Forum: Sometimes, teachers lose respect by their actions

I disagree with Forum writer Sherman Prescott Shotam that teachers are always deserving of respect (Students and parents not showing teachers the respect they deserve, May 25).

My primary and secondary school teachers did make me the man I am today, someone with zero tolerance for abuse of authority who will not hesitate to tell off even bosses if they cross the line. But I'm not sure about their methods.

One teacher in primary school punished me for something I did not do. Another primary school teacher forced me to sell an extra item - that I had just in case I needed it - to a classmate who had forgotten to bring his. And a primary school teacher confiscated and read my diary by threatening to take me to the principal if I did not hand it over.

And I will never forget the words one secondary school teacher uttered when she blindly took the side of her star pupils: "These are the people I trust."

I concede, though, that her pedagogic skills were excellent since even I, her worst student, went from F9 all the way to A1. But as an educator, she failed terribly, I would say.

So yes, I feared my teachers then but no, I did not respect them.

There is probably good reason why antiquated disciplinary methods are no longer considered acceptable in class.

And perhaps parents today are just trying to protect their children from what they themselves had experienced in school.

Terence Lim

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