The Dandelions

.. the mutual admiration and bashing society.

Confessions Of A “School Parent Crusader”………

Posted by ErnieJean on October 30, 2008

Sometime back this year, my 8 year old child, came home looking really troubled and traumatised. After much prodding, she revealed that a teacher had pulled her ears, along with a few other kids, supposedly for making noise in the classroom.

Apparently, my 8 year old who was the class monitor, had to keep the class in order while the teacher went MIA, and as expected of 8 year olds, the kids are not about to allow their fellow classmate tell them to shut up and behave. So, while my poor little child had to scream on top of her voice to get the other screaming kids to tone down (bad strategy obviously), a teacher who was walking past the classroom, came in and without finding out the actual senario, proceeded to twist the ears of the poor 8-year old class monitor and the other noisy kids.

Anyway, like a typical parent who believes in being involved in one’s child’s growing up years, I thought it would only make sense that I speak to the teacher (in a really really nice and polite manner of course), as to how a parent like myself is expected to explain to a child that, while she is being taught that pulling ears, amongst many other rude actions were a big No-No, a school teacher who is supposed to be respected went ahead and did it anyway.

After approaching the teacher, let’s call her Cikgu X, we went thru the whole incident all over again, and this was the final portion of our conversation (more or less)….

Cikgu X : I am a strict person, all students know that.

Me : Yes, and I absolutely have no problems with that. If the child really deserves punishment, by all means. But why was the class monitor being punished for doing her job? And don’t you think twisting ear is a rather demeaning act? Perhaps I could suggest caning on the palm of the hands with a ruler or making them stand in a corner or something more appropriate.

Cikgu X : I believe in being strict to instill discipline and I don’t usually hesitate in my punishments.

Me : (Erm……which part did she not understand again?) Yes Yes I know. I’m glad you are strict. But can we perhaps not use demeaning ways to punish a student? After all, they are only 8 year olds. By the way, why was the teacher away?

Cikgu X : OK, I’ll talk to the discipline master to see what other punishment we can come up with. The teacher? Oh, she had to go perform her prayers.

Me : (Don’t mean to offend anyone but…..prayers in the middle of a lesson!!!!!?????) Yes, do go discuss with your discipline master please. Thanks.

Now, before anyone starts tearing me to bits for being an overly protective mother, it’s not about protecting my child from receiving a deserving punishment, but rather it’s about speaking up when something is not right and fighting for one’s rights. Being punished for trying to do one’s job is just not acceptable, nor is being subjected to demeaning acts of punishment. Yes, they say some teachers have been doing it since the begining of time, but doesn’t mean it’s still right.

Also, I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I just can’t accept teachers going off to fulfill a personal obligation, such as prayers in this case, while leaving an entire classroom of active children to their own devices. Can’t it wait till the lesson is over? Am I missing something here?

And that is only one small part of what is soooo wrong with our present national schooling system…the teachers, the syllabus, the school heads……..which all leads to the main man himself, the Minister of Education. If only he is just able to differentiate between his political ambitions and social obligations, our education system would have been a lot more respectable. 

Someone asked me why didn’t I send my child to a Chinese vernacular school or a private school. Why send to a National School then?

Chinese school? Well, for one thing, the particular chinese school near where I stay (think we’re only allowed to send to the school nearest to our place of residence, or something like that), had sort of indicated that I am to contribute quite a handsome sum to their “Building Fund” if I wanted my child enrolled into that school. It also didn’t help that I had to deal with extremely rude and LCLY teachers and school administrators, and coupled with the infamous mountain high workload and stressfull competitive environment, I was ready to “deny my child the right to learn her mother tongue” (as some well-meaning relatives have accused me of). But I gotta admit, the cleanliness and student discipline in these schools are top-notch. And to be fair, I’m sure not all of these vernacular schools are guilty of what I’ve experienced. Just  my bad luck to have crossed path with one “black sheep”.

Private school? Not rich enough. Period. Anyway, as a tax-paying citizen, shouldn’t we be expecting affordable quality education?

National School…..yes, the overall quality of teaching, building facilities, etc are really sad and depressing. But my priority for my child’s elementary education was to be more of a well-rounded sort of education and not just scoring As. I mean, what will 15As do for kids their age? I also realised that, in some schools, there will be a majority of students who come from families who are just as involved with their children’s lives as I am and believe in instilling the Ps & Qs……and that’s the sort of environment that I want my child to be growing up in. Lessons wise? I’ll just have to tutor my child at home and not depend on her teachers.

However, having said all that, not all teachers are horrible. There are those, especially from the old school, who remain dedicated and professional……hopefully,  they will continue teaching even after retirement😛

There has been many proposals and recommendations to improve our pathetic education system, but as long as there is no will from the top honchos to make those improvements, we can wait till the cows fly home and the education system will still suck.

In the meantime, parents like myself will just have to continue being “School Parent Crusaders”.

6 Responses to “Confessions Of A “School Parent Crusader”………”

  1. ella-mae said

    cikgu x calls her menyalahgunakan kuasa act as discipline???? sounds like UMNO, smells like UMNO, must be UMNO.

    babe, u should really pursue this la. how can she slap the child without first finding out what really happened?

  2. erniejean said

    Ya Ella Mae….but decided to not pursue it any further after Cikgu X explained her actions to my little girl and the little darling very easily forgived and forgot. And whether we like it or not, our kids are at the mercies of these new breed of teachers.

  3. missjolie said

    Well, looks like the only way is to ‘bribe’ them! Isn’t that how it works in Malaysia? Malaysia boleh. Bribe them with donuts and hope they choke on it!!! It will work if all else fails. Bribery is the best way in our oh beloved country.😦

  4. Madame said

    I rmbr you talking about this, Ernie Jo and yet it still fills me with rage reading about it after so long.

    The old adage of “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is a total myth and fabrication borne in Dickensonian times…and yet perpetuated till this day!

    Malaysian school children are spanked for a variety fo reasons/excuses, such as :-
    1. Failure to complete home-work
    2. Failing on tests/exams
    3. Being noisy in class
    4. Being late to school
    and other trivial things that I cant recall right now.

    I think a better way of handling all these problems is to either talk to the child to find out why this is happening OR talk to the parent. Corporal punishment, however, is NOT a solution. It does not get down to the root cause of the problem and also humiliates the child!

    With all the advances that we have made in understanding the psychology of a child, we are yet to learn/believe that positive reinforcement and praise has a more positive outcome in better developing our children to acheive their potential. Ppl, esp., educators and parents think that corporal punishment is the best solution to a problem. I find that it is a very temporary solution at best…for while you might be able to stop that behaviour temporarily…it will persist in the long term. There is always a reason why children ‘act up’ and one can never know this reason unless we take the time to sit and listen to our children. Why is it that adults find it so hard to talk to children? Have we all forgotten what it means to be a child?

    Your daughter’s teacher should have understood the problem is not with the children but rather the absent teacher. Children are noisy, bositerous invdividuals who when bored have to find some outlet for their boredom.

    The best way to deal with this, that I’ve found is to always ask the teachers….Did you always get a 100% on ur exams when u were in school? Were you always quiet, to the point of robotic when u were in school? Have u forgotten what its like to be a child? These few simple questions will normally flabbergast them and leave them dumb-founded LOL* Try it….it works!😀

    Btw, did you know that teachers DO study child psychology in their training school???😉

    Sorry…Ernie, this almost sounds like part of my thesis ;D

  5. Madame said

    Another huge challenge facing the govt is the lack of schools and qualified teachers. This leads to over-crowding of classrooms and the teacher is not able to give the child the individual attention that is so very essential in education. So, the easiest way to control the class is by fear n intimidation.

    Blame the govt, Ernie Jo….blame the govt!!!!

  6. Abracadabra said

    well, i am some one who get caned a lot when i was in primary school. i however do believe a tiny little spanking helps, only in the most extreme cases like misbehaviour in class for example bullying, extortion. not handing homework on time or not passing exam or forgetting to bring a book, not doing well enough, all these should not be subjected to physical punishment. from my experience, the more my teacher cane me the more i try to play truant, the less motivation i have in doing my homework. in fact, just for the sake of reducing the amount of spanking by completing homework, i simply just tick my answers nonchalantly without much eeffort in trying to comprehend the questions.

    in fact, eeven though until now, i don’t agree with her teaching cum caning method, but i do believe she actually really cared for me. you can’t imagine the amount of time she spent trying to put me straight, hahaha. i believe she is really sincere. i don’t think she is abusing her power, but she is from different school of thought than mine. i went back to visit her 5,6 years later, and she remembered me, she was happy i turned out fine, doing well in exams and stuff though she really did think that her caning help set me straight, i just smiled, not interested in correcting her (I know what and when is my turning point in life, and caning wasn’t one of them), because after all she done what she believed was best for me. apart from the caning, i do think she is a really nice teacher, she is afterall human, as imperfect as all of us (children and parents alike). it will be a shame to dismiss or punish such a teacher severely when she has the passion, the kindness, the love to teach ‘problematic’ children.

    however, the worst teacher might not even be the one who does the caning. i have one (tuition teacher) who seizes any opportunity to find fault with me. somehow my problematic school life came to her knowledge, she took on the ‘school teacher’ role which wasnt her business, to complain to my parents. no she didnt cane me, but i have severe distaste for her, because after that incident where she divulge all my ‘problematic’ school life to my parents, she expresses herself to me as though she is so happy to come out victorious. it wasn’t about me or my welfare at all, there was no kindness in her eyes, or pity, or for the sake of my own good, it was all about her, the need to feel victorious and powerful, the need to humiliate. that is the kind of teacher who should have her teaching lisence revoked! my sister and i agree she physically abuses and humiliate her children in front of her students (us), during her tuition classes. my sister even saw her using burning joss sticks to punish one of her son by poking him with it, and there is no reason for my sister not to like her.

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