Quote Today

    If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn't. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.
    - Oscar Wilde

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    It's Black or It's White Share


    Tricky being a teacher in a school. No, no, it's not about the amount of marking or teaching periods, neither is it about the administration work that gets pounded on you every day.

    Many a teacher, I am sure feels the same way. Maybe except for those teachers who can do no wrong and believes rules and regulations are king (eventhough it actually should be).

    I have a relationship - a love-hate relationship , to be specific with none other than DISCIPLINE.

    "Every teacher is a discipline teacher," we were told by our principal. I nodded. Surely it meant I agree.

    But four months into the life of a teacher, I have kids who wore colored socks and shoes, had bangles and rings, and asked for permissions to go out of class to have a drink during class every 5 minutes.

    Mind you, I let these kids do these things. But does that mean I'm a bad teacher? It doesn't, in my book.

    I mean, as long as they do the work I set for them, as long as they listen to me while I'm teaching, as long as they don't treat me as if I'm their friend but as their teacher, and as long as they come to school every day to learn at least something, I'm fine with that.

    I'm sure wearing colored socks to school won't make my kids suddenly don't know how to learn, as it is with wearing rings from boyfriends/girlfriends would mean that they stare and daydream about their loved ones all the time (they won't be able to in my class, anyways). I may get frustrated with them sometimes, but I still believe these kids are generally good people.

    However, there are the odd days when I see students with their shirts tucked-out, or when they popped by the canteen during class periods and moreover when I see a cigarette butt between their fingers and puffing in and out like they're fresh air, I get irked and I put on my stern face and stop by to "say hello".

    When they get the "message", then it's fine - I'm glad they've still got brains capable enough to comply. But when my nudges fall on deaf ears, oh so help me God!

    You might argue students smoking and students wearing colored socks is a case of relative judgment.

    But the whole idea of maintaining discipline is to carry it out when needs be and be consistent. If you're going to punish a kid who was caught smoking, surely you'll need to punish a kid who's caught wearing colored socks.

    Rules are rules. It's either black or it's white - as the late MJ sang. There are no greys.

    So the conflict is this - there are days when discipline is king and there are days when discipline is trivial. Am I still a bad teacher?

    All I'm saying, I like inconsistencies or compromises because it leaves us teachers with a little "freedom" to sometimes "break a rule or two". It isn't uncommon to see teachers with a little color in their hair, neither is it uncommon to see teachers arriving too late and leaving too early, nor is it uncommon to see (female) teachers wearing skirts that are shorter than short.

    At the end of the day, when I wrap up my lesson, collect the exercise books, say my goodbyes to the kids, leave my blue and red pens on my desk, and get into my car to go home, a pair of colored socks or a packet of cigarettes "stays" in school, all ready to be disputed over the next day, all over again.


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