The Shmooze

Principal Gives Teachers A Time Out

By Nathan Jeffay

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There’s always something hilarious when teachers — and I write as the husband of a teacher — get a taste of their own medicine. Well, the local press in Ramat Gan, Israel, reports that teachers at the Ohel Shem High School have been told that they aren’t allowed in the staff room until they learn to behave themselves properly.

Principal Shmuel Keinan, a retired Israel Defense Forces brigadier general who takes an atypically (for Israel) hard-line attitude towards discipline, found cigarette butts in the staff room and concluded that teachers had been surreptitiously smoking. He locked the room and put a sign on the door declaring it out of bounds.

But just as layers respond to insults in type, i.e. by threatening legal action, so do teachers. Staff members told off the principal, saying that his behavior was unacceptable — that a school isn’t the army and he shouldn’t treat it as if it was. After the sneak-smoking teachers apologized (perhaps by writing “I must not smoke in the staff room” 100 times?), he agreed to open the staff room again.

Less amusingly and more disturbingly, another Israeli principal is in trouble with the Education Ministry for using a textbook that looks at the events of 1948 from both Jewish and Arab perspectives. The principal of the Shaar Hanegev high school in southern Israel “has been told to report next week to clarify with Education Ministry officials is school’s use of an unapproved textbook,” according to this report on AP.


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