Monday, February 09, 2009

Ms Sour Face

Phew...I finally finished setting the question papers for the Year 6 pupils! It is actually quite easy to set the questions, I just hope the level is low enough for most of them to pass.

I was a bit disappointed with myself and the Year 6 bunch for the last few days. I used to believe that strict teachers do not equate to good teachers. In that sense I mean that an effective teacher does not necessarily have to be feared. I used to think that Year 6 pupils are old enough to understand the concept of "I treat you nice, you treat me nice". I thought that they would know how to be responsible for their own learning. How wrong I was!!

I am essentially not a strict teacher. I am quite easy-going and I think my best virtue as a teacher is that I am very patient. I learnt to be patient when I was asked to teach Year One kids during practical and in my first 4 months in Sepang. My approach to teaching, which is to be nice to the pupils, was accepted and well-liked in my practical school and towards the end, in Sepang. Applying this approach in town chinese-medium school is a huge mistake.

For three weeks, I struggled with class discipline, getting the pupils to pay attention, to do work. I used psychology on them, advising them, nagging them. It would work for a while and then everything would be as though I was not in the classroom the next day. Worse part is that the classes would be more in control when there wasn't a teacher in class!

The girls who are willing to study, who are more matured and more susceptible to my approach felt that my classes were boring because they don't learn anything. I was stunned. What do they mean by they do not learn anything during my classes? What have I been doing for the past 3 weeks screaming my voice hoarse in front of the class? Quickly, the girls changed what they said, said that the boys were too noisy that they could hardly hear my explanations. is something for me to think about, I told them. "Teacher, use the cane on us." I went berserk. These kids actually prefer a teacher wielding a cane before they could do their work, before they could learn?!

I am disappointed with myself, the kids and the chinese school system. I came from a national school. I am lucky I was a good student. I didn't have very strict teachers, I remember all my teachers were quite nice. I didn't have to be caned. A word of advice and most of my friends would feel regret and be more proactive in learning. I didn't have to be drowning in homework to learn to be responsible. But my friends and I turned out well.

When I went home, I cursed the school system. No child of mine is ever going to this kind of school. No child of mine is going to want to be caned before they learn some thing. No child of mine is going to be turned into an animal which needs to be trained and whipped!

Then, I talked to my sister. Remember Mr. Tan Bong Leong? she asked me. Yup, a teacher so nice that noone bothered listening to him when he was in class. A teacher whom everyone knows is so good at BM that those who are kiasu went to his tuition but do not listen to him in school. A teacher so lenient that copying is rampant when he is invigilating during tests. That is the kind of attitude Form 4 and Form 5 kids from the best class gave him because he is too nice and lenient. What do you expect from Year 6 kids?

So, the next day, I went to school with a resolution. To hell with being nice to unthinking kids. I was Ms Sour-puss the whole day and the kids were actually easier to teach. They listened. They did their work. They spoke in English because I did not bother about them when they asked me questions in another language.

And it is hard for a happy-go-lucky person to be sour-faced the whole day. I don't know how some people can be unhappy all their lives. Hahahaha...gotta make myself angry for the whole year! Wish me luck!!


didie said... happy to hear ur stories..not meaning to be synicle ok!but good that u share this kind of story with me n others...

hmm jiawen,i think we're in the same shoes...n mine would b even worse i tink.with language being the thickest barrier,i can easily piss off when things don't work the way i want or the kids don't understand what i taught..but i stil can laugh with them when they do my work...

so for me,there's nothing wrong bout being ms.sour face..sometimes this kind of face will make this little pupils come to their sense a bit..hahah!!!!n they r K.I.D.S. they wont take our sour face to heart so much...hehe...

emily said...

watever u said is true..u oso know is kind of hard for me to always put up a sour face...but for the beginning few weeks i force myself to be very angry..i think my students might think that i am a mad person..i even feel that i am not who i am..but after soon, when they start to follow my instruction, i started to close with them, joke with them..but luckily the discipline teacher is the orang tempatan,when i enter that syaitan class, he will curi-curi observe them and suddenly came in and bang them..i no need to waste my energy..since then, i created a story said they will alwaz being eyed by these two teachers..if they don follow me 'siap lah kamu, mampus lah kamu'..unexpectedly, they do work and follow instruction..amazing result right..i oso got shock..all the best girl..

aqmaal said...

aaawwwhhh-- i can't imagine u having that sour face for the rest of school semester.. (hehehe kak jia wen is so sweet that i don't think i'd buy your sour puss masam manis- ness)

make a mask perhaps? that way, u can still smile although you're sour.. hmmmm

*i don't think i make any sense here*

Oh well :D