The way I see it, EDUCATION is a stressful process. At this particular moment, many persons are breathing a sigh of relief. Students across the federation, recently engaged in the TEST OF STANDARDS, for some Primary schoolers and the OVERSEAS EXAMINATIONS for the high schoolers.
The more I think about it, I realize that almost the entire population would have been overly stressed. The students would have hopefully studied hard and put in the necessary preparatory work. Sadly, some would have wasted their time away. Some would have been made promises of lavish rewards if they did well and I understand that some had threats of fire and brimstone coming down on them if they did not do well. Well I newa!
From experience, I know that studying for exams could really give persons some extra grey hairs. For one, students have to learn to utilize their time properly, by having set study periods; times of relaxation and times to do their regular chores. Parents have to know when to allow the students to study and insist on it—even sometimes joining to assist where possible, or just to ‘keep their company.’ Some parents spoil their children, by not having them do any chores at all during that period, with the other children complaining about how they have to do all of the work.
It is also a very stressful time for the parents. Oh, how they stress!
In this very competitive age, most of them are only interested in their child doing better than somebody else’s child. I think I told you before about this particular mother, who came and told me, many moons ago, when Curtis Jr was in grade two or three, that her child had placed third and in the next breath wanted to know what JR had placed. It was all about the competition.
Some parents get really mad at their children when they do not do well and some put some exacting punitive measures in place, to emphasize their frustration. They see it as an embarrassment, because bet your sweet life, the neighbour, the people at church and elsewhere in the community, will ask the dreaded question: ‘How many subjects your son/daughter pass?’ You know that that is why the CXC officials now only allow the students themselves to gain access to their results by using individual passwords, right?
Oh yes. There was a time when people used to call the Education office and when they were done asking about their specific children’s results, would ask for the results of other persons.
Someone once told me that persons went as far as to call the Education office, pretending to be the parent of a particular child and asking for their results. Well I newa!
The problem I have with some parents who get down really hard on their children when they fail is that a lot of them did not do well in school either. When their friends were in class, they were constantly at recess. Now, don’t get me wrong. Of course, even if a parent did not do well in school, they should have and encourage set goals for their children, but they need to be more understanding when there are failures and try to rectify the situation, going forward.
What I find most interesting though, is that people normally forget the stress that the Teachers undergo. Even though some students are really hard to deal with, when the results come in, they are normally seen as a reflection of the quality of the teacher. Some teachers go the extra mile to do classes in their personal time. Others pay special attention to the slower learners and then there are some teachers who probably really could not care less. Some, unfortunately, are just in the profession to ‘pass time’ and collect a salary.
So, after the results and all of the querying minds have been satisfied, the other stress begins in terms of hundreds of persons seeking jobs, in an already saturated job market; persons seeking scholarships to further their education and some seeking to get into local colleges etc.
Then there is another stressful period, as parents seek to buy the many expensive books; get uniforms and bags etc as another child goes into a new school or into a higher grade.
The problem is that the children don’t make it easy on them either. I heard of one child who refused to go to school because her mother could not afford to buy him NIKE shoes like what he saw on some of his friends. In my day, if we got a pair of COCKAROACHIE SLIDERS from BATA, we had to ‘make do.’
So the cycle begins again, as another school term approaches.
May God bless our parents, our teachers and our students, that they will all be willing to put in the required hard work and seek the wisdom of God during the process. Then and only then, it will be less stressful.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?