A few weeks ago, a schoolteacher was jailed for changing the exam scripts of several students, and she did it to improve the performance of her class, because, quite simply, she needed to look good to her bosses.
She was, so they said, under pressure to deliver the goods.
When I read it, I felt sad for her, but even more so for the education system.
If teachers are graded by the success rate of her students, then we should not be surprised if more such crimes are committed in the future.
Let’s put it this way, which educational institution will advertise the failure rate of its pupils, even if, the reason for failing is due to a more stringent standard than other places?
Imagine hearing this from a school, “We are proud to say that 50% of our students will not pass our tests.”
No, that would not happen.
But talk is easy, hindsight cheap.
And I found myself ‘misbehaving’, being a bad teacher, this week.
After giving my photojournalism class a “perfect assignment” which I have spent a long time putting together, I found myself worrying needlessly.
So I kept asking my students, who I had also called ‘children’ unnecessarily, “Are you all going to be okay?”
“Are you sure you can do it?”
“Do I have to worry?”
“I am just a call away.”
“I am just an email away.”
“I live on Facebook, you can find me 24/7.”
Luckily, these young adults were not afraid to wake me up.
Emmanuelle, an exchange student from San Diego, just looked right at me and said, “We’ll figure out.”
Kash, and her friend, just could not helped but to ask, “Are you really worried about us?”
“Yes,” I replied.
The little exchange made me realize, at that very moment, that I was being over-bearing, like a mother hen.
Quite simply, I was behaving contrary to what I really wanted to be, and what I had been preaching.
I had, when giving out the assignment, repeatedly told the students that “this is an assignment where the quality of your pictures will NOT be more important than the lessons you learned from doing it.”
I told them that “I will look at your self-critiques to find out if you take away from this assignment, any useful tips that will serve you for the rest of your life.”
“Don’t worry about failing, don’t second guess what I want, go out and have lots of fun.”
I meant them, but yet I forgot.
But thank goodness, I behaved like a mother hen not because I was thinking about what the university would say if a whole bunch of them fail my class at the end of the semester.
I was simply, being a nag, and more importantly, forgetting that an important purpose of education, if not the most basic reason, is really, to learn.
It is not too late for me to repent.
Yes, I will learn to let go.