Saturday, March 24, 2012

There Is A Silver Lining


Can you count how many disgruntled posts I made about my dumb kids?

There are...let's see, 1, 2, 3 and 4.

And hundreds as my Facebook status updates.

Since I started teaching in my current school, I have lost all hope in humanity.

Okay, exaggerated a bit there, but pretty much sums up the situation in schools today.

Students' standard of English today is atrocious.

At 17, they still can't name all the months and count past 10 in English.

For the good kids, their attempt to pass the national exam is futile.  And as for the rotten ones, the number of fucks they give is zero.

No matter how hard I try, they will still fail.

Makes me feel like shit.

But something awesome happened.  We received our students' SPM results.

Even though I taught the Science Stream class last year, their English proficiency is still bad.  A few failures, a majority of Cs and Ds, some Bs and only few A kids.

To my surprise, my majority Cs and Ds kids managed to get as high as a B.  That's two bands different, and that's A LOT of difference.  And my regular failures got Cs.  Also, two bands different.

A student who didn't know what 'carrot' is at a mature age of seventeen managed to get a C for English.  HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

I'd like to believe it was because of 10% of my awesomeness, and 90% of their hard work.  Yeah, I'm humble like that.  It could also be because 'they' lowered the passing mark, but fuck that, my kid got a C, and I'm proud as hell.

Then I realised why I've been so depressed every time exam comes along.

I focused too much on the bad apples to appreciate my good ones.  I focused too much on shoving knowledge to kids who refuse to learn, till I forget that there are other kids who need me more because they are not dumb enough to think they can make it in the big bad world just by repairing cars at their garage backyard.  I can't save them all, but I can surely save those who wants to be saved.  Even it means just one kid out of a hundred.  And it's going to make all the difference in my world, and his or her world.

So my advice to all noob teachers out there, especially those teaching English in secondary school ('coz the kids you teach will somehow not have any memory learning English at all), do not leave any kid behind when teaching, but don't waste your energy on kids who refuse to learn.  Go to the kid who WANTS to learn.

"But aren't we supposed to motivate those who don't want to learn?", you ask.  Like that overused saying, 'you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink', you can force a kid to do your work (by using all sorts of ridiculously evil threats), but you can't make them absorb knowledge.  Motivation starts at home.  So it's not your fault you suck at playing counsellor.  Unless you really are good in mind-fucking.

Remember, you can't save all of them, but you can save one kid at a time.  And it's going to change his or her life forever.

I was going to say...Never mind.

*Note to self: Please return to this post when suicidal tendencies come up when marking papers.

6 comments:

Lizeewong said...

Well said post!

Wow!! It's a miracle that the carrot boy got a C!! Well done Manda! What happened to that boy who cried when you mind-fucked him in the staffroom? Yg defiant tu ba. Did he pass?

Although I'm glad that you have a new outlook on teaching, I'm hoping you won't stop talking bout your disgruntlement with the rotten apples. Siok mau baca ba :D

Amanda Christine Wong said...

Lizee: Hehe. Oh itu this year SPM. But we're cool now, minta gula2 ja dia slalu. Ergh. Hah, as long as I'm still in this kinda school, there will still be lost of demotivation-related stories :D

AnnieMing said...

Congrats on your students' achievement in SPM yaa!

Amanda Christine Wong said...

@Annie:
Thaaaanks! :DD

MOSES said...

the situation over here is pretty much the same. I taught the 10th class of form 5 last year. Those in that class some didn't even know how to spell their names correctly! miraculously 1 student passed Classes no 9 and no 8-both were taught by some other teachers recorded 100% failure anyway!!!!!And I also made 11 passers in class no 7 and 7 got C+ in class no 5!everyone's still shaking their fuckin heads in disbelief including my PKP but WE JUST DID IT! :D

Amanda Christine Wong said...

@Moses: Well congrats to you! Maybe it's luck, but it could also be our awesomeness :D