Dangerous minds/ My life as a teacher…

Hmm this is not really a movie review. It was a movie i heard about many years back and never really got the chance to watch it. Yesterday i finally managed to get my hands on the movie. Film style wise i can say its very 90’s hollywood. But what really touched me was the story. Its about a high school teacher making a difference on students lives.

This story reminded me alot of the time i spent teaching technical students. Its not that high school kids from other countries are worse off. Its smtg like my sis said. Society. You give them guns and drugs…Singaporean teens would be as bad as them. There are no real difference between youngsters from different countries,

I had always hated our education system that labels and classify students ability basing on their PSLE results at a tender age of 12? Where they are labelled for life…and everything is pretty much planned for them by the ministry of education.

When i was in secondary school, i never had much contact with anyone from the techical side. I only got to know them when i was teaching for a period of 1 to 2 years. Many teachers looked down upon them, dont bother to teach them…and tell them to their face that they are gonna be blue collar workers.

Technical kids are not stupid. But i do agree they dont think like us. My elder sis still teaches them and she says she sees a difference. Maybe because all their life they have been labelled hopeless and they dont think for themselves anymore? Its the same pattern in every school. The teacher doesnt even conduct lessons.

I worked closely with this techical student, Alisha. She used to give me the same complaints. And i realise just like this film…i kind of used the same methods as the teacher. Anyways this movie is based on a true story… The actual teacher even wrote a book “My posse don’t do homework”.

The problem with them is…you have to grab their attention. One of the teachers call it “Edutainment”. You have to be them..to teach them. That requires you to be as “cool” as them. Even if its saying vulgarities..better not let the principal know this…

I didnt use vulgarities…but i had my own methods. Stories…jokes…smtimes unique ways to teach them…even if its a little sexual. Its like packaging information in the most entertaining ways. Like “what is stronger…iron or steel” So i created a story on the “iron man” and the “steel man”. It helped them remmeber. Or why north poles of a magnet…can NEVER attract. Sometimes it scares you when you realise these guys cant read at all. And you have to be really dedicated to help these guys. You cant shout over them…scream at them.They have dignity. You have to be “friends” with them.

Then there is this politics among teachers…where some assholes dont like your efforts..They expect you to give “worksheets”. Seriously…fuck your worksheets. Cos this kids aint  gonna do dem. You have to teach them visually and they learn visually. And these “assholes” have to interfere and tell you how to teach. Dudes…did your methods work? The kids listen to me! Not you!

Truly enough the teacher in this film faced the same issue as well. I gave them “express” stuff to do. I didnt tell them i was giving “express” stuff to do. Cos express to dem is sooo high up there. N sadly “express” students look down upon them…like they are alien or smtg. I told them…they are not any different.

1stly, i had to be like them. I had to joke around. Dont worry…the class is never quiet. Its alright. They dont get alot of basic stuff. Even proper grammer in English. Dont be disheartened. They will improve over time. Get them to like you! They need to feel safe with you.

Dont scream shout or make them look small. They are only gonna be harder to work with, Sometimes they sound rude..not because they want to be rude…they dont know how to talk. Many of them either have a problem with their brain (honestly) or they are from dysfunctional families.

Praise them. I did that with Alisha. I told her she was intelligent. These kids never get praised all their lives. Saying “Good”, excellent…mean alot to them. They feel encouraged and they want to impress you more…so they will take efforts. Alisha told me that her teachers thot she was hopeless…and i told her “Na…its they who are hopeless”..I bitched about her teachers with her. Bitching helps…it makes you “their” friend. When they talk about problems…listen to them.

Candies.I bring sweets always with me..whether its preschoolers…primary or secodary. Those 1 dollar sweets make a huge difference in their lives. When they make effort…i throw them a sweet…and they find it mor fun to partcipate in class. Dont get upset when you see some of them sleeping in class…after some time they will join in the fun.

Ghost stories. It always works. The more gory the better…and if its about their school…even better. I would ask them to switch off the lights…close the windows to create the “atmosphere”.

 I dont like saying sexual jokes. I rather  stick on the horror side. Sharing with them personal stuff help as well.

I try to avoid telling them my age…cos im pretty young to teach…i was a contract teacher during the time i was handling them. N among all three streams…technical was my favorite. Cos they are grateful creatures. They remmeber you and they will love you. Unlike express kids. These guys smtimes want to sit with for lunch or even help you carry books. The scary factor is these guys are big..and its pretty scary to seem them jumping around…but they are actually kids in heart.

I really wish MOE does away with their streaming. Many boys arent very matured at 12…and they screw up their exams. Technical kids need really dedicated teachers an they are NOT HOPELESS. Many of them were suprised that they were doing “express” maths and they started trusting their abilities more.

This film kind of confirmed the same methods i used. I managed to help Alisha top her stream. And she topped really well. Her marks were excellent and she surprised her other teachers as well. I couldnt help everyone. In reality, its impossible. There were a few which were sadly beyond hope.Sometimes you wish you could do smtg for them

I wasnt NIE trained. I was a contract teacher with little training. What really matters is dedication. It takes alot of energy to work with them..but once you start loving them…you really apreciate them for who they are.

In the indian lagauge there is a saying “Mata (mother), Pita (Dad), Guru (Teacher), Deivam (God)”. The teacher ranks the 3rd….giving us a very high position. N we shld never abuse our position by discouraging them or labelling them. What we say…matters to them alot. I had a terrible experience with a primary 5 teacher…and i told myself if i evr teach…i wont be like her. N im proud to say…im definitely a better teacher than her. Alhamdullilah.

You should watch this movie. Its excellent and lets you think … It available on youtube in 10 parts. Flo i recommend you to watch it…maybe we can discuss abt it

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