Friday, July 27, 2007

I’m a teacher, hear me out

Of late, there is not a day that goes by without teachers being mentioned in the daily news. If you have followed the current events in Malaysia, you will definitely know what I’m talking about. But for those who are away from home or not a Malaysian, let me enlighten you. Teachers are making headlines for reasons such as below. Let these news clippings from the local dailies speak for themselves.

School head suspended for allegedly slapping 22 pupils
KOTA KINABALU: A primary school principal here was suspended with full pay for two months following complaints that she slapped 22 Year Four pupils for failing to turn in their homework.
via The Star Online

Student (slapped by teacher) may lose his hearing
Penampang : A Form One student who was allegedly slapped by a female teacher on Friday may lose his hearing on the left ear forever.
via Daily Express

These are just a few of the clippings that I found, but if you have time to scour the dailies you can indeed find more.

When parents send their children to school, they expect their children to be taught and nurtured by teachers and possibly along the way pick up good moral values from school. The last thing they expect is their children to be slapped or punched or anything of the sort by the very people who are supposed to be looking after them.

Being one in the teaching line and having to face hundreds of students each day, I feel that one should exercise the utmost restraint when dealing with school children. Patience and tolerance are prerequisites, if one wishes to survive in the teaching world. This is especially important if one is teaching in a primary or secondary school. Without these qualities one can easily succumb to the pressures at the workplace and end up doing harm not only to the students but to one’s career as well.

I often hear people say that those who end up as teachers are those who have failed to secure any other jobs. I don’t know about that, but I do know that there are many who choose teaching as their vocation and do so because they feel they can be good if not great teachers. One who inspires the minds of the young ones to lead less ordinary lives. Perhaps in the light of these events, we should, as a friend would put it...pause to reflect...and ask ourselves where do we go from here? Aside from teachers adhering to the clear guidelines set by the Minstry on what is deemed as acceptable forms of punishments, I feel that parents should play a more active role in bringing up their children. You’d be surprised that many parents have no inkling whatsoever on what their children are up to when they are busy at work, the people they consort with etc etc. Some children are so good at masking their true selves, playing both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Perhaps they are little angels at home. But sometimes these kids can be very different when at school, with the way they behave and the foul language used. And in many instances it is the teachers who bear the heavy responsibility of disciplining these kids.

Another thing to look at is the Malaysian education system’s emphasis on academic excellence. The way things are, we are trying to produce little professors. But children are not all academically inclined and why should they? There are students who find school a bore as they feel that the syllabus has no relevance to their lives. And when they are bored or find the lessons difficult to follow, these children may resort to mischief and cause discipline problems at school. I feel, we should make an effort to cater to the needs of such students i.e. vocational subjects should be made part of the mainstream schools. Instead of just Science and Arts, there should also be a vocational stream in all schools. Many of these kids may not be good in their studies but they’re good in other things. If we can tap this talent we will be helping them in the long run, by giving them something that they can actually do, skills that can be used after leaving school. And when students see the relevance of what they can be taught at school to their future needs, then perhaps they will find school / education indispensable. With some luck they’ll behave and appreciate what schools have to offer.

Teachers are in schools to help mould the future generations and if there is a need to punish, it pays to exercise good judgement. After all, we are not in schools to become punishers and the “teaching profession is not peopled by psychotic tyrants” ( I hope!) I’m optimistic that things will get better.


D said...

Come on, gurl.. you're one great teacher and you know that. We can't change the world (though that would be wonderful!) so we do whatever we can. It's no easy job. The system doesn't help either. Hold on to your reign!! You're doing fine.

Anonymous said...

I'd say let us start a fight back against all those nasty students. Let go and paint ball their houses! Scratch their mamas n papas vehicles! Way to go Teach!

Opressed Ex Teacher

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