Monday, June 01, 2009

It's all about grades!

It's the best time of the year, work-wise to me. The campus is quiet now that students are on holiday. And with the school holiday, lot less fetching and dropping for me and these few days will be spent writing papers for publicaton and a conference that will be held next week.

But something's just bothering me and think I just take a few minutes off to share with you.

We finalised the exams result last week. I have two students asked me "I got F for your subject, can't you at least make it a D?". Followed by their stories of how difficult the course for them, of how the F would effect their results overall...bla, bla, bla.

But neither challenged me (that's what they supposed to do), or asked me to go through their answers and discussed, or argued that they deserve better etc. And without that, I just have to leave it at that.

If for the students it's a matter of F to D, for Bea1's school teacher it's B to A.

But first, even before I met her to get the report card on the school Open Day last week, I really don't care about the grades. I know my girl is doing fine and I'm so grateful for that.

While going through the result, she actually apologised (to my surprise, really) and mentioned that she has tried to look for that one more mark to give my girl an A for one particular subject. Maybe because she thought that would spoil the rest of the results as Bea1 got all A for the others.

On second thought, maybe the reaction/treatment from other parents has made the teacher so defensive.

Anyway, I looked into the eyes of the young teacher, just like I do to my students when I'm dead serious. I told her that she didn't have to apologise as it didn't matter to me, and I mentioned as a mother I knew my girl is doing fine.

Then, I went on and on and on about my two students who just ended up asking for better grades without even doing anything to justify their request. About how we maybe stuck with the grading system that it must be all about grades or rather about As, even for kids as young as 7.

What is more important is a passion to learn (and indicated to her that she has a major role as a teacher to instil that in the young kids), or doing things with enthusiasm. Success will come maybe even before you realise it and maybe not in the form of straight As (Now it is obvious that I was not a straight As student...haha).

I was not really sure if she was ready to hear that lecture. My students hate me and now I probably made my girl's teacher hate me too. Great!

I hope I'm making sense here and those who read this knows what I'm talking about. I just wish I can write better. Anyway, I'm teaching hundreds of future-teachers in a year here. I'm sad to know that for most of them, being a teacher is the last resort. So question like "Will they teach with passion?" is always in my head. And the thought that I have let these people to teach my own kids give me a shudder sometimes. My consolation is the thought that I'd always actively involved in educating them, besides what they get in the formal school.

Anyway, read what a headmaster got to say about something related to what I wrote here. I could not agree more with him.

Ok, back to work now.


Blogger Wannabe Supermom said...

I totally get what u mean! It's what I've been ranting & complaining about all this while but nobody seems to get me! It's not about numbers (or in this case alphabets :P), Even here in Abu Dhabi, I've come across a few kiasu moms (surprisingly, well not really surprising, they are all from Malaysia...wonder what that means?) and to them its all about numbers, grades and scores. I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to enroll my daughter in a british school. She doesn't have 2 sit for any exams till she is older, only the weekly spelling tests. Assessment is done through teacher's observation and the aim is to ensure that the children reach the goals that has been set oyt for them. If they exceed their goals, then that's a bonus for them. Their aim isn't solely academic but rather on nurturing the child's overall development mentally, physically, spiritually, their creativity, aesthetics & language skills. Parents are very much involved in the process & they can determine their own child's progress by the childrens previous works that has been compiled by the teacher. The teachers are so passionate about their kids & all the kids seems very eager to learn. Its not about learning to obtain the highest scores but to cultivate a life long love for learning.

12:40 AM  
Blogger mama23beas said...

Linda...I'm so glad you share this with me. The school that you mentioned sound so good to me...but of course over here got no choice. To me if we can't avoid the system, at least individual teacher must have certain thinking and aim on how to for eg cultivate life long love for learning like you mentioned. That's what I've been trying to convey to my students but my role is limied as I only teach geology to them. Anyway, this topic deserves a lengthy discussion.

2:26 PM  

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