It’s not that I hate my country or anything but…yes, I do not approve of the education system here at all. I think I am not the only one who sees that there is really something quite wrong with the way education is carried out. A recent talk with my roomie confirmed what I already suspected. We are doing it all wrong. It irks me to see kids giving themselves so much stress in order to have a good future ahead. It irks me because I have always been one of those kids. So what my roomie told me made me think a lot about the way I study.
I asked her for her honest opinions regarding our country’s education system. Oh, she’s actually studying in Netherlands. But anyway, what she said was HONESTLY, what we are learning is not super difficult or more difficult than what her school is learning. But for some reason, the students here are way more stressed out than the students in her school. She agreed she felt the competitiveness among SG students. Well okay backtracking a little here.
Basically she asked me how I did for the recent psych test we had and I told her “I got xx….it’s not very good.”
She was surprised and commented, “That’s not good?! I got the same as you. Is that a fail?” I told her no, it was not a fail but it was not good. Full marks was good and full marks was what a lot of people were getting. We were far from failing but damn, to me it was not a good grade because people around me got higher.
“But why is it not good?” I explained to her about the bell curve and apparently they don’t have it over there.
And then she said something that made me feel like crying. “In our country it doesn’t really matter what your grades are. As long as you can do what the job requires you to do, they don’t really care about your grades. And if you know your own work it should be good enough. I don’t understand why other people’s grades should cause your own grade to go up or down.”
There isn’t even “First class”, “Second class” or “Third class” honours in her school. Why do you still have to make Honours students feel that they are still not good enough? But you see, the reason I don’t complain thaaaaat much and pretty much just deal with it throughout my years of education is because I know Korea’s education system is even more insane. If you think ours is stressful, theirs is 100x worse.
I don’t really know what’s going on in schools right now, but I’ve wondered why Moral Education and Physical Education were the periods my form teacher immediately forgo every time we are behind time on other subjects. Indirectly, every kid start realising which subjects are the “important” ones. I vaguely recall how I used to enjoy going to school so much. I read my textbooks a lot of times and memorise every passage in my Eng and Chi textbooks. And WHAT IS STRESS??????
Yet somewhere along the way, I forgot how to enjoy learning. I can’t remember when it started but I recall the time when 4 problem sums transformed into 13 and damn, that’s when everything changes for me. My teacher arranged us according to our grades and paid extra attention to those who were doing well enough to score well for PSLE. I remember the mini kiyodu feeling damn pissed off about that arrangement. What happened to helping your peers? Since when did learning become “Leave no man behind, but if there is no other choice, just take those better ones along”? I know my teacher probably meant well…just kidding. I don’t see how is that even a good idea. I recall seeing my classmate raising up his hand for ages but was not attended to because the teacher was busy at the “smarter” table. Ok but this was so long ago so little kids back then didn’t know anything. I bet we didn’t even realise this was open discrimination. I remember feeling damn unhappy because this was not how I wanted learning to be. But no hate no hate. Pri school days were a tad crazy for me. Maybe this was just my dumb luck to experience such an event. Thankfully I graduated peacefully with a score I was pretty glad about, but “was not up to my potential”…. … ……..
I guess that’s where everything started. I stopped enjoying the process of learning something new because I subconsciously knew it’ll be a competition later on to see who understood better. Some people aren’t that great at doing exams, that’s all. I somehow have the luck to meet not-so-great teachers, but also the luck to meet one of the kindest and most patient teachers ever. My E Math teacher. I’ll be honest…I forgot her name lol. I think I sorta forgot her face too. The only thing I remember is how she helped me even though I pretty much gave up on myself. My never-ending battle with Math in school actually gave me a lot of fun memories 😛
I recall one incident…I think it was 2 digits day to O levels. I was still failing my E Math (actually A math too…but who fails at E MATH?!). So I took my paper, went to her and I…broke down. I told her I followed everything she said, but I still failed. I didn’t know what to do anymore. What she said next made me cried even harder.
“Si Han…don’t give up. We will look through what’s wrong, I will plan out a schedule and you just stay back after every lesson and do the work I give you, ok?”
And on the day of my paper, she yelled across the driveway, “Si Han, jia you!”
😥 That’s a real teacher right there.
I might have gone off topic but my bed is beckoning to me so….