The writer said that the primary school that her children were enrolled in, had taken three extra days in addition to the two public holidays allocated for Chinese New Year. To make up for the three additional days, the school decided to have lessons on selected Saturdays in the months to follow.
As a student, I certainly want a whole week off during the Chinese New Year period as it is a time when I can join in the festivities with my immediate and extended family. It is also a period that I look forward to because of the ang pows that I get.
However in reality, making up for the three additional days by having replacement classes on Saturdays has not and will not really work.
From my school experience, I know that many students never go to school on Saturday for the extra lessons. In a class of about 30 students, only 10 will take the initiative to come to school and teachers upon seeing the poor turnout, are less inclined to teach.
This leaves the students to their own devices. So in effect, it is pointless having the extra classes.
The period just before exams is when many teachers are rushing through the lessons. Many of them just want to finish the syllabus and hardly ask their charges if they fully understand and follow the lessons. Their excuse is that there is “not enough time”.
Yet many students manage simply through tuition or through their own hard work and perseverance.
School authorities should take action against teachers who are absent. The reasons are aplenty and they range from school meetings, medical leave and in-service courses or kursus.
When teachers are on leave, a relief teacher is sent, but chances are that she is sent merely to control the class and keep the noise level down. She does not teach and at the most, will ask the class to either revise or do their homework.
As an example let me cite a case of an Additional Mathematics teacher who never came to class for two weeks. There was relief teacher, she was not a replacement and therefore we did not have lessons for two weeks! Does this make sense?
The same goes for subject teachers who act as discipline teachers. When there are disciplinary issues to be resolved, a discipline teacher can sometimes miss lessons or come into class almost at the end of the lesson.
Schools should also look into the matter as while there may be a few “naughty” students who need to be questioned and punished, there are a classful of eager students waiting for their lesson to begin.
When our parents come to school to complain, school authorities are quick to acknowledge the problem but do little to look into such matters.
DARREN Via e-mail
Source: The STAR Home Education Sunday February 12, 2012