Teaching for me still remains quite a noble profession. After nearly 30 years in the service of our youth, I still have the drive, the passion, the energy and the motivation to make a positive difference in the lives of my students. But, as the days go by, this is becoming quite a daunting task.
Among the biggest challenges facing me and several young, bright, talented and committed teachers is the despicable decline in discipline and decorum among the student population we pledge to serve. Several youngsters are downwright rude and disrecpectful. They have absolutely no regard for anyone, human or divine.
Just yesterday a young female colleague attempted to admonish an otherwise unruly class. The unfortunate young lady probably made a remark that some elements in the class found to be “offensive”. In response to the pleading of the teacher for some quietude and order, a girl in the class blurted out, “She ah behave like she ha man prablems”.
This was an unapologetic remark directed to my young colleague; delivered without fear or trepidation. Clearly, who the hell is Miss to tell them anything? Why should Miss bring her “man prablems” to the class? What Miss should have done was to mind her own business. Miss’s presence, and her attempt to establish order was clearly an affront to whatever the students had planned for that period! And, that young lady, that first former, that beneficiary of the “education revolution” had to let Miss know it!
I still love teaching. I just have to remember to keep my “man prablems” out of the classroom!
Wednesday January 19, 2011: Why bother to plan sometimes?
I turned up this morning at period two to teach a social studies class in Form 3 Room 12. I met the classroom door locked and the windows closed. There was not a single student present. I was subsequently informed that the entire class was suspended for the day. I did not know that!
Apparently, the students in the class did not comply with the directions of their English teacher, Miss Quashie. They had an assignment to submit for her but failed to do so. I am advised that the matter was brought to the attention of the principal, Mrs James. As punishment for this infraction, the principal decided to suspend the entire class for one day!
Needless to say, I was livid. I had spent the two previous days preparing a slideshow to be presented during that double period, the only one for the week. In fact, it was the first slideshow to be presented to that class. I was really looking forward to it. But, I was thoroughly disappointed when I turned up and the students were all absent.
A few other teachers indicated to me subsequently that they were aware of the suspension. It turned out that a notice to that effect was posted on the notice board in the staff-room. The problem with that is this: The office of the deputy principal is on the lower floor. There is where I spend my time when I am not engaged in instruction. So, that notice never came to my attention. I think that I would have to visit the staff-room more often!
Another thought occured to me. The English teacher in question, Miss Quashie, is one whom I regard as a “delinquent teacher”. She is regularly late and regularly absent. I therefore thought it unfair that these students had to be suspended on behalf of a delinquent teacher. Miss Quashie too, deserves some form of recrimination for her oft times unprofessional and delinquent conduct.
It may never happen! For such is the world in which we live, the powerless and disenfranchised must suffer!