Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Teaching them to be hungry

Photo by Irfan Darian (2011)
In my relatively short teaching career so far, one thing that I realise is the need for a teacher to not only be just teaching content and subject mastery, but also life skills. And one challenge that I have is this idea about teaching my young charges about being hungry...and perhaps even staying so! And no it's not about being literally hungry, but rather being hungry in a constantly dynamic and evolving world.

Why do I say that? I guess sometimes we as educators, we do tend to focus on the immediacy of our actions, of our teachings, and perhaps what better way for a teacher to see the fruits of his or her labour, than to base them on the results that their charges would have gotten from tests, exams and a host of other myriad assessments. Immediate gratification much? But is it really all about that? I mean if that is the eventual aim of teaching, then I would be one of the most disappointed educators here in Singapore.

And what about this thing about being hungry? Seriously it has got everything to do with the things that we are currently inculcating into our students, this thing about not just being satisfied with their status quo, but to do their very best to do even better. And I am not particularly condoning this from a materialistic or tangible rewards angle, but more so from the angle of values. This need for our students to really do better, to always be looking at improving their own lot, to move ahead to be the best that they can be, and NOT at the expense of others. Perhaps to put it in a more correct social and moral slant, to be ethically hungry. Looking and reading about how hungry students from developed nations are, and about how even hungrier students from developed nations have become, I feel so worried about the kind of hunger that our students have, that burning-in-the-stomach feeling to really go all out to achieve their aims and goals. The irony of it is that the hunger that the previous generation have suffered and endured,  have translated to perhaps its absence from the current one, whether metaphorically or literally. I wonder whether this is just my own perception, or a really true fact that is happening amongst my young charges. Well I can't really say that all of them are demonstrating this (lack of) hunger, but certainly perhaps at times, I don't seem to be able to see that deeper desire to really satisfy their hunger either. Or perhaps we are just not making them hungry enough?

No comments: