"No, I think you shouldn't raise your hand," I interrupted.
My nine-years old daughter came home with the story of how her class was given a collective punishment for being too noisy during one of her class. Apparently the mild-mannered teacher was too soft to control a bunch of noisy nine-years-old and the principal had to take over.
After giving a verbal lashing to the class, the principal decided to punish them for their misbehaviour. However, the pupils were given a chance to clear their innocence. The principal asked the one who didn't talk during the ruckus to put up their hand to avoid punishment. None took the offer, and all of them were punished.
"Well, did you talk during the class," my wife inquired.
"No, I didn't," the little girl replied.
"Then, why didn't you put up your hand?" my wife asked.
That's when I voiced my opinion.
Firstly, it's not exactly a serious offense.
It's not a serious offence because ... nobody got hurt? Alright, maybe the pride of the teacher was dented. But in this case, being overpowered by a group of nine-years old? Anyway ...
Secondly, they are a group of nine-years old after all. The misbehaviour was probably out of cheekiness more than malice - it's a mischief. They were talkative, they were noisy, they were talking noisily, they were nine-years old, so what? Okay, they did it in front of the teacher, it's disrespectful and that's not good. They deserved the punishment.
The main point is - when the children were offered the chance to avoid punishment in such situation, should we encourage the child to raise her hand or stay quiet? My immediate reaction would be to remain with her mates.
Assuming I was right in pronouncing this misbehaviour as a "not-a-serious" offence, should we ask the nine-years-old to declare her innocence, as a matter of principle, and detach herself from her friends? Or should she remain quiet and "enjoy" the punishment together with her friends? Who knows, one day in the future, when they get together during a class re-union party of 10th or 20th anniversary, perhaps they'll look back and have a collective good laugh about the incident. It'll be like "Do you remember the soft teacher we had back in primary school and when the whole class was punished ..."
Poor Teach' ... But this post is not about the mild-mannered teacher ...
Y'know, I have had this subject at the back of my mind as my coming post for a few weeks. I didn't have the urge to put it down until three days ago - at the end of the Champions League 2009 Final at Rome between Manchester United and Barcelona ...
~ Part 2 ~