With all the recent news articles between parents and teachers, it is easy to see how taking care of our children are no longer as before.

A reader has written in to share her side of the story with me and I have requested for her permission to share with our readers – with the condition that her name is not shared.

This reader is currently a Secondary school teacher who teachers Science.

“As a teacher, I always believe that it has always been my responsibility to ensure that a child learns and the responsibility falls on them to complete any given bite-sized assignments in the lesson. I always ensure that when assignment is given for completion during the lesson, it must be done. It doesn’t matter if I help to relieve a class or if it’s my own class – my belief is the same. So far, I have met with no troubles… until this particular class.

When A Class of Students Think that They are Really Smart…

It was considered the best class in the whole of level 2 academically. It was obvious that they themselves believe that they are extremely intelligent as well.  Notice I only used one word “academically”…I didn’t mention for any other traits. Why do I mention that?

One particular incident came to mind: The class had assumed “Obama” was the NAME of “Mr Barack Obama” and had argued with teachers. They only kept quiet when it was Googled that it was otherwise and later claimed that they were really testing the teachers. Where was the humility?


As the school’s population was small, we had the luxury of banding the classes. So this class was split into two and were taught by two teachers separately. Whenever one of us is away, the other had to take over. That week, the teacher was away on a course and so I took over for both sides. Thus, this means I had little contact with this half of the class.

The Incident

After I went through the lessons and it was their turn to complete the assignments, some students from this batch started talking. Perhaps it was the period just before recess and they were getting tired. I approached the talkative ones ( especially 1 girl and 1 boy) individually but they were only quiet for a while. The assignments were not getting done by these two students.

Frustrated, I mentioned that only after you completed your assignment – then you are allowed to leave for recess. This comment was made 10 minutes BEFORE the commencement of recess. (For the record, I was planning to keep them back for 5 minutes at most. My principal even allowed this practice. I know hunger. Everyone knows hunger.)

Some parents may be thinking to themselves,” This teacher must have been yelling at them.” Sorry to surprise you but no. My tone was even, composed but firm. Did I lay any hand on them or make them go through corporal punishment? Sorry to disappoint but no.

This elicited the biggest responses from the ones WHO WERE TALKING EARLIER! While the rest got down to it and completed the assignments, the ones who were talking earlier realised that they were at the biggest disadvantage.

So what did they do?

Did they get down to it? Did they hustle?


They whined. They yelled.


One girl said “I will complain about you to my parents so that they will complain to MOE so they can fire you!” 

Think that this sentence is really folklore? Think this happens in good schools? Nope, this is an average neighbourhood school.

I was shocked. The boy (who TOP the class last year) started sprouting how schools’ timings are really demeaning to the whole educational system and that “studies have shown” that students should not start school before 8 am and such. By this time, it was only 9.45am in the morning. Therefore, he would not do any assignments.

When I held on to my beliefs that all assignments should be done, he grabbed his bag and walked out to go for recess.

Though these students apologised to me later, it served as a huge disappointment to me. It gives me the impression that for all these years before they entered secondary 2, they must have watched or seemed their parents handling similar situations as such.

Are we too quick to jump in to threaten to talk to the teachers in front of our kids? Are we setting the wrong example?

Our kids learn every example or step we take.

Just recently, I found out my niece was doing the exact same thing except not to teachers but to her friends. She threatened her friends that her mother would ‘raise hell’ for anyone who bad mouthed her again!

Why are we not teaching them how to handle such situations?

If you were me, what would you have done?

Thank you for this outlet. I really needed to say something.”

I like to thank this contributor for her story. It is very insightful indeed.

As an educator or parent, do you have any stories, thoughts or even comments that you like to share? If you do, feel free to email at or drop me a message at