RAJ PANEKEN

    I am a retired education officer, but if I have to start again, I will never join the teaching profession. The underlying reason behind that aversion for teaching is that today teaching has become a killing job, unlike what it was when I joined that profession― a real pleasure! Today anyone in the field of teaching will tell you that teaching is no picnic. It has become a veritable uphill task, especially in State Secondary Schools with the mounting indiscipline and violence at school. With the growing indiscipline coupled with an acute lack of cooperation on the part of the learners for the teacher, teaching has definitely lost its flavour and makes it a repulsive job.

Without the undivided cooperation of the learners the teacher, in spite of all his competence and enthusiasm for the job, will find it extremely difficult to deliver the goods. He is preaching in the desert. He is tiring himself to no purpose. He is casting pearls before swines while the attention of the class is being focused elsewhere like chatting, exchanging comments, using their mobiles, etc. Sometimes, in spite of himself, he is compelled to swim with the tide to avoid incurring their ill-feelings― if you can’t beat them, join them.

    Teaching is sheer pleasure when the teacher gets the undivided cooperation and attention of the class. He can work for hours because he is assisted in his task. Time seems to fly without his being aware of it because he feels comfortable. But in the absence of class cooperation, he finds it difficult to operate and time lingers long.

He is like the cornered boxer who is waiting desperately for the gong to sound to end up his ordeal. Therefore at the end of the day the goods have not been delivered― the teacher has not been able to teach and the learners have not made the most of the class because they have not helped the teacher to help them.

   Today many teachers will tell you of their reluctance to attend duty on Monday when they think of the weekly ordeal which is in store for them in terms of indiscipline and the total absence of cooperation on the part of the students. Formerly pupils were unwilling to go to school. On Monday morning they behaved like Tom Sawyer of Mark Twain, who invented all sorts of pretexts to stay at home. Today it is the reverse. It is the teachers who are reluctant to go to school on Monday while the students look forward to their attendance at school since they are sheltered under an umbrella of rights at the expense of the teachers’ control. They know only their rights while they are ignorant of their limitations.

    It has been said that teaching is a noble profession and the teachers is a respected person. Today teaching has lost « ses lettres de noblesse » and the teacher is no longer the respected person. The mark of respect and affection which was the pride of teaching has disappeared to make room for defiance and lack of deference for the teachers. Today the teacher is no longer awe-inspiring. He or she is an easy target once they get into the black book of the students who can make him or her become a sour and disillusioned teacher.

   The teacher who is confronted with such a pack of trouble-makers can have a tough time and they can make his job doubly difficult. This kind of class situation may sour his attitude towards teaching, make him develop a distaste for the job. The new generation of students are becoming more and more assertive and recalcitrant. And teaching them is definitely no picnic to a new recruit or even to those who are already in that field.

Discipline, The Basis Of A School

 If today our standard of education is on the downward trend, the growing indiscipline in school has definitely something to do with it. We are churning out quantity at the expense of quality. The mounting indiscipline in class is a contributory factor to it. Year in, year out indiscipline at school is gaining momentum. Class disturbance has become an insuperable obstacle to teaching. There are many students who just come to school to disturb the class. They take a sadistic pleasure in taunting the teacher. A school which is bankrupt of discipline is like a ship without rudder. If drifts from the direction it is supposed to take with the result that the school system itself is wrecked. Discipline is the basis of a school where teaching and learning are solidly anchored. Therefore in the absence of an uncompromising discipline, it is the performance of the school which carries the can.

   However, teaching is an integral part of any civilized society. « Qui dit société, dit école pour former cette société ». School and colleges cannot be closed down because of the mounting indiscipline and violence.  A solution has to be found to contain it. It is to be noted that all the students are not class-disturbers. There are those who are willing to learn and are therefore cooperative and tractable, and there are those who are utterly uninterested in their studies and are therefore mischief prone and uncooperative. Very often a class is made up of a blend of these students, and teaching in a class like this is a real drudgery.

The Solution― Camera

Surveillance And Discipline Wardens

   To clamp down on the growing indiscipline at school, I suggest that Secondary Schools move on to Camera Surveillance in all classrooms and on the school compound along with Discipline Wardens. Each level of a S.S.S. should have a discipline warden whose overriding duty will be to monitor the behaviour of the students, their language, way of dressing, punctuality, and be ready to intervene in any class disturbance. All these should be partnered with class civism and moral values― what they should do, what they should not do, and what they need to do.

Camera Surveillance is an effective tool in the fight against indiscipline at school. It assists the teacher to teach and the learners to learn. Once the students are conscious that they are under Camera Surveillance, they behave otherwise since they know that their behaviour is being monitored and recorded, and can be reviewed.

    So we can give back Teaching « ses lettres de noblesse » provided the political will is here!