Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Random Thoughts on Work

I currently have the privilege of having two high school learners at my disposal to do about five hours of work every week. They "offered" their services to me when they broke one of the more important rules at the College and ended up facing an austere disciplinary panel.

I have this privilege for another two weeks, but I find myself debating what I should let them do. Last week I asked the one girl to rake some grass on the children's playground that we are developing. She came back without the rake and I have not seen it since then.

I recently discovered an interesting news article via the Progressive Adventism Blog in which it is reported that an Adventist school is facing legal challenges to its student work programme. It would seem that the school expects (expected?) students to participate in work programmes for which they were not skilled and without taking the necessary safety precautions.

I guess I would be looking for trouble if I asked these students to get onto a scaffolding without proper instruction on using safety gear and equipment and ask them to clean gutters.

I find myself in a bit of a quandry. I am not sure what I should let the learners do. I don't want them to do meaningless work, like digging a hole and covering it again. (I will probably lose my spade.) I should probably take some time and teach them how to install trunking for the network in the dormitory and how to crimp cables. That would be a good learning experience for them, but I am afraid that I cannot really afford to work through that learning curve with them. (Perhaps I should).

Perhaps my readers have some good ideas about work programmes for students to engage in.

On another level: it is important to have a work ethic and it is one of the values that we try to instill in our students.

I wonder how students would respond to a request to donate about 10 - 15 hours of their time per semester to help us man a front desk at the dormitory. These students will control who enters and exits the dormitory (visitors sign in and out). They will also provide change for the washing machines and sell phone cards.

HEHE... I guess this is wishful thinking and wild dreams.

But just imagine...


Anonymous said...

Weiers,u shud show no mercy 2 any1 who breaks rules. that is the prob,ppl know that the consequences of being caught r not hi.ur disciplinary committee members r not angels either. some also commit great sins.kick the learners out of school & investgate ur committee members!

Anonymous said...

That's a bit harsh don't you think? Seems like you're talking from experience?

Weiers, back in my day, we had to work anyway. Weekly boarders = 3 hours per week and Monthly boarders = 5 hours per week. Has this changed?

We worked all over campus, some in admin, some at the dairy, etc. I worked in the garden. Show them how to change the sprinklers on the irrigation system, that'll keep them busy for a while.

As for anonymous, if you're sure about the actions of committee members, isn't there a way that you can place a grievance before a different forum?


Anonymous said...


rules are rules and frankly i think there should be more work like dorm chores:). the dorm passages and bath rooms look terrible over weekends. and as for the punishment i think that as long as its legal let it be done. it will teach them a lesson

have a good one

Thiago said...

When students of sda institutions break the rules in any college in Brazil, they are in trouble and they must work hard!
As a reward for their act, I would suggest u to give them the oportunite to learn how to clean the boy´s dorm bathroom or to work at hbc farm!
that is my suggestion..
keep well

Weiers said...

Hi Thiago!

We are missing you here at Helderberg. Where exactly are you right now?

Do your comments apply to High School learners, or are College Students also given work? I think our dormitory is quite unique in that we have a mix of high school and College.

I still prefer to not hand out too many punitive measures for small things. I primarily see discipline as a situation of conflict between the learner and the teacher/dean/school/institution.

Very few conflicts are solved when there is a one-sided approach which usually requires the use of power and force.

When a student does something wrong that conflicts with the goals of the college, the main question is how a person can restore the relationship. This should always involve negotiation and punishment should only be given if both parties believe that it will help heal the relationship. If punishment does not do this, it becomes "bully-tactics" and should rather be avoided.

I wonder if I am wrong on this.