I am feeling demoralized. Looking at them frowing and yawning, looking like they are going to collapse from a mixture of exhaustion and confusion.
I never knew studying was this tough until i started on this career.
My primary school days were a breeze. I did no assessment books, had no tuition, and basically didn’t remember studying. I scored a 247 with A*s for both languages. By my family’s standards (well, three of my cousins scored above 260..the rest at least 250?), that was a lousy score. By my standards, I was a roaring success. I remembered my uncle going: “tsk tsk”. I was doing my best to look upset but really, my heart was doing a complicated cheerleading sequence in jubilation.
My secondary school days were quite comfortable too. Probably because of a good memory and sound language capabilities, i actually topped my class, much to the surprise of everyone cos i was basically in this group of 4 known for looking pretty (the other three, not me with my gigantic specs haha) and went to the Special Stream. I did average until Sec 4, when my granny passed away. Something just went off and all of a sudden, i felt this HUGE need to study- I was rewarded with 7 points and the first position in class.
JC days were tough but i played very hard during the first 1.5 years. I was worried cos’ all my A1s during the Os came from English, Higher Chinese, Chinese Literature and History. For the A-levels, i took on a Science combination (I was god awful at Physics. I scored 30+ marks for my first Physics Paper, the worst I have ever gotten for anything). I slogged for the last four months and then straight As: GP, Physics included.
Uni days were wonderful. Didnt really remember doing anything much, save for FYP. We worked hard, scored an A, I had a good mixture of As and Bs, even obtaining straight As one fine semester and graduated with my Second Upper Hons.
Schooling was smooth and i picked up certificates, bursaries and scholarships along the way. But you see, i am no extraordinary genius. The people i studied with were more or less the same. If they were a little less academically inclined, or a little more playful, they scored As, Bc and Cs. There were plenty who were way smarter.
My job however, has convinced me that my friends and I belonged to what the Mi*nis*t*y likes to call the academic elites. And we are probably only 10 per cent of the entire population.
My kids are different. They are perfectly capable of failing very badly. Some are smart but just can’t focus. Not even for 30 minutes. Others are extremely weak, and try as they might, they end up with Cs, if not worse. I have been trying very very hard- for those who are bright but unmotivated, i have been trying my utmost to make them see the value of using their brains. For those who are weak, I have been trying my utmost to aid them in their revision and at the same time, teaching them that the outcome might not always matter. I go:”If you have not tried your best and you have done very well, there is nothing to be proud of. All you can say is that you were lucky. Some day in your life, you may meet with an obstacle and luck may not be able to help then. If you have tried your very best, and still not do well, I am SOOO proud of you because you know you have exhausted this alternative and that it is time to, with a peaceful soul and mind, embark on exhausting the myriad of other exciting possibilities in life. And you know that when you have found your niche area, you are more than able to work very hard and be very disciplined“.
All my talk must have been meaningful to some since the valedictorian for the 2006 batch actually quoted me during C*ol*leg*e Day a few weeks back. I never did well enough to be valedictorian but it was nice to hear my name twice in a student’s speech:)) Even the teasing and dumb jokes from fellow fire-fighters about my “quote of the year” didn’t dampen my spirits.
Sometimes however, i just feel very tired. Very very tired. And very very fearful.
They will turn out fine in the end, they will pull thru, that i know. There are so many other things they could do. But i am just trying my best to cushion the almost-sure-to-come fall for some of these kids so that when the fall comes, they pick themselves up quickly.
I never knew i could get this fearful.
On a brighter note, my kids were interviewing juniors to fill up important posts today. They were all acting so stern and they asked such intelligent and professional questions. Damn cute!