Tuesday, June 15, 2010

School Discipline in Bong Son

Before I started Elementary school, I attended a smaller school site in the neighborhood.  I guess now we would call it preschool.  I remember my classroom were tiny. We probably had twelve children sitting around two rectangle tables.  I do not remember much about my teacher except that he was old and strict.  I was afraid of him and did not like school at all at the time. 

We were taught that teachers are just like your parents.  You will respect and obey unconditionally.  We would be punished harshly if we did not obey.  At this school we learned first not about academics except for reading and writing, but more importantly we learned how to have good characters.  I always
have to cite that "First we learn to respect, values, morals...how to be a good human being, and second is academic."  I asked my parents why and what was this means?  and they would tell me that no matter how smart I am or whoever I became later in life, if I did not have the first rule, I still would be nobody.  This did not mean much then, but it all makes sense now, and I am trying to teach my children the same ideas.

I do not remember what my friends and I  did wrong at the time, but I remember we were being punished by making us lie on top of my teacher's desk.  The one that initiated the wrong act, the most naughty one, was made to lie on the bottom, and the rest would be on top of each other respectively.  My teacher then would paddle us according to the level of our actions.

After the paddle, we were to kneel on a piece  of a jack fruit skin. It was spiny like a porcupine.  The rest of the students got to go home for lunch.  I guess that day my mom did not see me come home as usual, so she walked to the school.  I saw her from afar and started to cry, thinking she was coming to my rescue.  When she saw that I was kneeling with two children being punished, she stopped, looked at me sadly, and  turned herself around to go home without saying anything.  I was so disappointed and tried  hard to hold my tears.  I knew my mom was disappointed in me, and she was sad because I did not get to eat lunch.  We had a good talk that night, and I understood that I needed to be on my best behavior, for my parents had entrusted me to the teacher. My parents would not interfere with the teaching.

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