Striking a Balance

I’ve not posted on my blog for a long time now. I’ve had so much to say, so much to express; but I’m unlike those who can write what’s on their mind then and there. I really admire such people! As for me, I need to let it boil inside me before I can put my heart to words.

Being in a new place often gets  you to think about certain things a little more deeply: like the fact that the old things (pedagogical) may not have been perfect but to charge it as complete garbage and barbaric and totally do away with it is outright misleading, often to our own disadvantage. We need to move with the times, definitely! But are we sure there isn’t a gem we’re leaving behind?

I know teaching should not be about rules and restrictions and books all the time, but I also believe learning takes work. We need to inculcate in students work ethics early on, so they don’t think they can get away with anything. I also believe parents play an integral part in this. Most parents quite often allow themselves to be refuge for their children to run to when things don’t go their way or get difficult at school in terms of studies (things which require them to think and work). I believe this should not be the case, and students should be taught to understand responsibility and be responsible. As parents and teachers we are always there to guide and help them, but letting them skip responsibility and eschew work is typical of modern education systemS.

Too much of leniency has its price. Too much of strictness can be damaging to the emotions. We need to strike a balance between the two. I’m just surprised to know how introducing rules to help students discipline their writing can be considered a pedagogical blasphemy by systemS today and how allowing them to disregard spellings and grammar “as long as they express the right content” can be considered academically sound. (And I’m not talking about students with learning needs or beginner learners of language here.) I mean, these very items that we disregard as unimportant can be the very fossilized items that we attempt on working with the students in the future. Why not help them now? Why not direct them now? Do we always have to underestimate young minds, saying they’re just too young and unable? Do we always have to wait till they’re a little older, when they’re “more mature”? If my experience even means something, young minds learn responsibility better than adults, if taught right and firm.

Someone might cast the first stone at me for this. Get this: I’m not the best teacher in the whole world. I don’t think such a thing even exists in this world–perhaps only in movies. I’m just a learning teacher who wants to see change happen in the sytemS for the good of everyone–teachers and students alike. Besides, I don’t even have a so-called superior education, one received from reputed universities in the world (not that it is a bad thing). I am what I am today because I’ve worked hard and because my teachers, despite their background in “primitive” pedagogy, never let me get away with anything and taught me responsibility. I know what it takes to earn even a single point (and not just for the sake of it; it’s rather a sign I did my job)–and students love points. However, I just can never understand the value of buying one. I believe we need to teach students responsibility, not just content; hard work, not just fun. It’s ironic how we know that the adolescent stage is the most crucial one in a person’s physical and psychological development, and values learned at this stage often (if not always) stick with the person the rest of their life, but the systemS today often ignore the seriousness of their error in almost always allowing them to party through in their life.

If the primitive ways were too strict, the modern systemS are too lenient.

Another thing I’ve often come across anywhere I go is the law that protects students–physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. No one ever talks about protecting the teacher. If students can be bullied, teachers can be bullied too. Any strict tone a teacher uses is bullying, but if a student bullies the teacher, it’s bad classroom management. Having been through this personally in my career to the point of going crazy, I believe teachers need protection as well. We often talk about justice, but the frozen blind woman with balancing (ironic!) scales hanging from her left hand is the perfect metaphor for it. Biased is what the systemS today are.

If primitive ways were too teacher-centric, the modern systemS are too student-centric.

I believe it’s time we strike a balance!