Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Sound of Relief

Much as I was not the one taking the A level exams, I am now thankful it is over. Perusing the blogs of some of the kids I teach, I got the sense that they were coming loose at the seams and while it sounds about right, deep down, I wanted it over for them.

I didn't worry the way KW worried, but I did feel so sorry for the girl who looked so emaciated, everyone thought she was anorexic. I think she just studied and stressed herself out so much that she lost all that weight. I felt bad for the kids that had tears welling in their eyes after the GP paper. I wanted to hug every one of them and tell them it would be okay but I knew I shouldn't because for some of them, the fact of the matter was that it wouldn't be okay and we would just have to face it when the time comes.

Even though I wasn't the one taking the exams, it felt like I was going through the roller coaster with them. Seeing them in school, wound so tight made me wonder why all this was worth while. I mean, seriously, no one's looked at my A level certificate since I got into uni. Well, the Civil Service did, but then again, they'd demand my PSLE cert if I could actually find it. But, to everyone of these kids, the sanity in their worlds depended on how well they would do for these dastardly papers. So, what do I do? The night before the GP exam, I think I fell asleep praying for every single student that I taught and some that I didn't. Unlike KW, I didn't send them "good luck" cards. I think I was just too caught up in getting their work back and their testimonials written that I plain forgot. I figured, then, that the least I could do, was to pray for them, by name. I'm sure I didn't get through everyone, but I'm sure God figured my intention by the 57th name that came to mind.

I really don't know how these kids would do and I shit in my pants everytime I fast forward to next year when the results are released. They are indeed my first graduating batch and no matter where I end up next, I think this will be the batch I remember most by sheer fact that they are my maiden batch. Too scary.

People have asked me what I will remember of these kids. I don't know. Some days ago, R and DC were talking about how everytime they went back to serve reservist, they come out feeling very humble, because they meet people from different walks of life. I guess, that's what I'll take away from this batch. Humility.

When you grow up almost monolingual and all the people you hang out with are monolingual, you grow to forget that there is another world out there where people struggle with the language you take almost for granted. And when it is your responsibility to teach these people your language, you stop laughing quite quickly and try and figure the best way to bridge the gap between what they know and what they need to know.

Of course, irresponsible reporting in some newspapers make it out to sound like all you do is to laugh at them. My conscience is clear. I have never been mean-spirited to my students. Angry, yes. Sarcastic, absolutely. Snarky, totally. But never mean.

I never imagined to feel nervous about exams that were not my own or to empathise so greatly with them that now that it is over for them, I feel that only now, I have a right to go out there and enjoy myself. Perhaps, more than I've wanted to admit it, they have snuck up on me and gotten under my skin.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 22:46

1 thoughts...

1 thoughts...

At 5:08 pm Blogger ghoti said...

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