Today afternoon was Geography paper. I saw hordes of students crowding round their Geography teacher before the paper began.... upon scrutiny I noticed that they were borrowing protractors. The teacher had a bag full of protractors.... I am sure the teachers were also busy lending out calculators and rulers for the Math paper too. I see my colleagues supplying graph papers, rulers, even exercise books. And the reason given is if they don't do that, the students won't be able to learn. See where the students get the idea that we owe it to them??? It's from us.
And that's how it's like throughout the year... borrowing and lending, always forgetting to bring this or that. And teachers would just keep lending or renting those tools which they require during term. And the number of students who borrow or rent just don't seem to get any lesser. In fact, there seems to be more of them now.
I remember when my boy was younger, and he'd sometimes forget to bring his things to school. He would call home and usually his long suffering dad would send the thing he forgot to school. And it happened frequently... he didn't appreciate his father's prihatin-ness. In fact he began to take it for granted that we owed it to him to make sure he has the stuff he needed.
Second time around, with our daughter, we decided early on to let her bear the consequences of her own actions. Guess what, she seldom forgets her things. The fear of punishment plus the knowledge that we will not bail her out for her own irresponsibility made her more responsible. Period.
Parents, teachers, the whole system that we're in make us like that. The preferential policies that we have in place which are racially biased has also played a big part in contributing to our current state of more irresponsible young people. Empathy is often an excuse to do the less right thing. Empathy is an escape route to an easier path.
It's tiring to keep at it... to bug and mete out punishments for those who forget. But with persistence, I have also discovered that the students do toe the line. Many actually do take responsibility for their own learning eventually. But the earlier years until the marginal madness dissipates, require a lot perseverance, persistence from the teachers. Many of us seem to prefer the easier way out... give in. We get the grades we want and hope they just pick up whatever they need to pick up as they grow up.
Parents too seem to be heading that direction. We are encouraged to understand the psychology of kids. The thing is we also want our time to do the things we want and enjoy our life. So we also do the same, believing that our children will learn to be responsible at some point. Maybe or maybe not. Parenting and teaching... they're not much different. Both require the same stuff.
So, PMR season is just about to end. Soon it'll be SPM and STPM. The pencil and eraser giving will continue. When term begins next year, the lending and borrowing will continue too... Teachers expect to, students expect it. We need to show that we empathize.... they feel we owe it to them. The vicious cycle is perpetuated by the people in it... Just great, don't you think?