I cannot help but think of two things that happened, one last week and one this week.I popped by a middle-school class during my routine walkabouts, and they were having a break. One of the students took the opportunity to tell me of his displeasure, that he (or rather his parents) has paid the school fees for him to study, so why should we stop him from buying drinks at any time of the day from the school canteen?
I noted that this policy has only been enforced from this week onward. I pointed out to him that he paid the school fees to come to school to be educated, to learn how to behave in a world that expects a certain norm of behavior. It is precisely because we care to teach certain values, that we want to enforce certain standards of behavior in school.
My mind went back to last week, when there was yet another downpour characteristic of this island nation (we ranked 13th out of 169 nations for top average rainfall per year), and my staff and I were busy sheltering our students from the rain when a parent remarked, “That is very good service you are providing.”
I must admit I was taken aback, but quickly appreciated that parent wanting to put some positivity in my life. I was taken aback because that was not what I was thinking of, when my staff and I were sheltering our students. These are young lives that have been placed in our care. As a parent myself, I want to know that my children’s teachers care for them.And that, in essence, is what we were doing. We want our students to go to their class dry, rather than risk them catching a chill in the air-conditioned classroom. We do all these because we care for these young lives, rather than simply because it is a good service we provide.
It is because we care, that we are teaching our students not to cross the “gray area” where the cars and buses move about during the morning start of school and dismissal, drawing yellow lines and footprints on the proper place to walk to guide them.It is because we care, that we monitor our errant bus that kept coming in late, and spent so much time with the bus operator, to make sure that our students get the best learning environment ever.
A school, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, should always be a place where young lives grow in an environment of care.
Michael Chan 曾俊成
Hillside World Academy