Respect and Disrespect
Today, I came to school with much eagerness to be meeting people, especially new faces to conduct an achievement test supposed to be started at 7:30 in the morning. But my day was dampened by heavy downpour forcing me to drop by some stations along the road, consequently these stations caused the delay in my coming and failed to meet my first agendum for the morning. In short, I came late.
People, especially teachers and students I suppose were all waiting for my arrival and all of them were all seated talking about things under the sun. I was their chief examiner and with me were all the test paraphernalia they had to use in the day's activity.
I had my introduction fixed at giving the blame to the rain (I pray rain understood my scapegoat) and they understood because some of them had also come a minute or two before I arrived. The guilt feeling of letting others wait was before my eyes that as soon as they saw me, they volunteered to untie the boxes from my motorcycle and helped me open them in order to meet the 8 a.m. test proper.
I believe it helped them understand the blame and feeling of regret as I focused on the work that had to be the day's menu. Distribution of the materials was done in a couple of minutes and so the test started.
The guilt feeling was not just because there were teachers who came early for the test. Many students, almost a hundred and fifty came to be part of a nationwide test intended to measure the academic performance of the students. It silenced my heart for a while thinking that coming late to school and letting others wait for my presence is a gesture of disrespect for them and their time because they individually and collectively came early for the purpose.
Other people may not look at it that way may be because they practice it, getting away with at least two or more minutes a day, that when replicated everyday would mean loosing the benefits that could be borne out of the lost moments. I mean, we sacrifice productivity by loosing some of the precious minutes we come late for work, aside from loosing also the respect of others because of the disrespect we do in coming late.
Honestly, letting others wait because you are in-charge and you are in command is a wrong practice that needs unlearning. That's VIP syndrome. Most people would rationalize it's only part of the grind, of the work, and of whatever alibis they could muster to justify being late. But I insist it is habit forming, and it could expand grounds for utter disrespect of other people's time. Certainly, the practice wastes others' time, effort and treasures.
In school, loosing one minute may now be used for checking if all students prepared their homework, roaming around to tour their notebooks. Another minute could be a presentation of the expectations you have from them, stressing on the importance of focus in achieving whatever objectives set for the day. A few more minutes to entertain questions from inquisitive and eager minds who could not wait for the event to come. The next couples of minutes may be a chain of comprehensive activities offering varied experiences to concretize learning. Isn't a minute so valuable as a raindrop refreshes a thirsty soul?
And how do we call a practice to engage in pep talks while students are happily doing their thing because teachers are somewhere? Isn't that the usual 'business' in school we call 'chika'? Who must be feeling guilty now? Truth hurts, I say to myself.
In trainings when participants come an hour or more late means having lost, too, the values presented and that when we ask others to repeat what has been discussed would be tantamount to draining others' energy, although they may consent to share with you the KSAs. That would be a coping mechanism for you, but again, the practice is obviously annoying.
Would you not be mad at somebody who asked you for a date and came an hour or two late? What would be your reaction should he reply that he did not ask you to wait for him? And you got the biggest blame of your life! A fiery quarrel could start from a small thing that's coming late!
Truly, coming early is a test of respect!
We always say time is gold. And that golden opportunity is honoring courtesy for others we must very well remember and practice.