The Star Opinion: Don’t Judge Teachers

Response to my letter Teachers’ Complaints Valid and Reasonable.

From The Star Opinion 4 May 2010:

Don’t judge teachers

REFERRING to the letter “Teachers’ complaints valid and reasonable” (The Star, April 14), I totally agree with the writer that teachers deserve a break, including a little respect and sympathy. For those who think that teaching is easy, I believe they need to be in the profession before making that kind of judgment.

As a tuition teacher, my job is just to teach and I have no other non-teaching duties like attending meetings and co-curricular activities. Nevertheless, I still feel that teaching is not easy as you will encounter students with very poor performance and it is always a challenge to keep their mind focused and explain to them until they really understand what you are teaching.

One misconception many people have is that if you are good at a certain subject, you will have no problem teaching that subject. This is totally wrong as knowing the subject well and passing that knowledge to another person will require a lot of energy and more importantly, patience.

I always have Form Four Science stream students not knowing simple addition and subtraction of algebraic equations. These basic skills should have been mastered when they were at the PMR level.

At the SPM level, they should be concentrating on the new chapters but since they are not good at basic algebra, it will be a great discouragement when they cannot cope with what I am teaching.

As a result, they lose interest and start doing their own things or talking with friends during my class. To avoid this, I always have to keep their attention by cracking some jokes which is related to the subject.

Some parents may disagree with me by saying that it is the responsibility of a teacher to ensure students understand what is being taught. Well, perhaps I could offer them one suggestion: try to teach your child the subject you know the best and see how well he or she can understand what you are teaching – if the child is still paying attention after 15 minutes.

Parents have the right to punish their kids when they are not listening but teachers do not have the same right to do so nowadays. These days kids complain a lot even though they are wrong.

My point is, if we have difficulty teaching our own children for 15 minutes, just imagine if you are teaching 20 to 30 kids for four to five hours. Does teaching still sound easy?



One Response to “The Star Opinion: Don’t Judge Teachers”

  1. Simon Thong Says:

    Times have changed drastically. 5 yrs ago, tuition students younger than 15 had no handphone. Then they started bringing handphones to tuition class. 12-15 year-olds have them. We not only teach them and try to maintain their interest but also keep them from messaging and playing games on heir handphones during tuition. It is normal for me to give a break of ten minutes in the middle of a lesson. I call it “Handphone Break”.

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