Jumaat, 30 Julai 2010

Teachers oh teachers

Sometimes I hate to read the newspaper. Sensational issues are given priority in the tabloid newspaper. I just arrived home from work. I saw one of the famous tabloid newspaper on the table in my house. The front page news stated "school girl was raped by her teacher in the day light". I stopped and read through. However I stopped half way because I hate to read that kind of story. I am a paediatrician and I have seen worse than that. I was emotionally affected by the news on how the young school girl was raped by the most trusted person - her teacher. I just could not imagined how devastated the parents of this girl. The daughter that they love and care very much was sexually abused by a man whom they taught the most harmless and responsible person. Parents always look high on teaching profession because teachers make us what we are today. As a teacher, he should showed a good example to the students and taught them to be a better and successful person. The girl's future was ruined. Some of the cases of sexually abused child that I managed in my hospital, had to go for a serial of counseling sessions with the child psychiatrist. Some of them ended up in the sex business when they grow up. Public will look down on them. I always reminded my children to be careful and not to trust anyone else including their teachers or lecturers. I always reminded them not to see the lecturer alone. always bring friends along especially when the meeting is in the lecturer's room. I just wanted them to be more careful.
Teachers 30 years ago were so much different from current era. Many junior teachers nowadays are not as dedicated as my teachers many years ago. I respected my teachers even until now. I will never forget all my teachers who have a very significant role in my carrier and in my life after my family. I could not repay them back for all the knowledge and the passion that they have for me in making me a successful doctor. My primary school teachers, my secondary school teachers and all the professors in the medical faculty of UKM. They were so committed with their work and their profession. They sincerely guided my friends and I and ever willing to give an extra classes after office hour just to ensure that we pass our exam. Most of my teachers were very fierce but they were good teachers. Now, they are my friends and colleagues. I used to hear my children made terrible comments on their teachers. I am not saying that all teachers nowadays are not good. There are many of them are excellent teachers and committed to their work. However, there are significant numbers of them are incompetent and have poor attitude as well as poor knowledge. They became teachers or lectures not because they love the job but they have no choice for whatever reasons there may be. They don't teach the students sincerely. They prefer to be the receiver rather than the giver. Want more but give less. I didn't make this thing up but I got this feed back from my sister in-law who is a teacher herself and the headmaster in one of the school in Negeri Sembilan. She told me her frustration on the quality of teachers now. There are many problems related to the attitude of junior teachers. Not all of them but significant numbers. The junior teachers gave her more problems than the senior ones. Every now and then, their works need to be checked. They need to be encouraged and reminded all the time to be more proactive and committed in their work. This phenomena is not only apparent in schools but in all learning institutions. Medical schools are not excluded. It is a global issue. Students never respect their teachers anymore. I guess all these started from home. The way we bring up our children. Bad teachers produce bad students. Good teachers produce good students. Let us look at the houseman training now. Previously, the houseman training was only one year duration but now it is increased to 2 years training period. Why? This is due to the poor knowledge and skill among the medical students produced by the universities lately. On top of that, some of them have bad attitude. Be it local or overseas. One year term is not enough to make them a safe doctor and can stand alone managing patients in the peripheral clinic. Not only that, KKM has to come out with special programme to train them. The HO training give all the specialists and consultants a nightmare or even a night terror. The senior doctors have to do more teaching and guidance. We have to spoon feed them all the time. They took a longer duration of time to learn. Despite having 2 years HO training period, significant numbers of them got extended in some of the postings especially paediatric posting. Most of these housemen were good students to start with but obviously being a good student will not guarantee that they will become a good doctor. Sometimes we have to teach them from the basic. Their medical knowledge and skill can be considered as zero in some of them especially those who are graduated from some universities like Cairo, Indonesia and Russia. Being a senior doctor that have been in the service for more than 24 years, I can see the deterioration in the quality of the new generation of doctors in our country. I am very worry that if there is no measure taken by the higher authority to look into these problems before it is too late. I have a feeling that sooner or later, the HO training will be extended to 3 or 4 years because 2 years will be insufficient to train them. Otherwise, these future doctors will harm the patients instead of making them well and healthy.
When we talked about teacher, I classified them into 2 categories. The "formal teachers" are true teachers that teach in school, colleges and higher learning institutions where as the informal teachers consists of parents, friends and others who are also important in the making of great students. I guess all teachers should have positive attitude to improve their knowledge and skill in teaching from time to time. They have to be more proactive and should not take teaching profession likely. Our children is the future of our nation and all of us carry a great responsibility to turn them into the most valuable individual. Most of all, teachers shouldn't take advantage on their students. Instead, they should be their protector. Love them the way you love your own.

Ahad, 4 Julai 2010

School Examination - my view

A few weeks ago, I read in the newspaper that our government was considering to abolish the UPSR and PMR examinations. Therefore, our children will have only SPM and STPM before they move on to enter the universities. I was very upset of these news. I know it didn't effect me so much because I don't have anymore younger children but what about my grandchildren. On the way to work on the next morning, I was thinking and thinking. What is going to happen to our future generation. I remembered when I was in the primary school and secondary school. I had to sit for standard 5 exam, SRP/LCE and SPM before I proceed to do my matriculation. I have many friends from different races, I meant Chinese and Indians. Not only Malay friends. Nowadays, looking at my children, currently they are 18 years of age, they only have malay friends. They have no opportunity to mix around with friends from different races. All these due to the education system that we have currently. Sometimes, I pity them. Most Chinese will attend Chinese school and Indians will go to Tamil school. When our children have to learn in English, many people were against it but as a mother, I can see that my girls have a better English. They have more confident to speak English in the public. As we can see it and whether we like it or not, English is our second language. Most books for references are in English. Job seekers are required to communicate in English. However, when there was pressure from certain group of people that their children could not cope and learned certain subjects in English, rather than looking into the basic of the problems, the government decided to change back to the original Malay language to please these people. Government should have put a lot of thought into these matter and did a survey why some students especially from the rural areas unable to cope with English subjects. From my observation in the school where my nephews and nieces schooling, some teachers who have to teach in English were not good in their English as well. So, how are they going to teach if they themselves are not good. The Ministry of Education should do something about training the teachers to speak English and teach the students accordingly.The respective teachers should be sent to courses to improve their skills. Only skilled teachers are chosen to teach the students in English language subjects. I am a doctor and we communicate in English during our work. I can see some of my HOs and MOs have poor English command. Eventhough there are good but they cannot express their views well. They struggle in their day to day work. They tend to go into the state of depression easily when they see their other collegues can speak English well. Their coping mechanisms also very poor. They have very low self esteem. Frequent modifications in the school curriculum won't give any good to anyone, instead it will do more harm, I think. Normally when changes are made, we need many years to evaluate the outcome of that particular changes and analyse them before new changes can be made for the benefit of all our children and our country indirectly. Changes are only required if they really necessary, not bacause of the change in the leadership in the Ministry of Education or just for the sake of making changes so that people will see it as if we are doing something regardless whether the changes are necessary or not. We should change for the better not for the worse. Regarding the abolishment of UPSR and PMR exams, I personally disagree with that decision. Examination is one of the way for us to assess our knowledge and progress in learning as well as in skill. No doubt examination is one of the stress factor in learning but at least we can know where our students stand in their understanding on certain subjects on top of the daily assessment. Our children need to be taught to cope with stress every now and then so that they will know how to deal with it wisely. Examination will encourage them directly to do better and to set their goal or target. It will give us the measurement of the students knowledge so that certain actions can be instituted to improve the results. Without examination, we have to rely on day to day assessment only. In my clinic, I managed to interview a few students who came for their follow up with their mothers. Majority of these students were so happy if there was no examination. They said they don't have to study so hard until SPM. They don't have to try to get good results because they will be in the same school until SPM. Teachers also have no target. Everybody will become so complesant, happy live and when SPM come, then only the teachers will start to struggle to finish whatever subjects they have have to teach before the exam. Later if the results of the students are not up to the standard, the passing marks will be reduce by the ministry so that the results will look good on paper. You just think what is going to happen to our beloved country in the future. I am scared...How about you?