Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Don't Hit My Child

In light of recent news, I just wanted to share my thoughts on physical discipline. When I read the news about a teacher slapping a student in hopes of correcting an undesirable behaviour, it struck a raw nerve. You see, I grew up in the era where teachers could strike a student with a cane and not get questioned. Would I allow my children to such practices? NEVER. When I read of the news two very personal incidences came to mind.

The first memory is of me. Primary school. Standard 3. Our class was making a ruckus because we didn't have a teacher in class. Who at 9 years old is mature enough to really sit down and behave when there is no authority figure? So naturally, no teacher meant free roam, talking with classmates, shouting across the classroom, disturbing others, laughing - in other words, noisy and chaotic. Our vice principal stormed in angrily with a cane and demanded we all return to our seats and be quiet. In the process he struck a number of the boys with his cane. I remember in the process of him berating the class, I started drinking water. I don't know why I did it. I know I should be afraid but I've always been a little bit rebellious. I guess in the middle of ignoring his temper tantrum, I forgot he was still there. The next thing I know, he slammed the cane on my table and shouted at me "MINUM APA?!" (what are you drinking?) I still remember my response, very calmly I told him, "If drinking water is wrong, talk to my parents." I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong and I knew my parents would kick up a fuss if he ever laid the cane on me. At that age, my parents have taught me that discipline should be done right and not a show of "power" and "authority". Also, my parents taught me that the teacher had no right to lay a hand on me without first telling me where I had gone wrong and also if I had misbehaved, any corporal punishment needed to get their approval. That was my parents and that empowered me. For which I am very glad and thankful for because it allowed me to go to school without fear and it was this covering of my parents that allowed me to question everything instead of blindly following the rules. It allowed me to think for myself and be independent.

The second memory happened about 3 months ago. We were at JPN making BabyJ's passport. We were waiting for about 2 hours and for any toddler, that feels like FOREVER. No toddler can sit still for 2 hours. If yours does, then tell me your secret! As far as I know, no toddler ever can. In that two hours, LittleLim had to release all her pent up energy. She started climbing the bench I was sitting on and jumping off. I made sure she wasn't a nuisance to anyone. We sat relatively far away from the crowd and I was the only one sitting on the bench. Suddenly, a lady, whom I have never met before, came up to LittleLim, raised her voice and started scolding her. LittleLim being my daughter, clearly inherited my rebellious gene and ignored the lady which agitated her more. By the second time, the lady reached out to grab LittleLim and Hubbycat stepped in, deflected her grab and told the lady "Don't touch to MY daughter." If Hubbycat had not stepped in, I certainly would have because no one manhandles my kid.

I understand the frustration of a disobedient a child. I understand the anger that comes from a child PURPOSELY disobeying a direct order. I'm a parent, do you think I not know? But I believe that the responsibility of physically disciplining a child belongs to the parents. It's simply because the act of a physical discipline leaves a permanent impression on the child's spirit that we may not see. If done wrongly, it cripples a child and breaks their spirits. I'm not saying that teachers don't have the right to discipline and correct. By all means, teachers are put in a position of authority to lead, educate and empower.

So how should teachers discipline? I like the way LittleLim's school approaches discipline. If ever a child misbehaves, the school takes the child out, calls the parents and talks to the parent. They never strike a child out of anger or to instill fear. The furthest they go is telling the child what the mistake is and then correction. I've made so many mistakes in school but the best teachers are the ones that sit me down and correct me in private. Not with threats, fear or public humiliation. But what if the parents can't control the child? Then the world will when they're an adult. But as far as things go, I firmly believe that no one other than the parent should be allowed to lay a hand on a child.

As far as the teacher goes, I think he was in the wrong by striking a child let alone in public. If he really cared for the child, he would have sat down with the child, talk to him, educate and correct. If he did try that and the child still misbehaves, he should have escalated it to the parents. If even that failed -suspension or the worst case, expulsion. He certainly did not have the right to hit the child, it wasn't his place. If that was my child, I certainly would not have let it go so easily.


No comments:

Post a Comment