Stories about teacher

Teachers tried to make my son stupid

Last September my son started first grade and I decided to enroll him in a French immersion program here in Toronto. He is a shy and quiet child but I had never heard a single complaint from his kindergarten teachers. But within the first weeks of his new class I started receiving notes saying he was not capable of writing and that we should work on his motor skills. The entire family was worried. We helped him with French dictation and math, we begged him to work harder – the pressure for a six-year-old boy was immense. His teacher continued to ...

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Killing our teachers: A step away from freedom

Pakistanis have been so caught up with WikiLeaks and our very own fake version of India-centric leaks, that no one has bothered to notice that a crucial segment and institution of our society is being targeted. The 40-page report prepared by the Human Rights Watch called “Their Future is at Stake”: Attacks on Teachers and Schools in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province,” released this month documents the killing of at least 22 teachers by suspected militants between January 2008 and October 2010. Not only are teachers being targeted, our entire education system has been hijacked by nefarious elements. Regard for teachers and education ...

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Thanking our mentors: The deserving few

Yesterday, I went to my niece’s report day at her school, where students were presented achievement certificates at a prize distribution ceremony. From best discipline and best in cleanliness to the most responsible and the most creative – you name it and they had it. Every time a category was announced, I would hold my breath anticipating an award for the best teacher. Not because I would do the same during the very short time I worked as a teacher, but because I realise the hard work of teachers standing in a row clapping ardently every time their student was called ...

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Ten things I hate about being a writer

1.       Bleeding on the pages. To my chagrin, I’m one of those writers who unconsciously project themselves in their writing. I’m frequently baffled when people ask why my character is so similar to me or people I know until they point out the obvious details I’ve missed. 2.       Getting too involved. It’s bad enough that my best friend/editor keeps begging me not to kill a particular character she’s fond of, if I didn’t write in the fantasy genre, there would be no rational way for me to bring back people from the dead just because I like them too much ...

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The man who taught us to be afraid

Learning that adults aren’t always as virtuous as we expect them to be is a rite of passage. One teacher exemplified this lesson, presenting himself as a patriarch. He told his students they were like his children and he would lecture them on morals. His tarnished reputation preceded him and this was his way of overcompensating. One girl dropped his class because he made her uncomfortable. When she asked a question he would come around and “accidentally” brush his hand against her. He’d pick up a book, place it on a lap and write with one hand resting on a ...

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The cost of grades

By the end of my first semester in university, I became aware that my approach towards education is becoming what the university wants it to be – grades oriented and competitive, wanting to be better than the others, but not because learning is the aim. Without my realising it, the concept of education had changed in my mind. Now it was just a matter of mere numbers (marks) and letters (grades). Relative grading in educational institutions teaches students one simple rule: your grade depends on how others have done in your class. So if the rest of the class has done average, and you are a just a little above ...

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My teacher taught me how to hate

It is a myth that extremist Islamic ideology which is used to fuel conspiracy theories is only a threat to the desperately impoverished. The country’s tendency to believe in xenophobic conspiracy theories cuts across the classes, advocated by perfectly ‘normal’ middle-class actors. Underneath the western façade of designer denims and a sporting British education, there exists a generation confused, suspicious of democracy, resentful of the West, and guilty for their inability to dedicate themselves to Pakistan’s ascetic version of Islam. The ’new’ Islam The country’s imagination is arrested by pointed fingers. Every problem has a foreign enemy and every solution bans the ...

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Our ‘rotten’ education system

Amid the flood coverage, it was interesting to see one of the national dailies pick on the corruption in our education system. The story discussed how the chairperson of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education bypassed certain rules and regulations to ensure that her children got high grades in their SSC examination. No amount of reporting seems to change the behaviour of those in positions of responsibility for the better, but being a product of the Pakistani education system myself I can’t help but wonder why the system is so rotten. We all know the flaws: rote learning, ...

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Being a mentor

I never realised teaching could be so much fun and provide so much satisfaction until the day I got in touch with one of my old students. In fact, I would rather call myself a ‘mentor’ because as soon as you hear the word ‘teacher’ you cannot help but imagine an old woman whose face is half hidden behind spectacles, screaming at the students. I wanted to remove this picture from the students’ mind and wanted to give them an experience of not being bogged down with homework and class work. But things can turn the other way round too, ...

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