‘Teachers must have thick skin’


The recent incident of a teacher making a pupil stand in the sun for hours is disturbing.

Gone are the days when teachers could punish their charges by making them run rounds around the school field, and stand up on a chair or outside the classroom, although these were common in the 1960s. It’s just not allowed anymore, no matter how terribly the students have behaved.

There are many ways to tackle problematic situations. Teachers can consult with their colleagues to find solutions. They can have a heart-to-heart talk with students to understand the core of the issue.

There are also school counsellors to whom students can be sent for counselling. If necessary, parents can be called in to help resolve the problem.

Of course, it is easier said than done, but as teachers, we have to persevere. The teaching profession is no doubt a very challenging one; it can make or break you.

A former colleague of mine once quipped, “If you can survive in that school, you can survive anywhere else.”

We were exchanging stories about our teaching stints in Selangor.

Another colleague, who had transferred on request from Sabah to this same school, asked to go back even though he was from Selangor.

He just couldn’t take the name-calling and humiliation from the students anymore.

At the end of the day, no matter what, teachers have to develop a thick skin, remain tolerant, and persist with a soft approach, in the hope that things will change for the better with time.

There are some who cannot carry on being teachers after trying it out for a short period, simply because they just don’t have the patience for it.

Passion is very important for a teacher if he or she is to retire from the profession because aside from dealing with problematic students, the work itself can be quite repetitive.

It involves repeating facts yearly – sometimes multiple times in the same year when teaching a few classes of students in the same cohort.

But teaching as a long-term career is not a problem when you have genuine passion and commitment to nurturing attentive minds.

Teachers get better with experience, learning to improvise and improve so that they are more effective in carrying out their duties and responsibilities.

Teachers have an immeasurable influence on their students’ lives, often developing enduring relationships, and offering guidance and moral support throughout their lives.

The reward is seeing students succeed in life, transforming into responsible, compassionate individuals with high self-esteem. These are important values if they are to create an impact on society.

THIAGAN MATHIAPARANAM

Klang

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