My Recent Thought on Education

Willis WAN, Chun Yu | 2021-04-25

In Parliamentary language, the verb “to table” has two meanings- in the US, it means to stop considering a motion or a bill. In contrast, in the UK (and the rest of the world), it means the start of the consideration.

I’ve been thinking about my current students lately. Partly because some of them are taking DSE this week, and partly because of a sharing made by one of my current students.

“My teacher suggests I drop ICT,” she said.

Yes, unlike the 4 compulsory subjects, dropping an elective is always an option- if you perform well enough in other subjects, dropping 1 (or even 2) electives shouldn’t be a big deal.

Yet, I have been puzzled by this suggestion. 

I’m puzzled, not intrinsically on the suggestion, but the motive thereof. The “be-nice-and-love-everyone” I say I should trust the good intention of her ICT teacher- he doesn’t want her to be overwhelmed by what comes next; he doesn’t want her results on other electives to suffer… But the “realistic” me is screaming: he is selfish. He doesn’t want a student who will perform poorly in DSE a year later.

Man, how I wish I can read people’s mind and see which is the case.

And then I ponder over the what-ifs: What if I was told to stop pursuing a particular subject, such as technology, when I was much younger? Would I give up if one of my teachers advise so?

Very likely.

But then what follows intrigued me-

“But I want to go on. I want to prove him wrong.”

This juxtaposition gives me a great reason to give my 100% on her. Her decision, whether it is fully justified or not, means perseverance.

This current system labels students with their past academic result- those who perform well deserves love and care, and those who don’t perform well should find problems on themselves.

This is simply unfair.

There could be a myriad of reasons for the appalling result. A student may find a particular topic difficult to understand. The way one specific teacher teaches does not resonate with them. Or perhaps the student is experiencing some sort of trauma due to personal experience.

Should we be taking away opportunities from these students, albeit them showing passion on the subject?

And as an ICT tutor, I keep reminding myself- don’t just focus on their scores. Scores are but numbers. I should be their guidance in this hill of knowledge- showing them what worths knowing and how to appreciate. I should also be their friends, showing compassion and care to them in this daunting system of education.

Just like a simple verb can have multiple meanings, my students are different, each deserving different care from me.

I shouldn’t be teaching. I should be inspiring them. I should be growing with them.