Walking past a school girl sweeping the grounds early in the morning got me thinking about school days and the politic friendly lessons we learnt in those 4 walls. I’m not talking about the subject lessons; mathematics, science etc but the discipline that was instilled in me and us. They made us do stuff like sweep the classroom floors, wipe the blackboard, water and weed the plants. There were rules of how to behave in class, don’t make noise, don’t get late for class. All these disciplinary measures were to help us observe an expected conduct in hopes that it will shape us into men and women fit for life in the larger society, a misconduct was punishable.
Yeah school did in a way help shape the person that I’m. Looking back at where I came from, here is my opinion about all those lessons that were cunningly deposited into my brain and used to conform me, to keep me in line!
Lessons I’m glad they shared with:
- Doing the daily chores; sweeping whatever, clearing the board, arranging the books on the teachers desk and class cupboard…
- Always wearing a clean ironed complete uniform.
- Getting there on time; for assembly, class lessons, club meetings…
- Taking responsibility as a class monitor, prefect…
I’m glad they shared these lessons because what they did is create a
responsible individual who is presentable in the sense that you know how to and what to dress when, able to take-up tasks and complete them and lead others to attain a given goal. In short they made me and us functioning members of the society.
Lessons I wish someone knocked me over before I adapted:
- Observe silence in class, noise makers are not wanted.
- Raise your hand before you speak.
- Speak when spoken to.
- The teacher is always right, he/she is the final authority in a dispute, don’t argue with…
I understand how that was supposed to help us learn to provide equal opportunities for all to share their opinion, let us learn to respect each other and respect leadership and to understand the limitation of speech. Mostly though I think it was to help the teacher have control and maintain order of the large number of people.
Here is my problem, by restricting freedom of expression and by forcing us to accept that the teacher is the final authority and we have no say after her/his judgement has also bred a silent observer political leaders love who murmurs to self even when we see something wrong committed by authority. As long as we have not been given a chance to speak, we shall not speak and what our leader says is final.
Sometimes I’m secretly glad that even in school we had those rebellious bunch who didn’t live by the rule, they help us see a new perspective and sometimes they are the voice we need but lost in time.