Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Different Education Systems

After tweeting my average score for two subjects, I received a reply and for the sake of convenience, I'm gonna copy and paste the conversation below.

"If I started at the beginning of the semester I wouldn't have a 73% average for marketing [ :( ] and 87% for English."

"isn't tht enough??! thats an A alrdy!"

"Not in this public school system, rather sucky for an easy curriculum. I could have gotten 90%, hoping for next semester!"

"omg! that's crazy. can't believe kids thr are so smart!"

"Um no, really, it's not like Singapore. Singapore has world class education, it's different here, getting 90 is normal."

Soon, I realized what the confusion was all about. Having studied in a primary school in Singapore for four years and six months in a Chinese elementary school in Malaysia prior to that and also being homeschooled for three years, I knew the differences in the grading system. Well, not to the dot exactly but just more knowledge on how they all generally work since I was exposed to each of them for a substantial period of time.

I didn't understand much about the Canadian public education system though. I left this place when I was eight years old and I didn't even know what I was doing back then. Now that I'm back into the system, I'm beginning to learn how this country educate and grade students in public schools.

It was shocking, really, I was horrified. Maybe it's because I'm in the college level where all the students with behavioral problems and "mental setbacks" are. It's just like EM1, EM2 and EM3; the way Singapore used to (or maybe still do) class students based on their academic marks. College would be between EM2 and EM3, Mix(College/University) would be EM2 and Workplace would be EM3. My guidance counselors did assure me that they put me in this level because I was a new student and they needed to know how well I would do. I was also afraid to be put into the toughest class with too much work to catch up on so I requested to be put in the lowest academic level for math: Grade 11 Workplace Mathematics.

After three days I changed to College and it was fine. For English, I thought that I was put into a "special" class, not gifted, "special". It was because I saw a student on an electronic wheelchair with a nebulizer attached to her throat. Ironically, the teacher was asking students to read from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Shakespeare and the way they read made me gawk. My eyes widened and I was thinking, "Wtf, did they put me into a slow learners class?! WTF?!?!" Immediately after the class, I approached the teacher trying not to look proud or anything (because I wasn't and I didn't want to give the wrong impression) and I asked, "Um, excuse me. Am I in a slow learner's class? 'cus I'm not a slow learner and I think my english is okay but I don't know how to write essays and stuff."

I really wasn't trying to come off cocky, I was panicking man, I was totally freaking out. I couldn't let myself be in that class for the rest of the semester. It turned out that it was a college class and he said the students in that class weren't so bright and gave me tips on writing essays to help me prepare for university english. Yes, it was embarrassing. I didn't mean to insult the whole class like that but I really was expecting better from a country who's main languages are French and English. Then I learned a new thing, youths these day hardly read which means they can hardly spell or read.

So doesn't it baffle you how exactly these students pass and manage to graduate? When I found out I was like, "HEY, THEY DON'T DESERVE THAT HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA. IT'S NOT FAIR, I'M WORKING HARD FOR MINE AND THEY'RE... THEY'RE CHEATING AND SLACKING AND BARELY PASSING." That was why I was complaining so much during the first few weeks when I got into this school. I'm not proud that I'm the top in class for English (but relieved nonetheless) because it's a farce. This whole education system is a bloody joke to me.

Students with a 49% get "bumped up" to 50% which means they pass and earn, no, not earn, they receive a free credit. Teachers help students during tests, they're just not just explaining the question but bloody spelling out the steps to solve/answer them. Teachers are SO lenient, they feel pressured emotionally when students say, "Aw c'mon, give me an extra 5 marks. I'm failing!" I think the MOE needs to check on the professionalism of teachers. How can teachers pity the incompetent students in the class and increase their marks for the sake of helping them to pass? Good teachers teach well and they are consistent and impartial. Over here, they let the class chit-chat and only when they're (the teachers) not in the mood to participate in the conversation do they tell the class to quiet down.

Some even think they can intimidate students to silence by staring at them with a grim face only to have them talking again after three seconds. What are you gonna do? We already know your empty threats, you wouldn't follow through what you say about deducting marks because of your soft spot for your students or maybe because you don't wanna argue about why you're giving them a F. It's a no brainer of how to handle students really, be fair and consistent. You don't raise marks for some students for no reason and leave out the rest. You should have a limit and whenever students cross the line, show us that there will be consequences. I saw so many bloody times of classmates getting away with things and all of sudden the teacher demands them to stop. You shouldn't have let them get away the third time.

Also, in marketing, the teacher pretended to be fair to the rest of the class by announcing loudly that since a group was not ready for the presentation, they would have a zero. The next day? She was expecting them to give a presentation in front of the whole class but 3 out of 4 of the members skipped class. The next, next day when they were all present, she was annoyed that they weren't setting up the projector and what not for the presentation. They didn't even know they were supposed to present anything, a guy vindictively said, "But you said we couldn't present anymore!" See? Inconsistent and unfair. The teacher decided that there wasn't enough time because she needed to teach the rest of the class and told the group to pack the equipments back and demanded that if they wanted the marks they would have to present it in the third period even when they had other classes.

Wow. What a way to go. She continued justifying herself, just like when she asked for a pencil and I lent her a pen and she forgot to return and blamed me for not remembering to take it back from her. I was like "Wow." The teacher's even worse than the students who borrow my stationeries. Even though I find my classmates who don't bring stationeries to school to be total penisheads and they lose my things or forget to return it, at least they don't try to turn the table around and make it sound like it was my fault. Honest penisheads are better than self-justified deniers.

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