Monday, February 27, 2012

And the Idiot is....?

More than 20 years ago, I did my teaching practical in a well-known school in Seremban, SMK Chan Wa. I only attended one meeting during my teaching practical and the meeting lasted only 15 minutes. I was told by the teachers that's how long their meetings usually lasted. Apparently, the Principal felt that short briefings would suffice. He must have felt his teachers were intelligent enough and also trusted them. Short meetings are a rarity these days. We have such phrases... pegang mike, syok sendiri.

These days I think, we have way too many meetings and long ones too. And they are an insult to our intelligence. Matters which can be addressed in minutes take hours. A lot of immaterial ramblings take place. Just do some simple Math and the hours which are wasted are quite staggering. Add that to the added unquantifiable factors such as stress, physical tiredness, frustrations, indignance, etc, etc... we would have lost out not only the hours but a lot of goodwill.

Next the teachers' timetables. In the old days, the Senior Assistant 1 would be the one responsible in arranging the timetable. These days many pass that responsibility to an IT literate teacher. After more than 10 years of extensive IT usage in schools, we still have many unteachable administrators who claim to be IT incapacitated but competent enough to FaceBook or use a smart phone. I think if they feel they are dinosaurs in this age of computers, they should be made extinct in admin. As a result of their unteachability, timetables these days also imply our idiocy. In some schools, teachers teach non-stop for 2 1/2 hours. Teaching is not like any office job where you can at least go on. Productivity falls over time without breaks. Usually, after 80 minutes one would be bushed and would require a breather... So to be in classes for such a long stretch would burn a teacher...

Computer softwares do the timetable. With such softwares it's only a matter of keying in the data and timetables would be generated. Of course, there are certain parameters which the operator should key in as well. There seems to be a lot of feigned or real ignorance in this process, though. I always believe that computers can't be idiots. It is whatever that is churned out that reflects the idiocy of the operator.
Recently, I was given a timetable with 4 periods in one stretch! Earlier, a friend had complained on her FB her 2 hour plus marathon classes for a few days a week. In my case, after some teachers complained it was rectified the next day. An oversight, yet again a reflection of the apathy and also of abuse in blocking specific blocks of time for the operators of the software. It is often not uncommon to find the timetable teacher and those close to him with very agreeable timetables.

To ensure that the timetables generated are good, the final process would involve one of the administrators checking it. The fact that such timetables where 2 or 3 classes are stuck together like Siamese twins is also an indicator that many of our administrators are inept or just plain lazy. I think it is safe to assume that signatures are penned without so much of a glance at the timetables. Frustration levels build up, teachers get worn out.... we have very few leaders who will go out into the trenches with us these days.

Distribution of classes should also be 'fair'. But what constitutes fair? When I was a student, good classes usually get the 'good' teachers. Face it, there are good apples and bad apples. These days, good and bad apples are all considered good apples. Anyway, the system is rife with abuses now. Picture the monkey tree... any monkey above will continue to give shit to the monkeys below. The crap unloading is basically like a train out of control these days... made worse by our very own apartheid-like policies. Double standards can never be good for a society in the long run. And the rot in our education system is a result of such double standards.

Last year was a year of 1Malaysia Netbook. Free computers for those with household income of less thn 3K. There were mutterings among students. Apparently teachers' children in my work place were also given. And one of those teachers had recently been given a promotion too. I wonder if indeed it's true her kid had received the Netbook, does it mean that somebody falsified information when filling in the forms? Cos it is unlikely that her household income is less than the stipulated minimum. And the fact that the admin close their eyes to it. For not having integrity, you get rewarded too! How's that?

My generation is a generation grown up on "Gua tolong lu, lu tolong gua.' And if anyone dares confront them, they'd do a 'Jessie Ooi aka Ms Tow Truck' on you and throw you a how-dare-you and then go on a rant about their rights and privileges which they claim is enshrined in the Constitution.... which if true means that we have a Constitution that promotes keadilan with caveats.... only if it suits them. This is what happens when we put people with questionable level of integrity and and a check and balance mechanism that is skewed. One only has to look at what one political party goons behave to see how the politicians in power reek everything that is questionable.

Basically, ours is a system that has been built on skewed moral values coated by this veneer of religion.... to the point that the judicial dares not cite a shoe throwing imam for contempt. LOL! It was only made public after uproars in the media that the judicial lodged a police report over the incident. But I am sure the are juicy stories behind this lack of action.... could be a case of conscience being pricked since this imam is one frustrated fler for some reasons....

So, who are the idiots? Looks like it's us who choose to remain silent or continue to stand by and watch it all unfold....


Thomas C B Chua said...

Long Meetings - They did not learn how to summarise in school.

Timetables - Always a problem. There was even "shadow timetable" in my days.

It has always been and always will be the same in this world; the horse does the work and the coachman is tipped.

SM Ting said...

isn't it d same everywhere as long as we r on this land???
just last week I taught from 1.10pm to 3.30pm (gave me kelas tambahan immediately after my class ends at 2.30).

talking bout idiots....these smart alecs in such rush to hold kelas tambahan dat it clashes wid 1M1S...end up no teachers on d field wid ss. Then start pointing finger everywhere. D kelas tambahan is called 1MsemuaA. Jokers....I just let dem b n i do my job....after all i only nd to produce one ss wid semua A. How difficult can dat b????

AJ7 said...

Kelas tambahan.. I think we've lost the plot here. We seem to think that practice makes perfect. But we also fail to take note that before practice can be perfect, we must hone that practice with good habits, thinking skills, etc, etc.... And so we think we are sharpening their minds when we actually are doing the opposite.

And yes! We seem to be doing lots and more. But often too they are merely glossy page covers with no contents.... but then again, should we be surprised?