the life path
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2 Comments the life path - 2009-11-27 23:46:20

After the mid-term exam this week, I got a phone call from my student R's mom AGAIN. R got a 95 on the subject I teach, and his parents were disappointed and mad at him. Last month, R got a 92 on the first monthly exam, and his mom was angry too, and she complained to me and doubted if R had any trouble understanding everything I taught. To be more straightforward, she challenged me, "92 was R's lowest score on the exams of all subjects; can you explain the reason?". This time she questioned me, "R said there was one question on the test that you hadn't taught in class, so he made the wrong answer. But why could L get a 100?"

Frankly, I was tired of explaining my ideas and repeating the same conversation over the phone again and again. The two scores, "92" and "95" were not marked by me, but by other teachers instead. And the mistakes R made on the tests were not "serious" at all. But my points are: who wouldn't make mistakes? Why perfect? why and who needs a 100? why so demanding on the kid's score? 92 and 95 are good enough and if Q got such scores from his school, I would give him a big hug. But I was suggested not to tell R "you have done quite well"- though I did say so to him the other day.

I felt discouraged every time when the kids' parents ask me to "scold" or "punish" them for doing poorly on the tests or for not handing in the homework. Not everyone could or should be Einstein, and the world doesn't need too many Einsteins.

I understand every parent has high expectation on their children. But I felt like telling R's mom that I used to get many 100s during my school years, but those 100s didn't bring me a 100 life, and those 100s hardly helped me build real confidence in my own self. I was once badly hit and hurt by the math teacher in high school because I got a score lower than 95, and ever since then I have had a phobia in math...and all in all, what has top 1 got to do with my life afterwards?

Yet, I knew I shouldn't tell anything about myself, so I just kept listening to her complain for 30 minutes- I knew it's too hard to change her thinking for it has been going on for several years. Perhaps the only thing I could do is to encourage R more before his mom makes him transfer the school. And meanwhile, I know I have more challenges ahead because R's younger brother is in one of my classes too.

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