From Mentoring To Disciplining
Jun 19, 2009 Classroom Management 2843 Views
Mentoring might be described as the activities conducted by a person (the mentor) for another person (the mentee) in order to help that other person to do a job more effectively and/or to progress in their career.
Mentoring as a modern educational concept have always fascinated me. The scope for passing the burden of teaching the basics to my smarter students have often helped me save plenty of time.
But what I am about to narrate have never crossed my mind or the minds of disciplinarians!
Very few people know that in the Republic of Maldives even parents are forbidden to resort to corporal punishment. But having grown up in a country where parents and teachers alike, avidly follow the dictum ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’, my teaching spell in the Republic of Maldives had been at times conflict ridden!
For a community whose school-going children turn to fishing or working in local tourist resorts after completion of Higher Secondary education, learning for the Cambridge A- Level examination was a meaningless exercise. This naturally resulted in lack of interest, inattentiveness during class hours and disciplinary problems.
But as it always happens there will be a few who are deeply interested in academics and have the wish to excel in studies. It so happened that there was a particular ‘back bencher’ whom most teachers found difficult to handle. He was restless, talkative and addicted to disrupting teaching through his pranks. To top it all, he was a repeater.
A little bit of mischief any teacher is bound to swallow… but when it is continuous and hinders class room transaction, one is bound to lose one’s temper and turn to the rod. But, I was helpless and some of my smart front row students could indeed sense my frustration.
One day, no sooner did I begin explaining a difficult concept than the ‘back bencher’ began distracting the attention of fellow learners. I paused helplessly. Suddenly a fairly well built chap sitting in the front bench, rose from his seat, moved towards the back bench and gave the mischief monger a resounding slap on the face. He also uttered something in the local language which I couldn’t comprehend.
Helpless, I stood agape. The ‘front bencher’ said “Carry on Sir” , and I feebly continued from where I stopped. Later that day I wondered whether I ought to have I have reprimanded the ‘front bencher’? But to my relief, I never had any disciplinary problem from the ‘back bencher’.
Back in India, during discussions with my teacher trainees, I have referred to this incident and inquired whether they could see this as an example of ‘mentoring discipline’. I am yet to receive a satisfactory answer…! Have you one, dear reader?