroad that we have developed an alternative – the New Authority.
A school that operates based on the principles of the New Authority is characterized by the following traits: a) it provides safety and support for its students b) it determinately combats any displays of violence and bullying c) its staff is protected from any violent or humiliating behavior d) it creates an atmosphere of law and order e) it provides a feeling of belonging and involvement f) it is involved in recruiting support from parents, community groups and from the majority of students.
Our basic premise is that to create a safe school, we must first and foremost empower teachers to be able to set the rules of behavior in the classroom, hallways, yard and entrance to the school.
How do we empower teacher so that they can stand as a force against negative behavior in a way that is a socially acceptable and justified. In other words, how do we create a new authority, which gains its strength not from threats, punishments, unquestionable obedience, distance and fear- but rather, from presence, self-control and determined perseverance.