terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Final Words

OK, one or two comments before I put the whole sorry episode of the 'slapping' incident behind me. These were in today's Straits Times Forum Pages:


I read with interest the report on why a student's godsister, Mrs Tan, reported the Nan Chiau High principal. Mrs Tan claims to have been 'led by her own morals and integrity' as a teacher. But she failed to discipline her own godsister, who broke school rules.



I couldn't have said it better. Only, allow me to clarify some misconceptions (since ST is still being indiscriminate about their reporting). Mrs Tan, despite reports to the contrary, is not a teacher. She 'teaches' at a private school. That's why she feels the need to come from a moral high horse. Or for that matter, that's why she can comment from a position that reflects her 'own morals and integrity', whatever the hell that may be (but I guess it's a position that condones lying, breaking rules and then being smug about it).

You know what? Take care of your own house first. Stupid, self-righteous bitch.


I am perturbed after reading MOE's response to the incident. Its hastiness in resolving the issue in black-and-white terms is simplistic or, worse, apathetic.

MOE has given the public an impression that it is inflexible and incapable of handling such incidents.

Contrary to its belief, principals and teachers' authority in maintaining discipline has been adversely affected with the acceptance of the principal's resignation.



This reader's taken the very words from out of my mouth. So much for trying to get our students to be willing to take risks and make mistakes.

Strike one. Yer out!

This whole situation shows clearly how things with the teaching profession have deteriorated from the time when I was a student. And it wasn't all that long ago.

I believe it boils down to one thing: the lack of trust. We don't trust our teachers anymore.

This, despite:

1. Teachers spend more time with the children than do some parents. Yes. So, parents, guess who would know your kid better?

2. Teachers know what they're doing. Gasp! Shock! Most parents treat us like the second cousins who married their siblings. And their kids, of course, model their behaviour after them.

3. Teachers who have to teach your kid more than just Mathematics and Science but who are seen as 'lesser' beings in this society because we don't earn as much as lawyers, doctors or engineers; because, hey, "those who can't, teach", right? Fuck you, I'd like to see where the lawyers, doctors and engineers of the world would come from if not for us lesser beings. Probably right about the same place where you store your head -- where the sun doesn't often shine.

I know I can't speak for the fairweather teachers out there (those who joined up because of the poor economy) or the ones with the wet dicks, but I'd like to believe that every one of us joined this profession because we felt that we could make a difference or that it was something worth waking up every morning for. We see bratty kids wandering Orchard Road and we wonder what they could have been like with the correct (not 'proper', not 'that which follows the rules') guidance. We've been told to customise the way we teach, why not customise the way we deal with the brats? Some require nothing more than a chiding, others deserve the full measure of the rod. This girl who turned up late at the Principal's office* for a disciplinary problem clearly falls in the realm of the latter.

* (Hell, if I remember MOE guidelines, to have reached the stage where the girl has to see the Principal -- not the form teacher, not the Discipline Master/ Mistress -- already suggests the seriousness of her offence. And she turned up late? And lied?!)

It used to be if we fucked up in school, we'd take the punishment and then go home and keep our pie holes shut, because complaining to our parents usually meant we'd get a double dose of the punishment. And when we went home, we prayed that our teachers wouldn't call and then tell our parents what had happened, because that's when the shit would really hit the fan: first, the fuck-up, then the 'not telling our parents we'd fucked up'.

And we knew our teachers were right in the first place -- that's why it's "our fuck-ups" and not the "it's the teacher's fault; he/ she is picking on me for no reason at all" line that I'm used to hearing from students these days.

What we're doing now is raising a generation of whingers who cannot take responsibility for their own actions. The Nan Chiau Principal did. Let's see this generation do the same.

OK, enough about the topic.


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