The advent of liberalism and a much more enlightened outlook in a new generation of parents have led to a concomitant rise in student indiscipline, as parents assert that only they, and not teachers, have the right to punish their child.
I advise parents who support this stand to reconsider.
Teachers handle a class of 30 to 40 students daily.
There are always some children who are a handful during lessons, who are inattentive, disruptive, defiant, not cooperative and so on. Teachers have to stop lessons midway to deal with such misbehaving children.
There are very limited options available to a teacher to rein in a disorderly learner.
He cannot administer corporal punishment. Nor can he scold the child, send him out of the classroom, isolate him, keep him in during recess or make him write lines.
The alternative is to ignore the troublesome child, or refer him to the school counsellor or discipline master.
Unfortunately, this is just passing the buck.
The teacher is the one who can deliver an instant check on a misbehaving child.
However, if the teacher knows he could face the ire of over-protective and demanding parents, he may just take the easier path.
Much time and effort are wasted by teachers who use "soft" methods to discipline miscreants. A street-smart child knows how to manipulate the teacher and out-talk and out-manoeuvre him.
The adage "spare the rod and spoil the child" holds true for all time. It would be too late to instil discipline and straighten a person's wayward ways once they have been firmly entrenched.
That said, I do not advocate a return to the days of slapping children, caning them indiscriminately or administering other physical punishments that hurt.
Parents who wish to withhold the right of teachers to discipline their children have to be proactive and fully supportive of the school in resolving complaints that their child has broken school rules.
They should consider the other children who want to be educated without the hassle of lessons being disrupted by a misbehaving minority.
Ho Kong Loon