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Readers write | When do we say “enough is enough”?


He agrees with the author (Photo: Scanpix)

April 23, 2013
17:00

by Isabella Lo


As we are home-schooling these days, my neighbour joked with me and said, “Oh, do you want others to do just like you?”

No. You bet I don’t. Why should I care that others let their kids run around, kill time, wait for others to take responsibility for their learning? Why should I care that their kids lag behind mine?

I just wonder how come no parents say, “Enough is enough. I have paid a considerable amount in taxes and give up my responsibility for my kids’ education because the welfare system says it will take care of this for me. But when the government does not allow teachers to teach, shouldn’t I have my money back? Shouldn’t I have my responsibility back?”

I just wonder how come no employers say, “Enough is enough. Companies are established to, among other things, earn money so that we can pay tax on our profits and to employ people so they can pay income tax. But we can’t operate as normal since some parents are taking their kids to work. So why don’t we set up schools at workplaces and thus pay less in tax.”

I just wonder how come no school leaders say, “Enough is enough. I take it as my mission to educate kids to be much more than obedient civil servants, especially when I see that what the government is doing is neither for the sake of the kids nor for the country’s future. I, as a school leader, encourage teachers to come to school and we can run our classes as normally as possible. We will disregard the union agreement because the kids’ daily lives and learning are more important than the negotiators’ short-sighted tunnel vision.”

I just wonder how come no school teachers say, “Enough is enough. I commit my life to educate the next generation, not because this job will make me a millionaire. I need my salary like anyone else who has to feed their kids. And my work is too important to society to turn us into chips on the gambling table. I choose to disobey the union agreement because I have my own dignity and I go to work because I choose to. Not because of the outcome of any political game.”

As for the kids, I am not at all surprise that they don’t say, “Enough is enough.” Why should they? We have brought them up in a land of very little ambition and will power. When they are only three months old and have dropped the toy in their hands their parents put three more toys in front of them right away. The extremely high service level and good intentions of their parents have eroded their drive and resilience. Why should they strive for anything when everything is being well taken care of for them every step of their lives?

Danish kids already have more of everything. Why should they have more hours? Is it just because other countries do?

I was born and brought up in Hong Kong. I know how much the competition-based and test score-orientated education systems had deprived me of my childhood joy and creativity. I have also been living in Denmark for 21 years. I can see the limitation of the fun-based and enlightenment-orientated ideology of the Danish educational system.

If the basic purpose of the government’s reform of the school system is to have a generation that is capable of tackling the future they are going to face, then there are many ways to get there. And no doubt the country’s schools can learn from other systems. However, if it is only about how many hours our kids have to be babysat then our options are limited.

It’s funny to hear the teachers say, “We are not allowed to go to school.” When we give up control of our lives, we give up our own power. With such a mindset, anyone can step on us.

Teachers want to go back to work. Not their job. Not their profession. Just their work. More work. And the price to have their work back is their dignity, motivation and commitment.

When the lockout is over, we are going to send a generation of kids back into the hands of a whole industry of losers. What kind of role-model are we giving our kids and what kind of self-respect do you think they can learn from their teachers?

Whose interest do we protect by obeying law and order in this lockout soap opera?

The author is a mother and the proprietor of the website BeMyBest.