Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Teaching. Not as easy as it seems.

In a recent conversation with a fellow substitute teacher, I realized that a lot of teachers think that a job of a teacher is solely teaching whatever subjects they are assigned to teach. Very much like a student, these teachers treat their job as an assignment: I do what I am asked to do. I won't do more than what I am assigned. It is very hard to find a teacher who is dedicated enough to spend time educating (not just teaching) the kids they teach. Some teachers only focus on teaching grammar, pronunciation, and methods on how to score A in the exams. Not many teachers teach how to be a good citizen or person. They see that as outside their ability or job description.

Many teachers are afraid that they would get into trouble with the students if they scold the students for what they have done wrong, such as making noise in an exam room. In fact, my fellow colleague told me, "There's nothing you can do about their behavior because they are not afraid of you. You cannot make a difference in their lives because a lot of them are unteachable. What you can do best is to stay out of their way, protect yourself, and do what you are told to do--teach. As for disciplining them, that's not in your area of work."

I was appalled when I heard that. People are always saying how bad the kids nowadays have become--no discipline, have no respects for the elders, and rebellious. The parents are always blaming the teachers for not being strict enough, while the teachers are complaining that the parents did not do a good job in disciplining their own kids. I believe that both are right in some ways. But who are the victims of these kinds of arguments? The students of course. Teachers resent the students for being so naughty or noisy or rude and refused to educate them. They ignore the students who act out. Or they just simply care less about what they do or become. "It's non of my business. I did my part as a teacher," they say.

The responsibility of a teacher, i don't care if it is written down in a law or not, is to teach their students to become someone useful, someone respectful. Isn't it much better to make a difference in a student's life than to make sure he/she gets an A in the national exam? What is the point of making sure they score A's all the time when they are acting like uneducated people? No matter how hard it is to teach them, it is better than not trying at all.

I was a student too. I was taught by teachers who do not care if I become someone useful in contributing to human kind or not. I was taught by teachers who only teach me to do well in the exam. Exam is not life. To do well in exam does not mean that you will do well in life. Of course, this responsibility of educating not only falls on the teachers' shoulders. But teachers who only teach me to do well in Math or Geography exams did not make a difference in my life.

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