sympathy & empathy
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1 Comments sympathy & empathy - 2009-08-15 17:24:23

My student Jordan's mom told me the other day that her two boys, Jordan and Land would have to ask for a leave of my summer classes next week. She told me the summer vacation is almost near the end, but the kids still haven't had a chance to visit their grandparents in southern Taiwan because she didn't want them to miss any of my summer classes. (All parents know summer classes are quite important for 8th and 9th graders- this is the transition period that some kids might catch up with some subjects they are falling behind, and some kids might get more advanced if they study hard.) I know the parents' expectation, and I feel bold to say that I hardly let them down, or at least I have always tried my best.

...but there is nothing more important than visiting their own grandparents who are expecting to see the lovely grandchildren, to hug them, to hear their laughters...and even to see them being naughty. How cruel it would have been to keep them waiting and waiting...

And why study? Why "studying" has taken so much from the kids' summer vacation? I am not the best educator, but I know there are too many things more valuable and worth learning outside the classroom and the school. And there are too many things that kids failed to "learn" well in the educational institutions. Or to be more specific, some people with shining academic background seem well qualified to lead a country, but actually we found them incapable of managing the country's crisis and disaster, and even too proud to admit the mistakes the government has made and unwilling to put themselves in others' shoes ...

I know I shouldn't have started to complain about the government again, though I have been too mad at the government's arrogant attitude toward the folks, the slow pace of rescue efforts and the rejection of international assistance soon after the flood disaster occured. But this is really something to do with the core value of education. Whatever we teach at school, if we fail to cultivate the kids' senses of "sympathy" and "empathy" (同情心 and 同理心), then we would create more government officials without hearts in the future. Then that's another disaster, isn't it?

I told Jordan's mom and all of my students, "Go visit your grandparents wherever they live before the summer vacation ends. No worries about missing my classes." The visiting trip to their hometown will surely teach the kids far more than I can do.

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