Thursday, February 23, 2012

Victory Vs Experience

It's that time of the month again where it's most chaotic in school. 

Sports, tournaments and competitions going on one after another, and even going on simultaneously.  Which also equals to overtime, headache, sleep deprivation, lessons postponing and blog abandoning.

And once again, I'm handling the debate team for my school. 

Though my team managed to get to the semis, or how I'd like to put it, second runner up in last year's competition, I don't particularly live for debates.  The discussion's fun, and most of the time I forgot I'm a teacher who should sit properly instead of sitting cross-legged on a chair and making inappropriate jokes, but my true passion is in drama.  We're sitting out the drama competition again this year, but even if we are participating next year, I'm never going to get the chance to handle it 'coz I'll be forever known as the debate teacher : / . Unless there's a new suckling I can bully.  I mean pass down my knowledge and experience.

So talking about experience.  I suddenly had this epiphany while I was writing my students' debate scripts.

I realised what I was doing was wrong.  Maybe it was my 'teacher-ly' insticts.  Or maybe it was the fact that I was dying inside to watch all nine of my queued up downloaded TV shows but I couldn't 'coz I have to finish writing those damn scripts.

Yeah, should be the former.

Anyways.  I was so bend on making sure my kids would make it to the finals this time, I suffered mental exhaustion writing ALL their scripts within a very limited time, and worst of all, I took away half of their learning experience.

It was selfish of me to think that I am doing them a favor preparing them well written, Grammar Nazi- approved scripts without giving them the chance to learn to write their own.

Then I looked at the teachers around me.

I see my colleagues doing the same thing.

Finding, preparing and typing out public speaking and choral speaking scripts.

Going great lengths decorating classes to make sure their class is chosen as the weekly winners.  Like, serious length.  Think new paints and English style decorations.

And I'm pretty sure the primary school teachers went all out decorating their home banners to make sure they win in the Sport's Day march parade.

Or how about parents who help out in their kid's school project so that they would win?

I know we mean well and we want victory for our kids, but are we really doing the right thing?

Shouldn't we allow them to do things on their own, and get a taste of victory on their own effort, which is so much sweeter?  Shouldn't we allow them to learn from failure, even if we know they stand no chance in winning in the first place?

We know victory is important for a kid, but we as teachers, parents or mentors are suppose to be guiding them, and not doing the work for them.  It teaches them valuable lessons, plus we will have all the time we need to watch all  our favourite downloaded shows.

Due to this realisation, I am not hoping so much victory, let alone making it through the prelimenaries.  But all I hope is that they learn something from all our discussions and gain the valuable experience of being a debator, something I myself don't have.

So let me ask you, if you're a teacher, a parent or someone who will definitely want to have spawns of their own someday:

Would you take away a kid's learning experience to make sure they win, or allow them the learning experience even though you know they will lose?

Don't answer that if you have tiger blood.


Phoebe said...

Ideally, it should be the latter of course but I think the main culprit of why we tend to do all the work is because we lack patience. We lack the patience to let them draft their speeches, debate script, etc.,review them, discuss on how to improve it and let them try again until they finally get it perfect.

Same goes for a parent with a toddler that's just learning how to feed themselves. Toddlers WILL dally, create a mess, etc. and that takes too much time and effort.

It doesn't make us bad teachers/parents. We can kinda blame it on the 'instant' lifestyle that we live and breathe in today. Thirsty? Have a 3-in-1 of your choice (some don't even require hot water anymore). Hungry? Instant noodles to the rescue. Then there's Internet Banking, E-Billing, etc. We are practically 'conditioned to be impatient'.

I guess what would help is being conscious in what we do in guiding the young 'uns whether our (future) children/students/etc. Not an easy task to be sure but I think there's still hope for us yet... ^^

Amanda Christine Wong said...

That's so true! semua pun mau instant. plus yg my debate ni we only have two weeks to prepare, discuss, memorise and practice. but i learned my lesson. next year sy kasi biar ja dorang. but with my guidance of course :D

Phoebe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phoebe said...

Gee, that IS a short amount of time to prepare. Ngam laitu. They need to learn kan. Good luck on the upcoming debate. ^^

Amanda Christine Wong said...

UHUH. Thanks! :D

kei-1 said...

sorry for suddenly being unavailable, had a few unwanted stuff happenings.

I'd say that it really depends on the students that you get. Personally I prefer letting them do everything regardless but my school will haunt me and put my name on the pedestal if my team loses last year. I just didn't have the luxury of letting them do it... My head was on the line. However, other side discussions during the whole debate are great for student development for as long as they can finally start to use their brain for something for once...

You just have to congrats the current education system for numbing the student's brain so much that thinking is a foreign concept to do.

Amanda Christine Wong said...

K:'Sokay. So another important thing comes into the picture's nuts how schools now are reputation crazy, till we are pressured to do things for our kids. Well I'm going to make them write their own script next year. A guided one of course :D