Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Torture Chamber

Yes, the Torture Chamber aka The School is where students like us get tortured by the humongous pile of homework, backstabbers and liars and also the worse you can expect, the teachers who expect so much from you.

I shall be writing this from a Primary School Student's point of view, as I am in fact one. A prefect, more specifically. I shall not reveal my name in this blog as I do not want to be littered with questions by fellow students.

The school, is a place where students enrol in for an education. Back in the past, school, was quite innocent and yes, most could not afford to go to school. Students were hardworking, but only a fair few were the defiant and rebellious kind. We go to school to study, not to go around gossiping with others about the latest news about so-and-so and also not to go around bullying the small and weaker students. So, why is MOE letting this happen? Teachers are not taking action at all. Students are actually being intimidated/bullied/threatened by bigger/older students and the teachers act as if nothing has happened. I, myself, am being bullied by others, and now, I am particularly disliked by several of my classmates because of a few certain people who gossiped about me and spread a rumor. Anyway, I won't go into detail of that.

Why do some pupils loathe going to school? Here are some reasons that I have researched on:

1. I get bullied!

Maybe lower primary kids get more of these problems. If they are being bullied by older students, they will feel scared and will hate going to school when their older because of their past experiences.

2. There's too much homework!

As my friend, Tortured Student, has said in previous posts, we think that homework is unneccesary. So, why do teachers still torture their students by issueing piles and piles of worksheets? They also destroy the students weekends/holidays.

3. The teachers suck.

Yes, that is another reason. Some pupils actually love going to school, but it's because of the lunatic teachers that drive the students up the wall. The teachers, would sometimes vent their anger on the students and it can be a really horrible scene to watch.

4. My classmates SUCK TO THE CORE!

I personally think that I would be in this category. My friends, sorry, EX-friends, are backstabbers, liars and betrayers. They spilled all my secrets to the whole class and I've really hated them for that. Many students would not like to attend lessons because of their classmates, for fear they would bully them. Yes, I hate going to school for this reason.

5. I think school is not worth going to.

Although some of us think that way, we are still forced to attend school due to our parents as they pay for our school fees. And in case you didn't know, if you do not attend school for a countless times, you may risk getting expelled. Anyway, some students really don't care about school. They just don't. They don't give a single damn about it.


That's about all for my reasons. For now. I shall edit this post if I have any other reasons to add.


Signed off,

~The Tortured Student no. 2 from Primary School.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Students should have fun too!

It's not fair. One, it's not fair that students only get to have fun on weekends. Two, it's not fair that students are held down by homework on weekends. Students should have fun! Here are the proposed ideas to make education fun for all, and still mentally enriching.

-For English lessons/English Literature, show movies and TV shows. Ask the students about the characters and what they think of them. If possible, ask them to write a composition about the movie/TV show. Then, ask the pupils to write biographies of their favourite actors/actresses. Let them be the reporter. Let them write interviews with their friends. Let them stage plays and satires. Let their imagination run!

-For Mother Tongue, let them dramatize the textbook. Let them have spelling contests and give them chances to state what they think about characters in the stories in their textbooks. Let them use CD-roms and computers to play games, then write down what they think.

-For Science, show them documentaries, especially those interesting ones done by Sir Richard Attenborough. Tell them to take notes while they watch, and give them a pop quiz to test their knowledge. Give them more experiments to do.

And the other subjects, give 'em the same fun touch!

Lesson Plans

One of the reasons why students do not enjoy school is because of the way lessons are taught. Firstly there is the issue of teachers, which I will address later. Then there is the tediously boring lesson. Which goes like this, in my perspective.
(All italic words are in singlish)

Teacher: Blahblahblahblahblah. (About the subject. Usually it all just comes out to me as blahblahblah because it is so tedious I don't bother listening to it.)
Pupils: *plopped down on their desks, or drawing pictures, or scribbling notes to friends*
Teacher: Blahblahblahblahblah? (She's asking a question) Blahblahblah! (She's asking someone to answer the question)
Someone: What's the question, ah?
Teacher: (angrily) BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH!
Someone: Um, huh?
Teacher: (furiously) BLAHBLAH! (Interpretation: Stand up until you answer my question!)
Someone: *silence*

And this goes on and on and on, until lesson ends. So how to improve the way lessons are taught? Firstly, more interactivity. IT and multimedia for example, are great ways to teach. The young generation like electronic devices. Bring them to the computer lab! Give them CD-roms with games in it related to the subject which they can play! (Yes, sometimes we DO go the computer lab, but it is very rare, and usually the teacher will talk until the lesson ends and we won't really have time to switch on the computer)

Improve lesson plans. Wipe out boredom.

Supplementary, Remedial and After-school Activities

Supplementary, remedial and after-school activities(such as CCA). This eats up many of the students' time for studying and doing their homework(read homework post which I have typed earlier). What is the importance of such activities? Let me address each issue seperately.

1. Supplementary
The only use of supplementary lessons are that the lazy teacher cannot cram all of her duties into one day, and so needs to eat up her students' time to finish her duties so she can go home and relax. In my opinion, and many others', supplementary is completely, utterly, useless.

2. Remedial
This is slightly helpful, but the main reason students do badly is because they hate the teacher or the teacher's style of teaching. In that case, no amount of remedial is going to do any good, because no matter how hard the teacher forces the students on like oxen, their grades won't get any better, because they will loathe the teacher more and more. In some cases, the grades can even drop lower. If they had liked the teacher, I think that they won't even have to attend remedial in the first place. Pick better teachers, MOE.

3. After-school Activities (like CCA)
Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) are one of the main reasons that students have no time after school, and usually come back tired and forlorn. And there is actually no point in them doing so. Take mine for example. Each level (1-3) only takes up 45-minutes of instrument practice, and then their practice is over for the day. But they have to wait until all the levels finish, which is totally unnecessary. Why not let each level go after they have finished their lesson? As a result, the students have to spend at least one and a half hours in a waiting room, sleeping, scribbling or simply dying of boredom after finishing their homework. Very little students take the initiative to study in such a dull environment, and also since they have a very bad impression of studying which the teachers imparted to them. More activities after school, such as enrichment, also have no effect on pupils and I don't understand why they have to be 'compulsory'.

Homework

Ah, homework. The ever-popular target of hate by students. Why is it hated so much? Aren't assignments supposed to be enriching and fulfilling? Well, many students loathe it to the very core of their souls. Well, here's my answer to this question. It's not the homework, it's the amount of homework given. Why do the teachers give so much homework, especially on weekends? I can only think of one answer: that the teachers want to complete all their duties quickly and by giving the most homework on weekends, the students get to slave away while they relax for the weekend. If we 'learn more' during class, then what is the need for homework? I still don't get it.

My solution is to cover small portions of learning per day, but not giving any homework, so that the students may go home to study for the next day's topic. And, if it is already not clear enough, school practically takes up half-a-day or more of any student's time.

Cut down on homework. Learn more in class.

A Friend's Story

This is a true story related to me by one of my rare close friends who studies in the same school, but, sadly, not in the same class. This story concerns a girl named EC.(whose real name will not be revealed for the sake of gossiping and privacy. This is NOT a gossip blog.) EC is a professional gossiper and backstabber, who tells untrue tales about fellow classmates and schoolmates so that she would have the pleasure of seeing them argue. Let me tell you something, she is not well-liked. (In my friend's class, that is. In my class, she would have been well-respected.)

EC would pick two particular people as her victims. For example, the two people are named A and B. She would approach A and say, "Did you know B said that you were proud and arrogant?"And then, when A became angry, she would approach B and say, "Hey, did you know that A is angry with you because she thinks you're a bad friend?" And then A and B would confront each other and their conversation would not be pretty, and would probably go something like this, sans the singlish:

A: So, you think I'm arrogant huh?
B: I didn't say that. EC said--
A: Don't like to me. EC is not the problem right now. The problem is your lying and backstabbing. Why would you do this to a close friend?
B: But I didn't do it!
A: Yes you did, how can you betray my trust like that?
B: (angrily) Fine. I don't care what you think, but I didn't do this. If you choose to put your trust in EC, then I think we shouldn't be friends anymore.
A: Fine with me, you (insert vulgarity here)

This would be how a valuable friendship ends. And we all know how hard it is to find a true friendship. AND all this time, EC would be watching with a satisfied smile on her face. Now if the education is so great and fun, then why are there pupils like this who do things that hurt others for their own entertainment? If learning were so fun, then wouldn't they be learning instead of doing this?

Cliques

There is something about 'class unity' that I should address. Class unity means to support all your classmates, to be friendly to all of them, no matter how weird or how different they are, and not leave them as outcasts. As I have said before, there are gossipers and backstabbers and a so-called popular group, but the rest of the class are divided into cliques of their own, only accepting certain people and expelling the rest like unwanted mosquitos. Clique activity includes sitting together like a secret society during recess, and if at any time the teachers allow them to choose groups for project work, they will always pick the members of their respective clique. If, in any case, they are short of members in a group, they will choose only members of the so-called popular group to join them in their sinister schemes. If you are an outcast, whom your class considers a loser (even if you are not), it is highly unlikely you will understand the meaning of class unity. If you are thick-skinned, you may attempt to infiltrate into a clique, but only to be turned away. This expulsion could cause you serious hurt. And if you happen to cry, the gossipers and backstabbers will act immediately. And if the teachers force the cliques to add a certain person to their group, whom they do not want, it is likely the person would be ignored, insulted or cast out.

Now for class activity. There comes a certain point in time where the class is required to make a decision as a class, to create a cheer or something like that. The cliques will disagree with each other, and usually, an angry, vulgar or violent class arguement erupts, usually with plenty of swear words and shouting. The teachers seldom do anything to stop the class from its furious uproar. In the aftermath of the arguements, when there no time left to agree to the decision, the class will put together a lame, weak result which could fall apart at any moment. Then many people will whisper about other cliques or people to their own cliques, and there will be complaining and sour faces. And PLENTY of gossiping and backstabbing.

Is this how the school defines class unity? Does the school even know this is happening? Will they even take action?

Gossipers and Backstabbers

The school is full of them, lying and gossiping their way to popularity. My class is full of them, telling untrue tales about you and me to their equally fiendish counterparts who are lurking around everywhere. They may wear a mask of kindness, but beneath is a sinful heart, bound only to the mission of causing grevious hurt to their victimized classmates. But they themselves are wimps, afraid of losing their popular position in class, gained treacherously from telling lies about the people who consider them friends. And so the terrible rumours spread from class to class, and once the victim finds out, their life will be impacted in ways too horrible to mention. Some may eventually drift into depression and commit suicide. Why are the people like this? Let me point out the personalities of the 'pupils' in schools nowadays.

1. They do not gossip or backstab gangster-like pupils who use vulgarities, break school rules and overall, act cool. And those people are the main gossipers and backstabbers. They do this because they want to remain as the 'popular and cool' individuals in class.

2. The ones usually gossiped about and backstabbed are the nicer pupils, usually pushovers who are bullied into doing things against their will by the popular, 'cool' squad aka freaks and bitches. They tell lies about the nice people which are usually untrue and fake. These people are about as plastic as the 'mean girls', possibly worse.

Why are the discipline standards so low? These kind of classmates make the victimized pupils dread and loathe going to school, which should be an enjoyable experience of learning. If my observations are correct, the teachers and staff are like this too. They have their own web of treachery deep in the staff lounges, where they discuss issues about parental complaints which aren't even addressed. The requests of parents are also usually ignored. Victimized pupils are encouraged to tell their parents or teachers. But if the teachers can't be trusted to do the right thing, how about the parents? In the school system now, if one tells their parents and the parents scold the bullies, the bullies will probably do worse acts to the victimized pupils to further add to their already unbearable agony.

Why are schools allowing this?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Mathematics Lesson

In this post we shall discuss the behaviour of teachers. I will now tell you what happened today at about eleven or so in the late morning. My teacher-let's call her Miss X-came in to start the lesson. How did she start it? By screaming that the teacher's table was full of books and files and that there had to be some space for her pencil case and teaching materials. In her hands she clutched the papers that me and my classmate-let's call her M-submitted to her in the early morning.

Let me tell you about the papers. They were an assignment due on the 18th of May, which was about a week ago, handed up late. I was not in school when the assignment was given, as I was home sick with the flu. But I sent the teacher an email stating my sincere apology over the late work. Thus I stayed up late last night, burning the midnight oil, to carefully sort and plan the things that I was about to write. Then I woke up half-and-hour earlier than usual today, for the math teacher's sake, and went to school before the classrooms were even unlocked. Then I copied my plannings carefully onto my worksheet neatly. Then me and M went down to the assembly grounds near the staffroom, and waited patiently for Miss X to arrive. We stood until assembly began, then we proceeded to attend assembly. Afterwards did we then see Miss X. We gave it to her personally. But of course, she wasn't very nice to us.

Now cut back to the maths lesson. She pointed to the papers that were on the table and asked if they were just left here for her by other people who had late assignments. After some pupils confirmed the answer as a yes, she threw one on the ground (the poor soul who did this paper) and stepped on it, whilst screaming loudly in singlish. Then she grabbed another one and flung it away. Then the most offending part, which I would like the MOE to take note of.

She shrieked like a madwoman and screamed out the names of M and myself, then we were made to stand. She screamed that she knew that we handed in this morning, and demanded to know why we didn't give it to the monitress, when we were clearly confused in the previous lessons about who to hand it to. During that time, we were too scared to react, for yesterday she was still the same firebreathing she-dragon. Then she yelled at us, saying that we didn't write our name on it. Then she CRUSHED BOTH OUR PAPERS AND THREW IT ON THE FLOOR.

This was intolerable. I gasped and covered my mouth in shock with a hand. She imitated my behaviour and gave some sarcastic comments. It hurt deeply in my heart, but I did not say a word. My effort, my late night, my early morning. She had just crumpled it all and flung it onto the dusty floor along with M's paper. She didn't bother to pick it up or help us find it. We searched the dusty ground until a classmate handed us the crumpled sheets. We wrote our name and placed it back on the stack. Then later, she started screaming at us again as to why we didn't write our name, until she saw that we just did. She did not even bother to look at the worksheets thoroughly again before accusing us.

Tell me, MOE, why are the teachers like this? What kind of example are they setting for pupils? Do they know that actions like this could hurt those who had spent time and effort to do this work for them? All because of their own selfish tantrums, they scar and hurt the emotions of the young child who didn't know any better.

I cried after the teacher left.

The Educational System

Firstly, let me put it straight. I refuse to insult the educational system, but honestly, it is making life hard for the pupils nowadays. I will not reveal my name, nor my other blogs (which depict my everyday life) or my school, all for the sake of privacy. This blog is devoted to the errors of the 'modern' educational system which Singapore has created. But I wonder-do the children enjoy it? If you ask many in my class, obviously they don't. I just want to point out that there are many loopholes in the system, that the MOE should pay more attention to. And everything in this blog are facts, and I will write nothing but the truth. Any contributions by fellow students are welcome.