Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The One about the students nowadays

Overheard a conversation between 2 very senior teachers in the school regarding students' sense of gratitude. As you already know in a couple of day time, the students will be showing their appreciation to the teachers in a one day one off event known as teachers' day. In the spirit of the school, where they focussed so much on helping the students and teaching the students the right values ( read right values in the eyes of the managment) it was no surprise that the conversation came about.
Apparently every year around this time, all the students will be given a piece of paper for them to write down their vote for the most caring teacher. they are to write down why that particular teacher deserved the award, by stating specifically what the teacher have done. For example,hypothetically, Student A feel that Teacher X is a good teacher, A must write down why he/she feel this way such X is a very caring teacher, on 27 July, he consoled me when I did badly for my test and encourage me to work harder. For this I am eternally grateful. Interestingly for all the things and effort that the teachers had done tohelp the sec 4s and 5s, there had been a shortage of entries from the sec 4 and 5 cohort. This apparently upset the people on the top who described this as act of "lacking in gratitude" and in fact the students will be given a speaking to the next morning.
What is so interesting about this episode. in my view, there are a couple of interesting facts that surface:
1) What we have done for the students had not really impacted/impressed them. All the teachers in the school work very hard for the students, this I can testify, which is interesting. is it because their perception of what is good for them is different from what we feel that is good for them?

2) Are our students ingrates? just because they didnt take this special day to thank the teachers, jsut because they did not write any good things about the teachers, just because of the whole multitude of issues in place? I find it interesting. i do admit that teachers do like the bit of acknowledgement that we have done something to a student's life and outlook, but seriously this whole paper chase thingy can be quite ridiculous at times. Are we doing it for the sake of doing it? Why cant we let the students do what they want to do. Why do we need to interfere in their free expressions of showing thanks to a teacher? All of us in the teaching profession know that teaching is like putting money in a unit trust - in the short space of time, we will not be able to see the rewards. infact it is more important to see the reward in the long term that we have actually put in the effort for.

I know what I am saying may ruffle a few feathers, and I know people will be talking about my cynical approach but then, we are dealing with a new generation of students who ahve different approaches and view towards life. Is it relevant to place the 1980s way of running and teaching values to the new millenium. I think that is a food for thought.

I saw this article which i believe was placed by a teacher in the class notice board, and i found it really relevant.

Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this!

To anyone with kids of any age, here's some advice. Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair -- get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping -- they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

After googling this on the web, i found out that The text itself a pared-down version of an op-ed op-ed piece that appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune on September 19, 1996. It was written by Charles J. Sykes, best known as the author of "Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good about Themselves, but Can’t Read, Write, or Add." D

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The One about Ado about nothing

The boy from my class who got into trouble last week was given a reprieve and send back to class this morning. As the form teacher, i was given the special duty to escort him back to to class. The DM clarified that the issue had been resolved and he will be given his punishment in public in due course.
As i walked him up to his classroom, the boy apologised profusely for being rude to me during that day of the incident. I wondered whether it was a sign of resignation on my part, or that i have really forgiven him, i nodded silently and mumbled some words of encouragement and assurance about the class attitude and perception of him. As he rejoined the class, there were a couple of odd stares from my class which I was quick to dismiss. Seeing him settled and accounted for, I walked back to the staffroom, in deep thoughts.
I have no high hopes that the boy will be able to mend his relationship with the rest fo the class, and I am not sure if the class is willing to take in this loner who had so far rejected all their advances of a closer friendship. But it is just another 2 months more, another 60 days, another 1440 hrs and all of them will be in the midst of their exams, in a couldnt care less about other people attitude.
When will that day of reckoning come?