Features — 04 January 2013 — by Janus

To the Teachers

To be a teacher is a wise and wonderful vocation. Yours is the power to place a child on the road to becoming a good, decent, honorable and productive citizen. You will be doing your duty, if you teach well the subjects in the curriculum set by the Ministry of Education. That would be commendable, but if you teach your students a love of learning; to appreciate fine literature and the arts; to cultivate good manners; to practice personal hygiene; to respect and obey proper authority; and to live by the Golden Rule, the angels in heaven will rejoice. Then you will have fulfilled the promise of your high calling.

You remember how it was in your early school life. How one year was a struggle to get through, because your teacher seemed always to be in a bad mood. How the subjects taught were dull and boring. How it was difficult to be attentive and, how you wished that the year would end and, you could go on to the next class. That was your fault, because you did not understand why it was necessary to be schooled. Not entirely so. It was also because there are teachers who are only doing a job for pay. They do not have a real vocation. This essay is intended for them, for if children do not enjoy being in your class, you’ll not enjoy teaching them either, and you should, and they could.

First of all, school should be a controlled environment. There has to be discipline and order. Without these, even the teacher with the strong commitment to serve, might be unsuccessful. Teachers are authority figures and should have the power to exercise disciplinary control over the students in their class. Can they do it without resorting to the cane or the ruler, or some other instrument of discipline? Of course, provided they are child psychologists, or they have an imposing presence that instills fear, or they can command respect like a Sergeant Major in the Army. There are a few willful, high-spirited and headstrong children, not unintelligent, who have the capacity to lead, and who if brought under control, will amount to something. If not, they will take away the class from the teacher and go on to become a troublemaker in the society.

What are the Principal’s options in dealing with an unmanageable child? The easy route is to find a good reason to expel him and hand over the problem to another school. Is there any other option?

When I went to school, there were no unmanageable children. We found out on the first day of school that there was an authority in total control, which had to be obeyed. The authority had an inflexible will, but it was fair and just. It could be compassionate, even kind, however, it was completely committed to the ideal that every child had the capacity to learn, and the teachers were there to make sure that they made the effort to do so. Also, there was a code of conduct which had to be maintained.

Did teachers abuse the power given them to exercise disciplinary control over their students? Of course, they did. That is what power does to some people with the wrong temperament for their profession. They don’t belong in a classroom. I don’t know where they belong. Perhaps, they would make good soldiers, so long as they are not put in command. Still, it is absolutely essential that there is a high order of discipline in a school, else their products will be sub-standard.

Human nature has not changed since creation. We react to the same stimuli. We react in the same way to good or bad treatment and, the traditional ways to enforce discipline will succeed. Here is a good example.

The greatest nations in the seventeenth, eighteenth and ninetieth centuries were Great Britain and Germany. They had the best schools, high moral standards of behavior, and revered public institutions. They produced the best administrators, the best soldiers, and goods of the finest quality. Now these nations are in decline. We can still learn from them but, they are not the best present day models for us to emulate and, neither is America. We should adopt the school systems of Britain and Germany in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries and the moral standards of Queen Victoria’s England. It will make us a great nation.

The Scoffers

When they were young they attended a denominational school, where they were taught about God, and were obliged to go to church along with their classmates on regular occasions. They were also instructed in the doctrines of the denomination which administered the school. They considered it something they were obliged to do against their will.

They leave school without a proper grounding in the faith of their fathers, so, they can’t understand why people go to church on a Sunday morning when they could be lying in bed to a late hour, or go to a club and have fun with their friends. They say they believe in God but have no time for Him. Others lose their faith for different reasons like, if there was a God, He could not allow so many terrible things to happen to good innocent people, or other reasons that prove conclusively that He cannot exist. The worst of them become scoffers.

The scoffers like to stand by the wayside or sit at tables playing cards or checkers and watch the churchgoers passing by in their Sunday finery. Their purpose is to make fun of the churchgoers as a flock of sheep to be shorn by their pastor, who relies on their offerings for his livelihood. The faithful wouldn’t mind them saying that. It would only make them feel sorry for their poor misguided and foolish brethren. Unfortunately, their brethren have worse things to say about individual worshippers that they know for a fact are guilty of misdeeds and are less worthy than the scoffers. Scoffers are very judgmental.

Poor scoffers. They never understood why a benevolent and understanding God decided that His people should come together in one place and give Him praise and thanksgiving on a certain day each week. It is not for Himself but for people, because He knows that it is the best way for people to live.

The people serve God but, the church serves the people. When people come together in a church to worship their Creator, they establish a fellowship of worshippers. They become bonded as parts of one body.

Members of the same parish get to know and look out for each other. They will visit you if you are sick. They will come to your aid when you are in need. They will help you to get a job if you are unemployed and, they will help you to raise your children by keeping an eye on them when you are not around. It is a communal thing to belong to a church. That is how a benevolent Father wants His children to live. Man is not intended to be an island, but a part of the main. In time of need, the scoffers will have no one, dependable, to turn to but, your church brothers and sister will always stand beside you.

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