Sunday, March 29, 2015

Case #2: Punish or Not to Punish

Its weekday, nearing to bedtime and Aidan is still struggling with his homework. When asked, he told me it was an extra math’s homework that the teacher gave to the whole class due to one of their classmate did not finished his work the day before. To salt to the wound, the teacher even warned her students, should they failed to complete the given work and the ‘extra’ work, there will be more to come.

Poor Aidan! Since he started schooling, I never have problem with his homework. I do not have to remind him and it will all be completed in due time.

And being typical adult, I don’t intend to blame the teacher right away before understanding the whole situation. Traditionally, my parent would just ask me to complete the work for my own good. But what values are we instilling to these poor kids by doing these?

The stigma we live in:

Perhaps the intention is to ensure the students are responsible enough with their homework. Maybe this is one of the way to discipline students. 

 Is it taboo?

For whatever reason, I am against this, 101%! If there were teachers and parents who might think this works, re-think. 

Dear Parents (and teachers),
Yes, at some points, there's a need in telling the children who's the boss. By penalizing them, will set the boundaries, and hopefully, will teach them some lesson. 

On the other hand, we should always be rational in punishing. We wanted the children to have high standard of discipline as it helps in characters building. But then again, we also want them to know better that authorities don't mean you could just impose anything anywhere anytime. We are setting limits to the kids, we must be aware of what limits we are talking about. 

Imposing a penalty to the whole class just because some students did not complete their homework were surely a misuse of the authority a teacher has. A different approach should be consider to 

So, what did I do?
The only thing I could help in this situation is to explain to Aidan. I guess the way we, parents, explain such things to our children must be 'politically' correct too. We couldn't simply bash the teacher as this might make the children to lose respect to their teacher. Still, we couldn't shut things out, just because. 

The best are these:
  1. Tell them, the intention of the teacher is not to punish, but to give a stern warning to their friends who did not complete their work not to repeat  the same mistakes in the future. Everybody should know it is everyone's responsibility as a student to complete any given homework. 
  2. As a good friend, our children could also remind their friends (nicely) not to repeat the same mistakes as the saying goes, once bitten, twice shy. And it's also good to keep reminding themselves not to be the 'culprit' who forget to complete the homework and get everyone in trouble. 
  3. Tell them the truth what we think is right and what is not. In this case, I did specifically told Aidan I don't agree with the punishment given. The teacher shouldn't punish those students who diligently completing their work like Aidan. I told Aidan would do it differently, but as this happened just once, I guess we both will just 'monitor' the situation and should it repeats, I'll make a formal comment to the school. 
  4. On the other hand, be positive on things that had happened. By having extra work, Aidan could practice more on the subject matters and understand what he learned better. After all, the extra work not only to him, but to the teachers too.. I told him, he has to do only one extra work, while the teacher got to mark the whole class extra works. So it is more to teacher than to him. 
  5. To show my support, I stayed with him throughout the time until he completed the extra work. 
*             A happy ending?
Aidan still wasn't happy that he got punished for other's mistake. But this situation gave me an opportunity 'sometimes, in life, you'll get screwed up like this. Even you were good in your work, your team-mate might just spoiled it and you just have to take all the blame'. As long as he can stand by himself, he'll do fine.

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