Not In Front of the Students!

In a school, there are certain things that should never be done in full-view of the students.
Among all those, the #1 carnal sin of the teaching profession is:
Telling another off in front of the students.

taken from

Sadly, I was at the receiving end of such an encounter.
One evening last week, I decided to get the ball rolling with the school's English Language Society & have our very first meeting EVER.
My vision for this society is to form a group of students who will be moulded into leaders to facilitate English language activities in the school.
Most schools would have an open-invitation, but for our society, it's strictly invitation only (since not every student can speak & understand the English language).
10 students with the best English language proficiencies & attitudes were selected from Form 1, 2 & 4.

I was addressing the students when I noticed that several of them were staring at something behind me.
I turned around to find a person of authority in the school.
He was looking dazed & scruffy as if he just woke up. He looked grumpy too.
I greeted him & wondered if there was something wrong.
He asked what I was doing & I told him that I was conducting a meeting for the ELS.

I expected him to dismiss himself but he walked over & asked me how I chose the students. I explained that the subject teachers chose the best students from their classes.
Then, he proceeded to name & ask me why a few students who met the criteria were not in. I explained that the subject teachers chose & I honoured their judgement.
Then, he went on a rant about how that these students were already good & they didn't need my attention. They could just be left on their own. Why couldn't I get a few of the problematic students & try to reform them like the prefects were successfully doing?

By then I realised that he was not in a the right state of mind for a discussion. Furthermore, I didn't have much time left.
I told him that I would take all of his suggestions into consideration & we should discuss these issues at another time & place.
He probably realised that he had overstepped his boundaries too but, before walking away, he went on to say in a very unpleasant tone that those were just his suggestions &, since I was running the show, it was up to me whether I wanted to follow them or not.
In the end, I said a 'thank you, sir' to save him face & continued the meeting as if nothing happened.

Imagine the embarrassment of being interrupted & told off in front of students whom you are trying to inspire to help you & follow you!
I wouldn't mind if I was taken aside & quietly corrected.
I really hurt me & shook me to have someone I respect walk into my meeting & say something against me loudly right in front of my students.
I'm working hard to do something for my school.
heck~~ I'm probably carrying the load of 2 or 3 teachers & still I'm willing to do this EXTRA thing when all those before me did NOT.
This really didn't help at all.

He has since apologised to me & I have accepted the apology.
We are real men who are both working hard to achieve something & I am glad that the incident did not escalate into something bigger.

Prevention is better than cure.
If your teacher is doing something you don't like, tell correct him privately & empathetically.
If you feel that you really have to interrupt there & then, do it discreetly by calling him aside.
NEVER go on a raging rant in front of the students.
Depending on how the teacher reacts, it will either undermine the teacher's authority, your authority or even put both of you in a bad light.

Let's work together to go from strength to strength in our professional conduct.


  1. You can actually sue that person of higher authority because there is a circular which states that other teachers are not allowed to undermine their fellow colleague in any possible way, most particularly in front of the students.

    Boy, I hate people whom scolds other people in front of other people. A simple pull to the side, and peep talk would be more than sufficient.

  2. i agreed! it should not happen in front of will hurt me so much if happens on me

  3. im sorry this happened to you but more sorry for him for being so disrespectful and rude. i've met teachers like that and out of respect i remain polite and professional. what is even worst, the things that were told to me, were not even practise by these particular teachers. so before anyone corrects anyone,i say 'sila cermin diri dulu'. i would be totally fine with it, if the teachers have good work ethics, but no lo...just know how to boss people around -_- ...sad to say too, they are of higher positions than me.

  4. i agree with u.i am running the same show.a person with yr drive would b welcome in any organization. this other person has his own point of view with some valid reasons too but like Cyril said, there r other approaches which could potentially b more effective.

    as an old uncle, i suggest u look at it this way: it was a bad day for the other party, he is also human n prone to errors. he has apologized.

    i am a simple person :) Have a great weekend

  5. Cyril: I was surprised when that happened to me because this person didn't seem like the type.
    We talked about it later & he apologised.
    Case closed. Thank God.

    Alice: Well, better get ready for the day that it does!

    PohLin: I guess we're on the same boat.

    Beng: I try to understand but I cant. If you have a bad mood, stay away from ppl instead of ruining the day for others.
    Well, he has apologised so I'm ending the episode there.
    We still need each other too much.

  6. oh my.

    at least he already apologized.

    well. its another lesson to learn rite?


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