Perturbed is how I feel about the how the younger generation is speaking nowadays. They’ve taken to writing fiery statements on their social networking accounts against the imagined banes of their lives without thinking of the repercussions of their words. Take this friend of mine. When she logged on to her Yahoo Messenger (YM) account, she was met with a disquieting status of one of her students: “Screw the chemistry research paper”. I knew the student and the chemistry teacher, and the story behind the chemistry research paper. To prepare them for paper 3 for their upcoming IGCSE exams, the teacher thought it’d be a good exercise for the students to do a research paper on the chemical industries. Naturally, they had to have viable research proposals so time would have been spent wisely. Some of the students got it right after two or three drafts of their proposals and have since moved on to constructing their topic and sentence outlines. The one who wrote the YM status was moving towards her fourth draft of her research proposal.

Parallel to the verbal tirade is the non-verbal tirade of pent-up aggression. Another teacher-friend of mine came face-to-face with the research outlines she marked assiduously crumpled and submitted alongside the revised outlines. She was aghast at the audacity of the teenager; she felt her blood curdling in anger and her stomach churning in disgust. She wasn’t going to apologize for the notes written in red as well as the myriad corrections she did to the paper. Bottom line: the thesis statement had to be polished and the sub-headings and topics organized.

Equally disconcerting is when these people are met head-on for an explanation. The bravura quickly disappears and one is met with meek replies of “I didn’t mean it. I was stressed and confused.” Quite telling is the absence of an apology.

It’s the unsaid parts of their verbal and non-verbal diatribes that leave me chafing at the collar and empathizing for my teacher-friends who have not been remiss in their duties. What do they get in return for moulding the minds of the future leaders? Whines, moans and groans as well as outbursts that cross the borders of politeness.  It’s the Catch-22 situation of education these days: students size up their teachers, feeling that they’re entitled to it and, sadly, they don’t even question their own capabilities; the flipside of the coin is the dedicated teachers are maligned and vilified on social networking sites when they push their students to do their best.

The word is powerful than the sword. A wound from a sword can heal in a shorter time and, in fact, disappears, but the effect of words is deeper. In this case, it makes these dedicated educators ponder if everything is worth it. They are, after all, not on a mission to lead students to tortuous paths and expose them to torturous projects and whatnot. True cerebral training doesn’t come in a DIY box available over the counter. It’s a cliché but it’s an apt one that should be bandied about the students’ faces until they see the light at the end of their myopic vision.


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