Many thanks to FouseSquawk for the translation:
Teacher: Swedish schools in free fall
In all the years I have had the benefit of teaching young people, I have felt that I have a task to fulfill. A child who learns to read, write, and count, discovers the world, and I have the possibility to open up the world for them. Today the world has unfortunately been opened up for Swedish school children in a more brutal way.
In this and thousands of other classrooms in Sweden, we have received newly-arrived children and young people. Children and young people who cannot read, write or count. These children and young people are placed in classes with Swedish pupils who can read, write and count.
Of course, I as teacher have to prioritize and help the newly-arrived to learn the language. Many are completely illiterate and have never had the possibility of going to school. Anyone can figure out that this affects the Swedish pupils who don’t get my help and knowledge to develop their education. Unfortunately, Swedish parents do not understand that this affects their children.
There are some newly-arrived young people who struggle and invest everything to be able to learn and go further with education, and may become doctors, lawyers or programmers. To teach these ambitious newly-arrived young people is a joy for me as teacher and educator.
Then there is a large mass of the newly-arrived. The ones who ignore school, who ignore the teaching, who are unpleasant and rude. Some are even threatening. From feeling happy when I go to my work, now I go with pain in my stomach.
I know I will be called a “damned whore”, “damned pussy”, and I know I will hear, “You don’t decide for me.” There will be mess and noise in the classroom, the hallways, the schoolyard and the dining room. Changing rooms where classes change for physical education classes will, as usual, be places where girls don’t dare change since boys will show up and sneakily photograph the girls.
Showering is not on the world map for girls and even for some boys in school. It is enough that one or two pupils refuse to follow the instruction and scream “shut up” at me every time I am going to say something; thus is the lesson destroyed for 28 other pupils who want to learn something.
When I call parents in for a conversation, I hear that I don’t have the right to tell their children off, that I should be careful so that I won’t be reported to the principal or school inspectors. They know where my family and I live, what car I drive, and I know that the risk is great that my car will get scratched or destroyed in some other way. I know that certain pupils threaten other pupils, but I don’t dare get in the middle because I risk being beaten.
I know that it is no use to talk to my boss, who is the principal, because I will hear that we teachers are required to accept these newly-arrived and that we cannot treat any pupil differently by sending the pupil out of the classroom. The National School Agency has said that we will include pupils; this has gone so far that many principals completely refuse to remove pupils from the classroom.
Now that the national tests are starting in the spring, I have sadly sat and corrected my classes’ tests and see the results collapse. This, the principal says, he wants to change — by “correcting positively”. This means, for example, that if the student answers incorrectly, one can think that this is just a careless mistake or “the person in question actually meant it this way, so it is almost right.” I have been present when the correcting teacher went into the classroom and asked the pupil what he really meant, and you can correct (the error) by thinking that the student does not have the words to explain the answer in Swedish.
The principal also said that unauthorized teachers will correct the national tests. Soon the spring term will end and the grades will be recorded, and these grades will also be recorded by unauthorized teachers and the principal signs off on them, which he has the right to do.
If I, as a teacher, believe that a pupil has not been active in the lessons nor shown his knowledge, but should receive an F grade, then I know the parents will nag and threaten me. But the principal will also see to it that the pupil gets an E, or better, an A.
For most of the newly-arrived parents, there is only an A for their child. For one to even suggest that their child should get anything else generates complaints and harassment. The politicians who hold municipal office state that, as a teacher, you should go to your immediate supervisor if you are threatened or harassed. But nothing is done.
In the worst case, one may be referred to make a work environment report, and in the case of threats and harassment between pupils, then one should make an incident report. These incident reports may not contain anything allegedly “racist”. For example, one may write, “student A called me a whore and a pussy” — but not that he did it in Arabic. Then it becomes clear that it is a newly-arrived pupil who said this.
If I, as a teacher, write an incident report, then it goes to the principal, who fixes it, so that when it goes to the municipality, it is beautified. The principals are frightened of having a bad reputation. A bad reputation means that parents don’t put their children in the school, and that leads to no funding. The schools depend on funding, and therefore, they do everything to look between the fingers of abuse, threats and harassment.
In one school there was a pupil who choked and beat another student so badly that he ended up in the hospital with a concussion. The police report was made and the student was terminated — we thought. On Monday the following week, the pupil came to school and was just as threatening as before. The effort the principal made was that he hired a 19-year-old boy as a resource for the pupil.
Now it has been decided that 9,000 newcomers will be able to go to high school, and they must finish school to be able to stay. As a result, we teachers now have the power, in the eyes of the students, to decide whether they can stay in Sweden. They demand their grades be approved, threaten, and harass. They ignore attendance at the lessons and then, when they risk more than 20% absence, they come up with various excuses, such as they don’t feel well, the support money had not come for SL [bus/metro] tickets, or something else. They want people to help them with housing applications, CSN [student loan agency] support payments during the homework hours. I have less and less time to be a teacher and to teach.
Anyone can deduce that this affects Swedish pupils who don’t get my help and knowledge to develop their education. But unfortunately Swedish parents don’t understand that this affects their children also.
There is much more to say, but the conclusion based on my long experience is that Swedish schools are in free fall, and it will get worse.
— Frustrated teacher
The writer has worked as a teacher since the 1990s in various schools in the Stockholm District at all levels, elementary schools, secondary school and adult education, and has taught Swedish children, young people, and newly-arrived (immigrants).