Teaching is a special calling that calls for respect and integrity which should not be compromised.
IT was a shock to hear last week of a secondary school teacher being punched by a student who had earlier been expelled for disciplinary problems.
The 16-year-old boy returned to the school in Puchong, Selangor, with two friends and punched the teacher when she asked why they were loitering around the school.
The teacher received four stitches for a gash above her eyebrows that was said to have been caused by a ring worn by the boy.
It was an unkind cut that no teacher deserves and the boys were subsequently detained and will be duly dealt with by the education authorities and the law.
The incident occurred just a few days after the school and the community in the Putra Perdana neighbourhood launched an “anti-ponteng (truancy)” drive that also involved the police, health department, and religious and anti-drugs authorities.
The school and community leaders had organised the campaign not only to curb incidents of truancy but also to nip in the bud related disciplinary problems like smoking, vandalism, bullying and even cases of students making out in the school grounds.
The campaign was a sterling example of teachers coming together with parents, the community and the authorities not only to tackle disciplinary problems but also to restore respect for and integrity of the teaching profession and learning institution.
For sure, certain events recently seem to have implied that teachers these days are more concerned about being politically correct in social and civil issues than being true to their profession.
Not too long ago, a group of teachers picketed against the school-based assessment system (PBS) and several of them reportedly said they were not afraid of the repercussion of joining the protest.
Then there were the academics who joined varsity students to picket in support of a law lecturer facing sedition charges.
And now, a headmaster and several teachers have been identified as suspects behind the leak of papers for the UPSR examinations. Because of the leak, the pupils will have to resit the papers involved, including English and Science.
But let’s not be too quick to judge that just because of several spoilt apples, the whole basket is filled with rotten fruits.
Already, teachers are bogged down by teaching, marking students’ work, catching up on the latest teaching modules and being minders to the pupils during school hours.
Indeed, teaching is a special calling. It is not a job to suit everyone and there have been cases where teachers leave within the first three to five years of taking up the job.
Those who are dedicated are focused on only one thing: to nurture the potential of their pupils or students. Often, they make themselves available to the students, parents and even the community after school hours to do this.
Teaching is a complicated job as it demands broad knowledge, enthusiasm, a caring attitude and a love of learning.
Getting a student to understand a difficult concept can be exhilarating for a teacher. And when she or he actually reaches out to a weak student whom others may have written off, it can truly be worth all the headaches that come with the job.
Teachers help to shape the future for students each day in class, and they often see the students more consistently day-to-day than parents.
While not every student will succeed, it should not keep a teacher from believing that everyone has the potential to achieve greatness.
Some teachers may be grouchy when dealing with the kids under their care but they should not give the picture that it is all right to rebel against the authorities or to cheat in examinations. Associate editor Shah A. Dadameah believes that in school or campus, the teacher is the role model and figure of authority. The STAR Home News Opinion Equal Ground Sunday September 28, 2014 MYT 12:42:36 PM