With teachers gradually losing their grasp on the concept of punctuality and abilities to keep track of time, the painful sight of long queues that greet you after climbing down 10 blocks of stairs has become more prevalent as the year goes on.
Recess was supposed to be a time of relaxation. It’s supposed to be a time when we catch up with our friends, find out what nonsense they were up to, and how screwed up their lives are etc. Nowadays, most students spend the majority of this rare period of freedom, queueing up for (in my case), excessively overpriced, immensely undersized food.
It is extremely heartbreaking to see how our dear recesses are being eaten up (no pun intended) by various teachers whose “Let me finish this question” requires a severely underestimated 10 mins. A simple “What’s 1+1?” question can lead to this huge amazing miraculous life story on how Tom-worked-so-hard-and-finally-achieved-his dreams. I mean, don’t get me wrong I feel great for whoever Tom-guy this teacher’s talking about, but with all due repsect, you releasing the class on time for once is more miraculous than what Tom will ever achieve in his entire lifetime.
Not to mention horrible time planning. As much as we appreciate your kind generosity, allocating 40 mins to complete a fill-in-the-blank worksheet and 10 mins to teach a major topic that constitutes most of the marks in the finals isn’t exactly… efficient? On the other hand, we have some really passionate teachers. Really, really passionate and enthusiastic about teaching. Till the point whereby we’re forced to complete our homework in class or we’re not allowed to be dismissed. The ‘home’ in homework obviously means nothing right?
And the funny bit is that teachers seem to have this ironic habit of stressing how important punctuality is. They may argue that their phones ran out of battery, but don’t you find it fascinating how they always seem to have a fully charged tablet, a MacBook, a smartphone, and another smartphone on their desks everytime you conduct their lessons? Maybe I should have given you the benefit of the doubt. After all, tablets, laptops, and smartphones can’t tell time right?
You may argue that hey, I have so much work to mark and I lost track of the time. If you have been paying attention in class, 15 years of education would have taught you that teachers follow a standard procedure and protocol when they’re dishing out this excuse. They’ll start of by saying how much work they have that needed to be marked, followed by rambling on how horribly atrocious some of your classmates’ work are, then proceed by telling you that setting worksheets require humongous amounts of time, and finally end off by rehearsing to you the mindset that since we teachers have worked so hard to provide for you, you should respect our hard work and hand in quality assignments. If you haven’t noticed, what they are saying plays nearly no relevance to them explaining why they’re late, and also, if you haven’t noticed, it’s already 15 mins past your recess.
When you came late and dismiss us late, you affect us more than you can imagine. Toilet breaks becomes a luxury, having quick chats with friends become extinct, and now I have no time to style my hair because I have to rush to the next class. The teacher would be expectedly angry since ‘we were not punctual’, and lashes out at us, vent their frustrations, voice their displeasures etc. The lesson would be dragged on and on till it overshoots, again, the next teacher would be enraged as well, and this vicious cycle just cruelly repeats itself.
At the end of the day, teachers have an equal part to play in ensuring that punctuality is not a forgotten virtue. Students make the effort to run up flights of stairs to ensure they’re early for lessons, and similarly you teachers should uphold this value too. Like what my teacher (who is always late) tells me, “It’s never nice to wait for people”, it’s really inconvenient when we have to force fit our schedules and adapt into yours. The staff room may prohibit food and drinks, but I’m pretty sure they allow alarm clocks.
And a smartphone.
Lhu Wen Kai