Sunday Sound Off: Talk to Teens

I’d like you to cast your minds back to your school days and to the teachers who made a lasting impression on you, the ones you can think back to and say ‘they cast a positive glow on my schooling’. I bet they weren’t the teaching automatons who stuck rigidly to the curriculum, never wavered in their stern approach and who never gave you a glimpse into their human side. If you’re anything like me they were the teachers who could have a joke, occasionally swore and admitted to having a social life. They were also the teachers that had swathes of teens queuing up to talk to them whenever they had problems precisely because they were the ones who occasionally swore, who understood teens and who wouldn’t judge.

That’s what makes it all the more disgusting that the Brentwood and Billericay Gazette decided to take down Charlotte Berry in a stunning display of stalkerish non story generating journalism. For those not in the know, Charlotte Berry is an assistant head teacher in Billericay who has come under fire for tweets from her personal account @talktoteens (now deleted). This is the same paper that has in the past praised her for her work with local teens in getting them engaged in their education and furthering their aspirations.

I think it’s utterly shit that the paper have done this to her but I also think that a large proportion of the people who have been commenting on the story and raging about the fact that they don’t want someone who uses such language around their children are incredibly naive. If she was a primary school teacher then of course it would be completely out of order but if you think your child can make it through time at secondary school without hearing far far worse things than have come out of her mouth then you’re an idiot. In fact they could probably teach her a thing or two.

The paper have managed to make a non issue about a Twitter account for which the school have received no complaints into a story in the national press. Charlotte Berry is a highly respected and liked teacher so why the paper that had previously been full of praise for her decided to seek out her account in order to bring her down is a mystery. I’m glad to see that the school are standing by her and hope that she can bounce back from this and get back to doing what she does best, talking to teens.


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