It’s 02 44 hrs and I am still awake. Tried to sleep for like 2 hours but to no avail, so I thought I might as well do some reflections.
I like to think that schools are for moulding minds and creating a safe environment for students to explore and make mistakes. Teachers play an immensely important role in this area. I’ve met many teachers in my life, but I won’t say any of them really inspired me. Perhaps because I was always quiet and pretty unremarkable. I do have teachers that I really like, but that’s about it. I’m really grateful for these teachers, but I do have a few teachers who were really uninspiring and somewhat demoralising.
My results weren’t fantastic in secondary school except for my languages and argumentative humanities like history and social studies. Sciences and Amath were the worst. I couldn’t understand what the teachers were talking about half the time. Because of my poor results, I was put into the lowest banding in terms of classes. I don’t mind the banding, because after all, different people have different learning speeds and lower bands usually have slower speeds which I could cope better. I did benefit from banding. My Emath went straight up to A1 from a grade of C5 and I’m really thankful to my teacher Mrs See for it. Amath was a totally different story. I was failing it miserably all the time. My teacher was totally uninspiring. He tried to spur us on, with stories of how all his classes got 90% A grades in previous years, and that we should keep his record. He compared us to his triple science class and constantly reminded us we were falling behind. I know. We all knew we were falling behind, which was why we ended up in his class. To me, he probably didn’t take a class which was as lousy as ours, and so, we broke his track record. Honestly, I already knew we would. Our class was scoring F9s. And we were already working our butts off.
During the release of our O levels results, he told us to give ourselves a second chance by going to jc. I vividly remember standing there with my friends while he disapproved of our choice of heading for the polytechnic route. As an educator, was he supposed to deter his students like this? Wasn’t he supposed to encourage growth and analytical minds in students to decide for themselves what is the best for them? And not just make a passing remark like this? I’m not sure of how he got into teaching, or how he got to his rank, but he was the IT head of department (HOD) in my school at that time. He went on to be a student development HOD and is now a vice principal of a primary school.
I got good grades for O levels with effort and pure luck. I mean, who goes from having 30 points during prelims to just 9 points? My teachers were shocked. I was shocked too. I could get into the JC I wanted, AJ. But in the end, I decided that I couldn’t take another major exam again. That was something I thought was best for me and something my parents have talked to me about and discussed with me. How can he, with one sweeping statement, condemn a decision like that? A second chance? What does that even mean? It sounded degrading to me and I have never disliked a teacher more. If he had explained why he thought that we would benefit from a JC experience I probably wouldn’t have felt this strongly. But he didn’t. He was more concerned of his track record, like how many of his students got into JC, how many got A for the subject, than he was concerned for the student. The most ironic thing is that he was the one who rose through the ranks faster than a wildfire spreading in the woods.
It is good that he is no longer a teacher, which meant that he wouldn’t be able to bring students down in this way. However, I shudder to think how he would drive his primary school in the direction of academic excellence and nothing else,and how these young kids will develop under such a mindset.
Every path you take, every decision you make, no matter good or bad, you’ll be able to take away something from it. Experiences, lessons and things, which moulds your character. I’ve had a great time in polytechnic and learnt many things outside of academics. I learnt more about myself and more about the world. I guess what’s most important whichever path you go down is your mindset. If you don’t have an open mind to get ideas and see beyond your own mind, you won’t be able to develop yourself as a person. That’s what’s wrong with his statement. He was from JC. The only path for success in his mind was JC. He couldn’t see past his personal track records of excellence and into the students development and the future. If you’re close minded, you’ll be restricted. Open your mind and you’ll discover endless possibilities in this world, which never cease to amaze me.
We as a society is opening up and claming up at the same time. If we can look past that academic achievement making or breaking a person, we would be a much better community and society. I’m happy that our government is taking more interest in this, despite nothing currently being done to rectify the issue. I guess identifying the problem is a start.
Hopefully, the future generations will be those which are not judged based on a paper we spend nearly 20 years chasing.
I can rant on forever and I’m sure I’ve missed out so many points but I’m gonna go grab some sleep now and study later on.
The Chase: http://youtu.be/S9G6p_u4SEQ