Friday, March 2, 2018

Random thoughts: A lesson for myself as much as for my pupils

Was feeling rather down after I knew my pupils' results. I have braced myself not to focus on results and instead of results. Easier said than done.

I do feel that the kids are learning, but ironically they still doing badly at the assessment.

I am quite surprised how affected I was, I was like drained of energy, just felt like sleeping my way through.

I am not sure how to break the news to them, I knew some of them have tried really hard. When we stay back late, and was doing a timed practice, I remember them pulling the chair away and kneeling down and then standing up to write so as not to fall asleep. I knew I have also tried hard, staying up late in the weekend to rush out customized worksheets for them.

I was very disappointed, and I am sure some of them feel the same. Of course, there are others who dun give a hoot too, and I wondered if I am too silly.

Nonetheless, I remember a lesson I did for my FTGP lesson. So I ask my kids to transfer water from a pail to another using spoon. It was a slow and painful process. Some kids enjoy it. Some started to get restless after a while and tried to take shortcuts etc. Some have their shoes wet and was a bit annoyed.

After the activity, I told them learning for exam can be like filling a bucket with water using a spoon. U tried very hard, but it seem futile. They couldn't even fill half of the bucket, and I told them sadly, none of them reach the halfway mark of passing.

We shall continue to do it, because after a while, when we have enough water over the other side, we will have enough strength to lift the big container of water and simply pour it over. It is called inflection point.

I told them I share their pain, because I was very disappointed with the results too. When I was saying this, I felt tears swelling but I quickly composed myself. I quick look around and I saw a few with red eyes and others with a sombre look. With this playful class, this is the rare few things I felt this sombre atmosphere and the connection.

I use this also as a opportunity and pointed out that as with most  human, when we dun see results, we get frustrated and sometime resort to short cuts.

We also need a bigger cup instead of a spoon. And hence u explained despite the efforts put in, we might need to do more. I think this is one of the rare time I don't get a protest asking pupils to do more work.

After the session, the lesson going through the papers is so much easy as most pupils focused on the lesson. And I felt much better finally able to get my feelings off my chest.

A lesson that is for myself as much as for my pupils


  1. thank you for your sharing. I almost teared reading this post, really touched by a teacher whose heart is for the pupils and share the pupils' pain. Jia you! :)

    1. HahahhahahaH and I thought I am the emo one

    2. I emo too... We same people. I like listen to your stories with your pupils. So interesting.

    3. If teachers not emo, maybe should be be teachers ...

      It's a job for the heart ma. Think the 2 super teachers also emo lol

  2. Hi SI,

    I guess there's a lot more to learn from a disappointing results after a lot of hard work had been put in, rather than a set of good results. It's good that you spent some time to reflect with your kids. Good teacher :)

  3. Actually, LP,

    I know what you are gently poking. U know what, the start line is just too far behind. All the vocabularies they are supposed to learn, they remember. For the notes they wrote on the question paper, they even remember the meaning, but they still can't answer.

    Because sight words that are supposed to be learned by P4 are unknown to them.

    The water is vocabulary. I wonder when will inflection point come.

    Without the vocab base, all comprehension and composition techniques amount to nothing

    Like what the super teacher in my school says, 走一步是一步。

    Just keep ploughing and revising and hope enough is gain

  4. Hi SI,

    An open question: do we want to teach the subjects or teach children, because the journey might be a very different? I heard first hand from students who are so scarred by their chinese teacher that they swore off chinese for the rest of their lives. They might end up with an A, but what of it? It's a pyrrhic victory.

    I hope that will never happen to my students. It'll be sad.

    This conflict is more stark for my case, because in a way, I'm paid to ensure the grades are good. If I didn't do that, I'm likely to be fired. It's just something that I will have to navigate and balance haha

  5. Hahahaha,

    I have found a way to resolve that dilemna somewhat..

    I drill to thrill. But might be running out of ideas. I create flash cards for them to help them remember vocab, and I bought a nerf gun to class. Once they say they are ready for the chapter, I will pick 6 cards. If they know all, u shoot myself. If the miss all but 1 I will put in 1 bullet and do a Russian roulette with the gun.

    They are rushing to be tested. Playing with girls are no fun, I always end up shooting myself...

    I let myself be the clown sometimes. The good thing about the weak class is I can tell everyone appreciate it and had some fun ...

    My the other better bigger class, some.give me the you very bo.liao face. Lol

  6. Haha, can't please everyone :) the point is that you also enjoyed yourself :) haha

    1. Any ideas ???

      I dun know how to drill with a lot of fun anymore .Lol

    2. Sillyinvestor,

      Permission to use the comments you and LP are having above for my next blog post?

      This thing about teaching for subject or children I have a lot to say from my perspective too!

      I enjoyed the history lessons; I got F9.

      I learned a lot in my Buddhism course; I dropped out after 1 year.

    3. Sure, 1 drink as copyright license fees