Trisha Reloaded

Dedicated to Trisha, as always. Dedicated also to L, my source of inspiration, and the reason why I choose to see the bright side of teaching.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Occupational hazard

One of the occupational hazards of being a teacher is that you continue behaving like a teacher, even when you are not in school, even when it's the school holidays.

Like 2 days ago, when I was buying lunch home, dressed like your typical HDB auntie - oversized t-shirt and shorts, flip-flops and my hands full with packets of wanton noodles and my daughter in tow, I passed by the neighbourhood MacDonalds and saw a bunch of primary school kids in school uniform, gleefully pouring a cup of soft drink with ice, onto Ronald MacDonald's lap.

I could have walked on by, my noodles were getting soggy anyway. But I, kaypoh teacher, had to choose that moment, not just to glare at the offending kids, but to actually stop, and with finger pointing, called the culprit over, and gave an open air lecture on irresponsibility and the consequences of ruining public property. The kids were properly shocked at being caught and reprimanded in public. And there must be something in my voice that told them not to feign innocence, for I managed to have the culprit clean up Ronald's lap, after threatening the kids with a visit to their school's discipline master. I could have even dropped some names (for I knew some of the key people from their school) to send the fear of God into their hearts, but I reigned myself in. The petrified kids muttered apologies to me and I walked off, head held high, soggy noddles notwithstanding.

What has happened to me? What has teaching done to me? I am now correcting other people's kids in public? I, who used to think parents should discipline their own kids before they criticise others'? If you see me doing this to your kid, would you tell me to mind my own business?


At 10:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a parent, so my comment is probably not relevant to your entry.

But I often wish I have the courage to tell children off when I see them behaving badly in public places.

So, good for you.

At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go!

As long as it is done in a respectful manner, it is okay.

At 11:15 PM, Anonymous cobaltpaladin said...

You did the right thing! Being a teacher is not just dictated by the teaching hours. It is the passion. :)

At 11:49 PM, Anonymous piper said...

I admire what you did!

Reminds me of what happened yesterday. I was at a rehearsal with 10 other schools (some combined school performance) and prior to it, I had warned all my students to behave.

However, many of the other students refused to keep quiet or behave during the rehearsal and I was so tempted to go up to them and give them a scolding. My colleague felt that we shouldn't do that because their teacher was there and she was not doing anything about it.

Now, I think I should have warned the students anyway. And I probably will if this happens again tomorrow. :D

At 1:23 AM, Anonymous Singteach said...

Hahaha! I did that once and shocked my friends. Hahaha! A group of boys were chasing a kitten like hunters chasing their game. I told them to stop. They ignored. Finally, I ran after them and shouted, "I said STOP!". This time, they did. Hehehe! My friends were speechless. I was utterly embarrassed by my "teacher" and "animal lover" instinct.

At 4:34 AM, Anonymous thatjedi said...

Way to go!!!!

Even if you're not a teacher, you did the right thing as a good citizen.

Hope you enjoyed your noodles.

At 5:06 AM, Blogger Grimsg said...

Welcome to middle age my friend... You've successfully become a member of the 'Grumpy Old Women' club. Heheh.

Nevertheless, way ta go! : )

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Ensui said...

i agree with everyone here. i think you did the right thing.

good on ya, mate! :)

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well trisha...we r almost anyting that the world can offer..from a teacher,nurse,doctor,lawyer, mayb at tat time u r set to be a policeman..noting to worry..IT COMES AUTOMATICALLY WHEN ITS NEEDED..hehehe...coz ive become one too...hehehehe

At 8:47 PM, Blogger jeffyen said...

Admirable. Totally appropriate response given the circumstances, I reckon ;)

At 12:26 AM, Anonymous sorethroat said...

If I see you reprimanding my children misbehaving, I would definitely welcome it. In fact I would give my children that 'serves you right' look.

We can't let the young think they could get away with mischief just because their parents or teachers aren't around.


At 2:19 AM, Blogger The Ego One said...

Hi Trisha
you did the right thing.
But for me I will always adopt the "keep-one-eye-closed" attitude.
I guess sometimes I really need to give myself a break from screaming at all these little brats at times.
the sad thing is that if we teachers don't do the scolding, will the parents do that?

At 3:41 AM, Anonymous kai said...

i think you did the right thing.

At 8:53 PM, Blogger stressed_teacher said...

I think you did the right thing. Often, most ppl don't dare to speak up, not so much because of indifference, but more because of cowardice.

Singapore is fast becoming a society where people only have the guts to complain behind your back or write a letter to the press. Most lack the basic courage to stand up directly against wrongdoings.

At 11:10 PM, Blogger trisha said...

Ha ha, so I am now not only a kaypoh teacher, but a grumpy old woman as well.

The Ego One: I would probably keep one eye closed too if the offenders were not primary school kids but upper secondary boys who are a head taller than me. Being a woman has its disadvantages!

At 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good on you! If I were their parent/teacher, I would thank you and then go on to scold them some more! But I wld also be embarrassed and next time, scold them first! so pai seh not to be able to discipline your own kids. :-(

At 5:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see a group of sec 2 / sec3 kids smoking at 7am . I just keep quiet. Not sure what I could do....


At 3:38 AM, Blogger stressed_teacher said...

To anonymous:

You could write a letter to the Forum Page...Ha ha ha..

People do the same thing when faced with public nuisances, like ppl using handphones in the cinemas, instead of telling them off directly.

Write a letter.

At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why should such behaviors be the disciplinary responsibility of teachers alone? Don't we have enough on our plates to be working overtime outside our school premises? Already, many of us spend time counseling students online, sms, even meeting them outside. We're not the moral police paid to patrol the ugly streets.

At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually to be honest, i think i wouldn't have liked it if you disciplined me or my kids. i'm not a fan of what i sometimes see as a bit too overbearing kaypoh teachers.(duh.) haha but i would probably have been happy if i was another passerby. i suppose you did what was right, and as long as it wasn't a humiliating or overly mean talk or anything like that it's okay. theoretically.

At 10:24 PM, Anonymous fighting fit said...

I won't necessarily call it occupational hazard. Maybe it appears to be in the way you deal with them. I think it is more civic mindedness that drives your action.

The last time I (and I ain't a teacher) publicly lost it and scolded some kids was when a bunch of boys bullied one boy by throwing stones at him. As I walked toward them, the hurling of verbal abuse and stones and earth continued. Came close to hitting me as I got within about 5m and yet they didn't stop. Like a drill sergeant, right hand out straight with thumb pointing at the hooligans, the order for ceasefire came right out, followed by a lecture for bullying the lone boy.

Occupational hazard? Yea, maybe. Army style? Very likely. Minus the cussing lah, cos they were afterall kids. But what drove it was standing up for what's right.


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