It seems as though teachers these days are obsessed with disciplining students, either through corporal punishment or through a form much worse — by embarrassing a child in front of the entire class. Many teachers don’t realize that every child is fragile, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally. In a classroom, they will talk, will fidget, and will not be able to concentrate throughout the entire lesson. It is natural, since they are children.
Teachers yelling at the top of their voices is nothing new, not to mention having children stand in a corner or even having them punished outside the classroom is common too. Some are even made to become a murga, a form of punishment unique to Indian students, or are made to walk around in the school all day with a sign around their neck stating their ‘crime’ by insensitive teachers who have redefined cruelty. Of course, some teachers have plenty of other methods of humiliation up their sleeves to devastate a child’s self esteem.
When parents sends their child to school, they are entrusting a child’s well-being with teachers so that they can take care of the child, but many children have to suffer emotionally at schools. Not every child is going to get an A+, not every child is going to score a 90 percent in their exams; every child is different. Some actually have learning difficulties that even their parents are unaware of.
Some children laugh a lot. There are teachers who question this quality of theirs and discourage them. Please don’t snatch a child’s smile away. They are precious little beings. While educating children, if teachers can imagine the students to be their own, love and compassion will flow. If only teachers would start treating children with love instead of hatred, we might achieve results which we otherwise don’t, by hurting them physically and emotionally.
A teacher is responsible for moulding the lives of students academically, and at the same time, for inculcating values such as kindness and tolerance, which obviously cannot be done without setting an example. Teaching kindness while being cruel is absurd and does not speak well of teachers.
I remember a ten-year-old student in my class who did not get desirable marks, who was pulled out from his seat and made to stand in front of the class, and the remaining students were asked to sing “shame, shame.” It has been nearly two decades and I still remember the look on the boy’s face, even though I don’t remember his name. Another boy was not allowed to go to the bathroom by his teacher and he ended up urinating in his pants, and then he cried. I remember his tears. Remembering that incident brings tears to my eyes. What would the teacher have lost had she allowed him to use the toilet?
In the newspaper, I read about a young girl who was stripped in front of the entire class because the teacher thought that she had stolen her belonging. The teacher found nothing and the girl was proven innocent; she had nothing to do with the theft. While the girl had not indulged in the crime, a crime was clearly committed against her – a ghastly one.
Teachers should realize that the wounds of physical punishment disappear, but the scars of humiliation and verbal abuse don’t.