My Fifth Grade Teacher

To this day, I still consider my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Eng, to be the most influential and inspirational teacher I’ve ever had.

Mr. Eng had a punishment system to which he referred as “Transgressions.” These were slips of paper given out to students when they violated a rule, or when they neglected to fulfil their responsibilities (i.e. completing homework on time; acting in a mature manner; treating others with respect).

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When a student received a Transgression, it resulted in the following: a one point reduction to their grade, a signature from a guardian, and a reflective paragraph about their infringement. As a naive fifth grader, I believed the system of Transgressions to be tedious and ineffectual. Despite my derogatory opinions then, I have recently found a more profound understanding of this system of punishment than my eleven-year-old mind was able to comprehend.I have realized that each step in receiving a Transgression was meant to engrave a certain kind of thought-process into one’s head. I discovered that each stage of the Transgressions incorporated a life lesson. Even though these ideals were obscure to fifth-graders, it subconsciously imbedded certain principles and lessons in their minds.

For example, the first thing that would occur after the giving of a Transgression was a small point reduction. Almost all of the time, the difference in one’s overall grade was negligible. The objective of this was not to inflict misery, but rather to make the student aware of the repercussions of their actions. However, after too many Transgressions, one’s grade would start to decrease significantly. The lost points would add up to a great value, and the student’s grade would suffer.

This calculated system teaches students how it is acceptable to make a few errors, but they need to learn that they are not without cost. The next part of the procedure is for the student’s parent or responsible adult to sign the Transgression, proving that they are aware of their child’s wrongdoing. With the right, nurturing reaction from a parent, a student can accept their mistake and move past from it. He or she can also develop a trustful relationship with their parents or guardian. This step shows students that it is normal to have flaws, yet it is necessary to let their friends and family guide them in the attempt to prevent future mishaps. The final step a student must complete when receiving a Transgression is to write a reflection about their mistake.

The student is required to describe the previous problem and offer a possible solution. This, I believe, is the most essential part in the entire process because it teaches children that they must contemplate their blunder to ensure it does not reoccur. Without this part, their mistake is unprofitable, considering they have not learned. However, if a student reflects on their faults, they have the ability to turn their honest misdeeds into an educational experience, and learning is the purpose of school. The system of Transgressions had a valuable function that I was not aware of until years after I had used them.The steps that comprised the aftermath of a Transgression taught me crucial moral lessons that I have retained as I have matured.

I still strongly believe that making mistakes is normal and expected, but I am not thoughtless nor negligent when faced with responsibilities. I always inform my parents when I have not earned an adequate grade because I know that it is imperative to allow my family members to advise me for the future. Lastly, I frequently reflect on my actions and try to generate ways that I could better excel in the endeavors I choose to strive for. My personal experiences cause me to be confident of the fact that when Transgressions are used within classrooms, they have perdurable and beneficial effects on young students.