A glance through the eyes of a pencil

The problem

Baffled, surprised and confused, the headmaster spent the entire morning trying to figure out why there still remained a striking difference in the behavior of his classes. Some classes brought excellent results coupled with immaculate behavior. Other classes displayed pathetic behavior to say the least, and as a result of the chaos, the standard of education declined with each passing day. With the results of the assessment in one hand, and his head in the other, he instructed his secretary to schedule a teachers meeting after school. Even if it took the entire afternoon, this headmaster had to get to the bottom of this otherwise the beautiful summer night that the moon promises might be sleepless.

‘They will appear in court’

Not wasting anytime with intros and ‘hellos’, the headmaster dived straight into questioning while the teachers were still getting settled. The worst of the lot were called up first. Amongst them, Mr. Mayanmar, Mrs. North Korea and yip…you guessed it…Mr. South Africa. Mr. South Africa has been experiencing a lot of problems recently in his class particularly with the class’s public fund. As the students funded towards end-of-year braais, better stationery etc., the class captain and a few others in charge ‘reaped the benefits’. Eventually a lack of funds led to poor facilities which in turn led to the students having to pay more. When Mr. South Africa was asked what happens to those caught in the act, he simply replied “they sit in detention” aka “they will appear in court” –  A statement that is found in every news article that deals with bribery and corruption in South Africa.

A brief comparison

Swallowing his anger, the headmaster then called the educators that were showing impressive results. Ms. Finland, Mr. China and Mr. New Zealand were called up. Mr. New Zealand was quick to express his shock at the way Mr. South Africa handled his students.

“Well i don’t believe in detention. Depending on the crime, my students are expelled, suspended or stripped of the captaincy and made to sit in the back of the class” he said.

“I have realized that when other students see the consequences of corruption, it forces them to stay away from such acts” added Mr. New Zealand.

Mr. China then nodded in approval and remarked “I agree with him. Remember that girl from Mr. South Africa’s class that once brought drugs into my class (Janice Bronwyn – Google it), i made sure she gets expelled but ever since she left, the students think twice before entering my class.”

At this point of the meeting, the headmaster was intelligent enough to identify the problem. The meeting was dismissed and Mr. South Africa was called for a private discussion in his office the next day.

 The solution

It was a lengthy discussion with a cup of tea and a pack of biscuits. The summary of the discussion was as follows

“Mr. South Africa, the chaos in your class is due to the fact that you fail to set an example. When those seated in the front row are caught pocketing the public’s funds or accepting bribes to demand an easier lesson, you cannot simply seat them in detention/allow them a court appearance. What happens in court? A few words are exchanged, a fine that amounts to a fraction of what was stolen is issued or perhaps a few days absent but eventually the student is back in class. Some of your students act sick and avoid the courts. Remember! The students sitting in the back rows are watching. They know very well when they take the front seats they can fill their pockets and if they get caught it’s just a few hours of detention. Your class will never find discipline until and unless serious action is taken. Other classes are showing brilliant results because they are not shy to expel or suspend their culprits. Get rid of the scum in the front row and those seated at the back won’t try their tricks when they get a front seat. Mr. South Africa, you have forgotten rule no. 1 in the teacher’s handbook…

 ‘You have to be cruel to be kind’.

~Yusuf Omar~


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