Thursday, 2 April 2009

When I was in primary school, tuition classes were very normal for my classmates, but not for me.

That, is one of the perks of being a teacher's child. You get things normal students can't get. OTHER TEACHERS PAY YOU MORE ATTENTION.

My sister and I never attended any of those after school hours tuition classes, except for 2 cases that I remember. First, my sister. I remember once her teacher asked her to attend one subject's tuition class, and my mum agreed. When I was in standard 6, my apparent weakness in the chinese language and maths caused my teacher to ask me to attend tuition too.

I admit, I did get pretty good results (BUT NOT FOR THE SCHOOL) for chinese and maths for UPSR.

But I still question the relevance of the amount of tuition classes.

If I remember correctly there were tuition classes since standard ONE. Not every day, but around 2-3 days a week. Of course, I never stayed back for them. Towards the end of standard 5, when the s6 students have completed UPSR, then the s5 students would be required to attend tuition classes every day of the week, excluding Sunday.

Is it really, really relevant? Although the trend is you can't survive without tuition, these are just kids! Till today I do not regret going home at 1 to complete my homework, sleep and enjoy my childhood. On the other hand, my classmates sit in class till like 4 in the evening. Goodness knows how in the world they finished their homework in time.

I just don't understand why parents and teachers are getting more and more kiasu these days. A UPSR cert won't get you anywhere. These days, even an SPM cert does not guarantee you a job. And it's supposed to be SIJIL PELAJARAN MALAYSIA, proof that a person has studied till form 5.

Anyway, what's the obsession with UPSR?

A CERTAIN PK1 IN MY PRIMARY SCHOOL USED TO BE OBSSESSED WITH TUITION. She made the schedules and everyone has to suffer. Even when I was a kid I pitied her kids. Imagine what they go through every day. It's a wonder she didn't send them for night time tuition. Then again, maybe she did. The school and every other school was always trying to produce straight A students. Staying back makes them restless, and by the end of the day they're exhausted.

When you think of it, why can't this be a cause for disciplinary problems? Students who don't get good results are looked down upon. Who can they turn to? Classmates who have a string of As? Or those people who sell drugs? Or gangsters? And kids have lots of energy. They need to run wild in a field every now and then. The sad thing is PE lessons have been replaced by 'more important' lessons. And they are jailed for another 3 extra hours. That's their playing time chopped. Now I understand why I once saw form 1 students running around playing Fire And Ice or whatever it's called.

In my own defence, I never had any interest in chinese. Maths... well I didn't like it at first, but I liked it later because I did well in practice tests. In subjects like English and BM, I would still get better results than my classmates most of the time. I remember this one time when my sexist and prejudiced english teacher just asked me to go do the tuition english exam paper. There and then. No preparations whatsoever. As it turned out, nobody had a higher mark than mine. Yeah I was bragging but then again, if I had interest in chinese, I'm sure I could've done well too. My sister certainly did.

So the whole point of this long winded post is, I think for primary schools, teachers shouldn't just hammer information into the kids' heads like that. They should grab the interest of the young, shouldn't they? Otherwise the kids'll just flunk out in secondary school.

Primary schools don't realise that their job is not just to ensure their students do well in UPSR, but in life. As they say, they're laying a concrete foundation. But you can't just keep hammering concrete in. You need trees. You need their roots to grow and spread, and hold the concrete in place. Otherwise, it'll just come crashing down one day.
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