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.

Monday, April 30, 2007

National Ed vs Moral Ed

A friend I had dinner with last night asked about the 2 months inactivity in my blog.

Frankly, I was surprised, and dismayed too, to realise I had let things slip for so long. The usual workload is the chief culprit, but the other reason, I suspect, is a sense of tiredness and a creeping despondency over the state of things around me. I don't know what to blog, and if blogging about anything makes a difference at all.

My teaching is fine, I'm still happy doing it. But the environment in which I have to work in, is beginning to feed my cynicism over whether there's anything motivating, inspirational or optimistic I can still impart to my students.

I'm not talking about my school environment. I'm talking about the larger society, where the ministerial salary hikes, the political strutting of people puffed up with a sense of their own self-importance, the denigration of other countries and their leaders as 'ordinary' and hence not as unique as our own, have invaded my thoughts in the last month. All these self-justification and materialistic reductionism, run counter to the many values I espouse and want to impart to my students.

"I don't know how to infuse National Education (NE) in my lessons anymore," I told a friend recently. "I can't explain, with much conviction, many things our leaders are doing. I don't know what to say when students ask me why our government is the highest paid in the world, or why we need to have 2 casinos."

"Forget about NE!" he replied. "Don't you think it's more urgent that we infuse Moral Education now?"

It really got me thinking. I think my friend is right. We're living in a nation that's moving alarmingly towards the worship of mammon and elitism. I think if our young ones grow up thinking it is alright to sacrifice basic virtues for economic reasons, then we've lost our soul.

Perhaps it is out of necessity now that we infuse Moral Education in our lessons, rather than relegate it to a 30 minute lesson every week, and often sacrificed to do revision for other subjects near exam time. Instead of requiring that teachers hammer hard all the NE messages into our students' heads, it is more crucial that they hear more about values from us, values that are getting harder to see practised in real life by the adults around them. After all, if the fundamental values of integrity, honesty, compassion and humility are passed on successfully to our kids, there won't be a need to do NE anymore. They'll know why we need to love and serve the country.