Pick your Litter

Post date: Aug 17, 2018 3:53:48 AM

By Mary Ann G. Balajo

Whenever we, teachers, see some litter unmindfully scattered by some neglectful students in any corner of the school, it may be in the school canteen, around the covered court, in the playground, along the path walk, in front of the library, near the garden or most commonly in the classroom, we couldn’t help but to let any students we see around to pick it up or get a broom and a dust pan and clean the mess up. Why do we do that? Our eyes are allergic to dirt, litter, rubbish, refuse, garbage or waste. We are accustomed to seeing clean surrounding since it has been our habit to train our students to observe cleanliness in school and even at home. Despondently, what we’ve trained them to do isn’t actually what is expected of them. More often than not, we see them do the opposite. They scatter litter anywhere they wish to scatter it, or if they fail to see any available trash bins along the campus or premises, the entire ground where they are walking serves as their huge trash bins. If we let our emotions rule our minds, we will often get mad at them for having been as forgetful as to why they keep forgetting the rule or intentionally having broken the rule of NO LITTERING. Why does this forgetfulness often happen to our students? There are several reasons for this distressing truth.

Inconsistency of the implementation of the good cause comes first. We, teachers need to be consistent in everything we say to our students. Let’s see to it that we live the words we say. When we speak of consistency, we speak of doing the habit ourselves even at our own homes where students do not see what we do. It has to be innate of us to observe and practice cleanliness inside and outside the surroundings. Inside the surroundings would mean the inside of us MUST be clean as well. The inside of us MUST be free from the pollution of sins such as envy, jealousy, hypocrisy, pretension, anger, wrath, hatred, rage, greed, slander, gossip, adultery, idolatry, immorality. When we do these, we are living out consistency of the implementation of the good cause.

The second reason for students’ forgetfulness in doing what they ought to do is the absence or lack of their model in doing what must be done. When we remind them to clean their classroom before going home, they need someone to model them what to do. We have to be there and show them how to clean their classroom properly instead of just merely telling them and leaving them do the work themselves. Instructions without any action would be unworkable since learners of this age need modelling in doing anything worthy of emulation. They hardly move around if they are left to do things on their own; hence, modelling by us, teachers is a MUST since they tend to copy what they see. Let us teach them how to clean their classroom by showing them how to mop the floor, how to sweep the floor, how to dust off the windows and how to scrub the floor. In this way, we can properly teach them how to clean the surface. Cleaning the inner is more important. That is, we MUST avoid showing favoritism wherein we favor one student over the other because his family has done us favor or his family is well-off or even well-known by the entire community. Whatever background our student has MUST not be a reason for our partiality to him/her. Everyone deserves equal treatment. And so whenever we teach one student how to do things especially the how and why of life, we MUST teach everyone the same prospect.

Lastly, some students find difficulty following the instruction since it is against their training at home. For example, the teacher would often remind them to observe and practice cleanliness in school but some of them would forget to do it. Looking at their background, we will find the root cause of their actuation and behavior. They are not properly trained to observe cleanliness at home; hence when they are at school, they are not trained to do the proper thing. The challenge for us is to divert their mindset to do what needs to be done. We must focus redirecting their thoughts on the more essential things in life. How we change their perspective in life takes a lot of hard work, patience, consistency and much love in order to make a life-long impact in their lives. This, however, cannot be done overnight. It takes much time as a seed takes months in order for it to grow into a small plant and several years to let it grow into a robust tree. Godly principles are still the most effective and so far the most incomparable methods to use to train a student become an asset to the community where he lives. Living righteously before the King of kings and the Lord of lords will absolutely bring lost souls to Jesus Christ the Saviour.