A little while before I left the UK last October, I got home one night and my Mum had recorded me a tv programme about EFL teaching in China (I think) showing how one guy was making millions by lecturing hundreds of students every day. The students looks exhausted, super stressed and as if they had the world on their shoulders – all due to the academic pressure that they were under.
Someone told me that Indonesia wouldn’t be this way – and maybe it isn’t to the same insane extent, but the pressure that my students puts themselves under still upsets me everyday.
Last night I had to tell my favourite class that the majority of them had failed at least one section of their most recent progress test and would have to redo it. I’ve known these results for at least 10days now but have been agonising over returning their grades because that class in particular are always telling me about how their school teachers get angry with them if they don’t get good test scores.
I wish there were enough words to do the fact that this couldn’t be further from the truth justice. I don’t know what happened – they are smart kids and knew the content inside out, it was just a difficult test and one of those things. I am confident that with a quick revision session and a second chance they will all excel, but the underlying truth is that teachers here seem to be ruining the learning experience for students.
I’m sure that statement is a sweeping generalisation but it only makes me more sure that I want my students to come to my classes because they want to rather than because their parents are making them, and I want them to know how invested I am in their futures too.