Wednesday 14 March 2012

A Kick in the Teeth

The results of the Senior High School entrance exams were released today. This year I’ve taught at SHS exclusively, but for the two years prior to that I taught at a couple of local Junior Highs as well.

Every year I wander down to the courtyard to see how my former/prospective students will fare. They don’t know I teach here too so most of them ignore me, which is fair enough as they’ve got bigger fish to fry. For a few of them though I’m an obviously welcome distraction during perhaps the most stressful hour of their lives so far. It’s one of those times when you feel that if you’ve made it easier for even one student then it’s a job well done.

Honestly I don’t care so much when the kids who’ve been dicking about in my lessons in JHS don’t make the grade. I’d rather not have to deal with them for another year, thank you very much.

The flipside is when you see kids you know to be engaging, communicative, and interested in the world realizing they’ve not made it. Frantically scanning the list of numbers again and again in the vain hope that somehow theirs was inexplicably printed out of order. It’s a particularly stark and gut-wrenching reminder of the collateral damage inflicted by The System, and an equally depressing clarification that the things I value in my students are not the things which are valued by the society in which I’ve chosen to live.

Today was not a good day.


  1. "Battle Royale". Too bad satire is wasted on the Japanese. Scratch that. Too bad satire is wasted on the humans.

    1. That would at least be a process which rewards initiative and lateral thinking.

      It's not that satire's wasted, I think, so much that Poe's Law is becoming so universally applicable that I just can't tell any more. The end result is much the same, admittedly.

  2. Sorry...nah...I'm glad it hurts cuz it means you care and we both know too many teachers don't.

    1 student missed Todai and took Tohoku U. on the 13th Another got into Kyoto. They both can talk in English fluently and have bright futures...I know one of them can't see that right now but she's gonna be alright.

    1. As you mention it, I've just finished some stuff I reckon I'll put up in April, and that element features quite strongly.

      Getting kids to Kyoto and Tohoku is not too shabby at all. Not seeing a bright future I can understand, it all ties into that collateral damage thing, but sounds like you've given them a decent shove in the right direction. KUTGW.