So my son came home from school the other day and seemed rather upset.
“What’s with the attitude?” I asked.
“Puan Normah (not her real name) is my class teacher, AGAIN!” my son grumbled.
Okay, let me fill you in on this particular public school teacher. Puan Normah has been teaching my son for the past four years. Three times in that four years, she has been pregnant.
While her students sit for their mid-term exam, she takes multiple days off due to morning sickness. During their final exam, she is often in her final stages of pregnancy and prefers to stay in the staff room rather than tackle a steep flight of stairs to their classroom with her swollen feet.
Most of the time, students have to ‘invite’ her to class – this involves waking her up from her frequent catnaps in the staff room. By the time she’s in class, she is often too exhausted to teach, so she lets the first period slip by while she catches her breath, only attempting the actual lesson during the second period – glued to her seat, of course!
But that’s nothing compared to the numerous times she simply delegates her teaching tasks to the class monitor. While she grabs some time-out in the staff room, the class monitor furiously scribbles notes on the board that the other students just as furiously copy.
This year, just like in the past, Puan Normah was in her confinement period when school reopened. So it’s likely she will be missing the first two months of the year, again.
The thing is, I have no qualms about women who choose to pop out babies on a yearly basis. However, when it affects one’s job performance, it becomes quite a different matter altogether. In this case, it is affecting her students’ education – hence every parent has the right to question the school as well as the Education Department on what measures have been taken to tackle the issue of all the Puan Normahs out there.
I mean, if there exists a teacher with a proven track record of being unable to perform her academic duties due to being always pregnant, why assign her to classes where students are preparing for important examinations such as PT3 and SPM? Seriously, even if relief teachers take over every now and then, are they able to ensure there are no hiccups in the teaching process?
“Guess what, ma – this year, Puan Normah is also teaching my class Additional Mathematics and Mathematics, ” my son complained.
Good God! Time to register my son in a tuition centre.