Saturday, November 10, 2007

Negative Demonstration Alpha

At a gathering recently, Packrat and I were asked what we did for a living. So, we told the truth. Because this was a bunch of middle aged couples with children, they were very interested in what we did because they thought it would give them the inside scoop to what the education system was like and hopefully chance upon a secret way of getting round the system.

On the one hand, we were very amused but on the other hand, somewhat disgusted. Leaving the gathering I told Packrat that he was to shoot me if I became one of those mothers. This was the conversation that led to that declaration.

Mother No.1: So, my daughter is streaming this year. And I can't decide if she should do Physics of Biology.
Mother No. 2: Why can't you decide?
Mother No. 1: She scored very well in Physics but is interested in Biology.
Mother No. 2: Ai yah, there're two teachers here. Why don't you ask them?
Looking at us expectantly, Mother No. 1: So how? What should I (not her daughter, by the way) do?
Me: Well, I'd say go with her interest.
Mother No. 1: But she does better in Physics.
Me: Yes, but the subjects get harder once she hits O Levels and more so at A Levels. So if she's interested, at least she stands a chance.
Mother No. 1: But she does better at Physics.
Me: Yes, but she's only Sec 2. And you said, she doesn't do well in Math. Physics and Math have quite a relationship.
Mother No. 1: Oh, like that. But tell me lah! Which one is easier to score a distinction in? Don't tell me about enjoyment. I just need to know the bottom line. Which one will she get an A1 in?
Me (trying not to look goggled at what she just said): She will get a distinction in the one that she is most interested in because that will be one she will spend time studying.
Mother No. 1: But what can you do with Biology?

This goes on for a while and I'm aghast and tired of it so I join in some other conversation but I overhear the continuation of the conversation.

Mother No.1 to Mother No. 2: How??? They say do Biology but Physics is more prestigious and she scored very well in it.
Mother No. 2: I tell you what you do. You go to the school and see which one, Physics or Biology, has got a higher distinction rate. Then you pick the one that has a higher rate. That's what I did for my daughter.

Even though I wasn't involved in the conversation, the thought bubble forming over my head was "WTF???" quickly followed by "Seriously???" If I wasn't so intimidated by these rich (this was a gathering at a house in Queen Astrid Park), educated tai tais, I'd have very snarkily told them, regardless of the distinction rate of the school, if your daughter's a dud at the subject, she's not going to get a distinction rate and will probably be the reason the distinction rate drops and she will be crucified by the school for affecting their results so. But since all these people knew my in laws, I figured it wasn't a good response or suggestion.

I lament to Packrat after about how we, desperately try to imbue in our students the love for learning and knowledge and that education is about the journey of learning rather than the, as she so aptly put it, bottom line. And this is what we're up against. Parents who want distinctions rather than knowledge.

So once again, I reiterate, if I become a parent or mother like that, all you out there can take a number and throw tomatoes at me!


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Ondine tossed this thought in at 19:28

4 thoughts...

4 thoughts...

At 11:26 pm Blogger mummy's little pig said...

perhaps you should ask:

why can't your daughter do BOTH physics and biology, are her results not good enough?

that should shut them up

At 12:22 pm Blogger Shir said...

The first thing that came to mind was...why can't the daughter decide for herself?

At 4:04 am Blogger Kevyn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10:35 am Blogger Kevyn said...

I will do one better for you. I will send you a carton of tomatoes now. Should you transmorgify into said monster tai-tai, and as a woman of honor and integrity, you should do the honorable thing and perform 'tomato hara-kiri'.


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