The story: "In all the years I had the privilege of teaching young people, I felt that I have a task to fill. A child who learns to read, write and count discovers the world and I have the opportunity to open up that world for them. Today, the world has unfortunately opened up for the Swedish schoolchildren in a more brutal way.
In mine and in thousands of other classrooms in Sweden, we have received newly arrived immigrant children and young people, people who cannot read, write or count. They are placed in classes with Swedish students who can read, write, and count.
Of course, as a teacher, I must prioritize helping the newly arrived so that they learn the language. Many are totally illiterate and never had an opportunity to go to school. You can figure out how this affects the Swedish students who do not get my help and knowledge to develop their education. Unfortunately, Swedish parents do not understand this.
There are some newly arrived young people who struggle and invest everything to be able to learn and move on with the education and perhaps become a doctor, a lawyer or a computer programmer. Teaching these people is a joy for me as a teacher and educator.
Then there is the large mass of those who ignore school, the teaching, and are unpleasant and rude, some even threatening. As I used to feel joy when going to work, I now suffer a stomach ache.
I know that I will be called "fucking whore", "fucking pussy" and I know that I will hear "you do not decide about me". There will be noise and quarrel in classrooms, corridors, school gardens and the dining room. The changing rooms where the class will change to the sports lesson will, as usual, mean that the girls do not dare to change because the guys will pop up and sneak film and photograph the girls.
The girls and part of the boys don’t use the showers at school. When one or two students refuse to follow the teaching and tell me to shut up every time I say something, the teaching is disturbed for 28 other students who want to learn something.
When I call the parents to talk, I get to hear that I do not have the right to tell their children what to do or that they will report me to the principal and the school inspector. They know where I and my family live, the car I drive. I know the risk is great that my car gets scratched or destroyed in some other way. I know that some students threaten other students but I dare not go between them because then I risk being beaten.
I know that it is not an idea to talk to my boss who is the principal, because then I will hear that we teachers are obliged to receive these newly arrived and that we cannot differentiate anyone by sending out from the classroom. The National Agency for Education has said that we should include students; this has gone so far that many principals completely refuse to reject students from the classrooms.
Now in the spring, as the national tests are starting, I sit down with sadness to check my classes' papers and seeing the poor results. The principal wants a change - by "correcting positively". This means, for example, that if the student answers wrong then one can think it as an misphrasing error or "the person in question probably meant this so it almost becomes right". I have seen when the teacher has asked the student what he really meant and correcting it when thinking that the student does not have the words to explain it in Swedish.
The headmaster has also ensured that there are unqualified teachers to check the national test papers. These papers checked by unqualified teachers are then signed by the headmaster.
If I, as a teacher, think that a student has not been active in the lessons and shown his / her knowledge but should get the grade F, then I know that parents will nag and threaten me. But also the principal will ensure that the student gets E, or preferably A.
For most newly arrived parents, there is only A for their children. To even suggest that their children would get something else raises angry notes and harassment. The politicians who sit in the municipalities claim that as a teacher, we should go to our immediate superior if threatened or harassed. But after that nothing is done.
One can be advised in the worst case to make a work environment report and when it comes to threats and harassment between students, one should make an incident report. These incident reports must not contain any alleged "racism". For example, you can write "the student called me a whore and a pussy"- but not that he did it in Arabic.
If I as a teacher write an incident report then it goes to the headmaster who fixes it so that when it goes on to the municipality it is embellished. The principals are terrified of bad reputation. Bad reputation means that parents do not put their children in school and then there will be no school money. The schools live on school money and therefore everything is done to look at the abuse, threats and harassment between fingers.
There was a student in one school who abused another student so badly that he ended up in the hospital with concussion. The police report was established and the pupil was suspended - we thought. The Monday week after, the student came to school and was as threatening as before. The effort the principal had made was that he hired a 19-year-old boy as an aid for the student.
It has now been decided that 9,000 newly arrived will be allowed to go to high school and they must pass the school to stay. This resulted in us teachers now in the students' eyes having the power to decide if they should stay in Sweden. They require approved grades, threaten and harass. They ignore the attendance at the lessons and then they come when they risk more than 20% absence with different explanations such as that they feel bad, the grant had not come or something else. They want the lessons to help them with applications for housing allowance, social welfare and support payments. Less and less time I can be a teacher and teach.
Anyone can figure out that this affects the Swedish students who do not get my help and knowledge to develop their education. But unfortunately, Swedish parents do not understand that this affects their children as well.
There is much more to say, but the conclusion of my long experience is that the Swedish school is in a free fall, and things will get ever worse."
A frustrated teacher
The writer has worked as a teacher since the 1990s in various schools in Stockholm County at all levels; elementary school, high school and adult education and has taught Swedish children, young people and newly arrived immigrants.