Against Labelling Students

Many schools held their parent-teacher session yesterday. Some of my students told me their teachers described them as “talkative” and “naughty”.

The student who was described as “talkative” is actually a very vocal person who can express herself very well. The “naughty” student is a kid who is very lively, brings joy to the class and someone who can be serious in his schoolwork when he concentrates.

To be fair, I am firm with some of my students, especially the P1 students, when I have to maintain order in class. If things get out of hand, I may bring certain issues to the attention of parents, using specific examples.

However, I do not like to use labels like “naughty” on them. 1) They may misbehave on certain issues but it is still not right for me to judge them.
2) I do not know how the student who’s “supposedly” talkative behave in school. She doesn’t disturb other students by being “talkative” in my class. Instead, by being vocal, she is helping to encourage a more participative class environment. I will hate to see this quality suppressed because of the comment from her school teacher.

As educators, it is never easy to deal with children- I can imagine how tough it is to deal with 40 in a class. (I am blessed because our policy is to keep the class to eight students so every child has our attention.)

Still, especially for the young kids who are developing their characters, their qualities should not be curbed. Adults can guide them along the way, but passing negative judgements is never a good start.