To the writer of the response [Response to "Why Attendance?", TSC Issue 3]:
I was not sure if you were being sarcastic or not, so I asked people who said they knew who you were, and they all said the same thing, "Mr. ------ is being sarcastic, he is agreeing with you". Well, I am not sure, so I decided to take the safe route, and put two different responses, sort of like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" novel.
Situation One [Read this only if you disagree with me]
In your response, you said that the fear of failing rarely stops a child from acting in his best interest. Actually, anyone who is facing failure will take the appropriate steps to make sure that he does not end up failing. Any student who realizes that he is going to fail, instead of goofing off, is going to attend class and make sure that he takes good notes and gets a good grade on the next exam. No child wants to see a failing grade on his report card, so the fear of failing is going to make sure that they are in their seats for all their classes. For example, one day last year, my chemistry class was reviewing for a test the next day. I thought that I could get an A without the instructor's help, so I told him that I could review on my own. He granted me permission to leave, and happily I left, believing that I would pass with flying colors. Unfortunately, the next day I barely earned a "C" on a test on which I could have received an "A". This test was important, and it brought my grade down. However, this was a valuable learning experience, and from then on, I made sure to attend every single class. So, case in point, I have provided proof that the fear of failing, more often than not, is going to get students to get their priorities straight, and make sure that, whenever possible, they are in class.
Your response also included the line "If teachers and parents abdicate their role as disciplinarians...". I am not saying that either parents or teachers should abandon their role as educators; I believe that parents and teachers should teach the child what is right from a young age, and how to make good decisions. It is only through experience that a person learns valuable lessons. Parents and teachers are there so that they can educate children and guide them through the narrow straits of life. If parents instill in their children the drive to succeed, then the child will be able to make the correct decision no matter what. He will have his priorities straight, and regardless of the temptation, will make sure to get to class.
Your solution for punishing a rowdy child in class is send him to study hall. However, this wastes the valuable time of the teacher who is watching the child, who will probably not get much done in study hall, as he will be restless there. However, if the child is just ejected from class, he is in much bigger trouble than he believes. Once he is outside of class, he will probably not look at his book until the next day. So, the child misses the whole lecture, and by the time he looks at his book, he will not remember a thing from the previous day. However, if he is placed in study hall, he will be able to learn the material still. So this is not really punishment, but is instead just sending the child to another room to learn. However, if the child is just sent out of the room, he is not going to remember what he learned, and will now be faced with failure, as he is not prepared for a possible quiz the next day. A bad grade will teach any child a valuable lesson, that if he intends to mess around, or skip class, he will never learn the material.
The fear of failure is a more powerful motivator than most people realize. A failing grade on material a child missed or did not understand will ensure that, before the next exam, the child takes the time to learn the information. The same applies for skipping class, as the student will not get the material and will fail the test, but will make sure that the student begins to attend class.
Situation Two [Read this only if you agree with my position]
It is nice to see that other people are taking my side on this issue. However, it will be a while (maybe eternity) before the administration embraces our position. However, if more people begin to see things the way we do, then maybe by sheer majority, we will be able to convince the administration that things need to change. I would just like to thank you for writing your response about your reaction to my article.
Your response is proof that TSC is truly a communication between the writers and the readers. I respect everyone's ideas and I will make sure that I respond to all the responses I receive. We are very proud of the fact that people are writing to our (the people's) paper voicing their opinions. This is the reason that the paper was created, despite all the other reasons that are circulating around campus. I would like to encourage all our readers to respond to any of the articles, instead of holding ideas inside themselves and unleashing them in a verbal assault against the paper.
Sincerely, Ramesh Srinivasan