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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Dr. Meanie

Even though I really enjoy teaching, every now and then… it just stops me in my tracks. I guess I have to see it coming, nothing is perfect and everything has its down sides. Ah well, just hope it does not change me too much. And Al ahmdulillah for all the good it does for me. I have to be grateful to God for it, really.

I was just talking to Me a little while ago, and she said she wants to talk about teaching as well. Don't know yet what her topic is exactly, but I do enjoy her comradeship. And would like her input on this. Actually I think several bloggers I know are teachers. Irina for one. Mmm.. who else?

Well my dilemma again…. I feel that I am becoming mean. Really. And I hate it. I do not like being mean to anyone. And I just hate it when one of the girls I teach gives me this look.. as if she hates me. But what can I do?

Sometimes I just have to be mean or firm… or else they just abuse you and literally suck you dry. You start out trying to be nice and understanding, accommodating. The kids today are suffering enough as it is… then sometimes they just get on your nerves and you turn into "Dr. Meanie".

An example:

I teach this section where half of the girls of the second year attend. And every week I find more than half of the other section attending too! It is because they prefer the time this section is taught, in opposition to the other section, which ends at 5 pm. I understand this feeling, but it is too much really. I get an increase of workload by 50%! This is not a section where I just lecture, it is a practical session, where I supervise the work of every girl. So it does make a difference. And the lab becomes so crowded and noisy. Last time, I told them that every person should attend in their own times. So today, faced with the same situation again.. I just sent them out. Even after they literally were begging me to stay. And I said no. I felt really mean. I felt it was for the sake of discipline more than the logistics.

Sorry for the boring details, but it made me feel really bad about myself.
After that, giving them a lecture, I noticed a girl in the second row chatting with her friend. To this girl I simply said: if you want to talk to your friend, then you do not have to attend the lecture. Meanie again. :(

Then I just said to myself: what the hell are you turning into? You are becoming so mean! Why don't you just taneshy! Eh el moshkela. Why have I become one of those teachers that are too strict, ghelsa ya3ny?

This also made me feel like a hypocrite big time.

Remembering my own days in college... I was way worse than them. These girls are angels in comparison to me and my friends. I never talked much in the lectures,...because I simply did not attend most of them! I preferred sitting in the sun with my friends. I also remember the way we used to regard the teachers that were just like I am now... we used to look at them as up tight. And really really not fun people at all.

I never followed all these proper ethics of learning when I was in their place… so what gives me the right to judge them or be strict. Does that make me a hypocrite? I know now that my attitude in college was wrong and disrespectful at best….but that can't mean I can just encourage the same.. just cause I used to do it.

I remember when I used to watch over them when they were in exams…. One girl politely asked me if she can ask her friend about something in the answer of one question. (cheat...but in a nice way I guess). This was not only refused by me… I was genuinely flabbergasted at the request. I felt it was unbelievable what she was asking. Cheat! What! Is she crazy!!!!

Retelling this to a friend of mine later… it was her turn to be shocked, but for other reasons. She was shocked that I denied the girl. " what ? I can not believe you said no to her!" you are one of those really ghelseen teachers walla eh?
You forgot how we used to be ? why are you acting so shocked!!!?

The strange thing was… I was not pretending to be shocked at the cheat request. It was genuine. I guess our view of things change when we are at the opposite end of the situation. And I do think cheating is wrong. And I would not do it now (I hope) if put in the situation. I guess I changed since then. But I guess I have to remember how it was then… to try to understand their point too. Not be so judgmental at least.

Mish 3arfa ba2a. just did not like the feeling of meanness that I imposed today upon myself. Did not like the hypocrisy feeling either. But otherwise they would eat me alive!


  • At 1/05/2006 12:50 PM, Blogger irina said…

    So now you understand that our teachers, while lecturing us and patronizing us, were not mean at all! That's what I understand now, as a teacher myself... I have to think about discipline, I have to scream (my pupils are much younger) I have to be mean... but I know I am not! And when a pupil does get to know me in different circumstances, they can feel that.
    Don't feel guilty for doing what you have to do. It can help you comparing yourself as a student to your students, but it doesn't change the situation...
    I hated some of my teachers, now I am one... and hated by some of my students as well... As you said, nothing and no one is perfect, nobody can stay clean I guess! That's supposed to be though, don't worry.

  • At 1/06/2006 2:15 PM, Blogger Wonderer said…

    Don't feel guilty Doshar. It is your duty to be mean, you are teaching them manners, ethics and discipline as well as dentistry. Sometimes, I feel the same way when I deny my son something. I tell myself that I used to be like him or maybe worse. But when we grow old we see things from a different angle.

  • At 1/06/2006 4:28 PM, Blogger doshar said…

    yeah gals, i know. i can't do it any other way. it is good to learn about one's self though. and i feel for my previous teachers. it justs feels wierd. it is not usually in my nature to deny people things and be strict like that. i guess if i don't do that with my kids ISA they would urn out spoilt rotten!

  • At 1/07/2006 10:52 AM, Blogger Fiza said…

    oh wow ur muslim too - sorry just clicking next blog next blog cus im procrastinating - anyways salaam !

  • At 1/13/2006 9:46 PM, Blogger Me said…

    Sorry it took me soooooooo long to give you my input on this ya Dodo... was really busy and to comment on this I needed to be "ray2a keda"...

    So where should I start ? First of all... I guess teaching in college is quite a different experience ... I mean I do teach adults .. but in language institutes and things like that ... not college... in college I guess you have to be firmer and discipline your students more...

    mayeb so that you don't face the "lab" problem again you could tell them from the very beginning of the semester/year or whatever that this sort of thing won't be tolerated (attending not in their time) ... even though I knwo some people will still try to attend but at least they'll be fewer...I don't think you're were being mean telling them to attend in their own section ... after all it's for their own good .. I mean if you can't follow up with what they're doing they won't knwo if it's right or not ... you could also try tellign them that...

    "To this girl I simply said: if you want to talk to your friend, then you do not have to attend the lecture. Meanie again. :("

    You may have been a little too firm here ... but then again it depends on the situation... if it's someone who's always talking .. she deserved it...but the thing is soemtimes we teachers "snap" at our students when we don't really mean to... I try my best not to do that but "it happens"

    "Cheat! What! Is she crazy!!!!"

    "She was shocked that I denied the girl"

    I think you were right here ...and with all due respect to your friend... she shouldn't be shocked ... so what if at one time you weren't as disciplined as you are now? It doesn't make you a hypocrite ... We grow up, we learn, and we change ... if every person in your place said "never mind ... I used to do that when I was young" ... it would become a neverending cycle !!! We'd never stop cheating !!! Thumbs up to you here... and always remember "man ghashanna fa laysa min-na"

    This whole teaching thing is complicated ... and it depends on what type of students you're teaching ... children .. teenagers... college students... adults ... all so very different ... yet all here to learn...

    Rabena yewafa2ek :)


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