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They may fail ... and learn

As I watched from my place, I can see parents sending their kids on Saturdays and Sundays morning, there are surely extra or revision classes held.

Teachers are expected to attend, no questions asked. Students are too, although they have a choice and not all of them do. Similar sessions are held throughout term or semester and holidays.

Whether it’s primary or secondary schooling, what began as sessions for only the core subjects quickly extended to every subject where a handful of students were either willing or able to attend.

Teachers have no choice about whether they want to be involved in taking these classes. Of course, some are willing but the numbers refusing will definitely go into the ‘bad’ books.

Schools or institutions are known to run numerous programs of the likes of  monthly assemblies, counseling program, mentor-mentee program, sports and carnivals and the list goes on; and for every program students have to attend; classes need to be replaced.

Teachers need to plan and be ready to ensure the teaching hours are met; others want the program to run, others have to sacrifice and bear the consequences.

Much of this pressure can be traced back to the introduction of wasted ‘strategic planning’ and targets of the administrators.

Academic leaders wants us to do everything in our power to prevent a student from failing, we are required to have them back after lessons or after school to improve or redo minor class assessments. This makes sense, to an extent.

Of course, teacher’s job is to help students reach their potential. If they fail to do this, we need to make the time to help them so they don’t make the same mistake again. But this just isn’t what happens.

No matter how much time you spend with the students, going over their work, they will still make the same mistakes as before. They listen, re-do their work, and leave. And believe it or not, the same thing will happen again.

It is a deep concern about pressure to carry out such interventions to compensate for ‘reluctant’ students. Institution should consider instructing teachers not to hold sessions outside of the school day.

We need to face reality; we should accommodate and accept failures and the chance for them to build-up on improving.

We have to act and face the facts. Many had voiced out that students are demanding for our time at their choosing. Even the leaders are hard on us.

We had provided revision materials; tutorials and activities, even e-portals. On replacement classes, every single topic we’ve ever taught will be repeated, not revising. We expect the students to do nothing, so they don’t.

This over-reliance on teachers goes beyond exam results. This doesn’t do our students any favors.

If we don’t provide them with a chance to fail, they have no chance to grow. If, for every assessment, they know they can just redo it with no impact on their grade, there’s no urgency.

The demand for replacement or revision classes doesn’t necessarily work hard in lessons. In fact, the growing attitude is that lessons don’t matter; they’ll relearn it all in revision anyway.

It is not good for teachers either. The added extra time we’re expected to give to student’s means our workloads, become even more strenuous to manage.

Our lives away from school are taken off. School leaders will not listen to our plight and we are left to deal with it.

We do need to let pupils fail occasionally, without playing the blame game with their teacher. We need to make them take some responsibility for the standard of their learning.

Give them a chance to improve their work on their own. It might be slow going, but could also mean they don’t need spoon-fed classes to pass the exams.

As educators, we should be making sure students not only know how to give a right answer but that they truly understand the subject, too.

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