Wednesday, February 14, 2007

RM January 18 - Grade does not reflect ability - part 1

GRADE does not reflect ability/needs to apply herself - these phrases would be how I would sum up the Young Wan’s secondary education so far.

She is in third year and months away from the Junior Certificate and last night after a long day in work I got home to read a disgraceful school report.

Some of you may remember we made a deal in September. She was to do her homework to the best of her ability and study for an hour on top of that each weekday evening then the rest of the night would be hers to mess about with her make up, phone friends, listen to music, and the weekends would be hers until dinner time on Sunday evening.

I got screwed in that deal.

I forked €150 out for supervised study in the first term, representing nearly 100 hours of study, yet her Christmas exam results certainly do no reflect the amount of study she is supposed to have done.

I still find it hard to reconcile the student in the report card with the top-of-the-class child she was in primary school.

Secondary school was the best social club she ever joined, she has never had so much fun.

That’s all fair and well IF the required work was being done, but it has been obvious it has not and no amount of cajoling, encouragement, screaming and shouting has worked.

So now I am panicking, the Young Wan appears to be panicking but who knows for sure.

It is clear I need to do more. But in fairness I could come in from work, I could set her down in the living room at the table with no telly, no distractions and make her get her books out and do some work.

She could even go to serious lengths to show how she was studying but while her fingers can flick pages in books, her pen can make marks on paper, in her head she could be singing Nirvana’s 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'.

It is like that saying ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’.

I told her this is her time to do this, this is her responsibility, much as I would want to I cannot sit the exams for her. The study needs to be driven by her. I can do what I can, I can support her, encourage her and nag her like mad to get stuck in, all of which I have done and will continue to, but if she will not study she is wasting the brains she was born with.

It is now near the end of January, can she pull it all back? Yes she can but in some subjects, this will be harder than others. But it is still all very doable; she just has to make the decision that she will try her best.

Maybe this is the optimism of a mum who hopes her child will knuckle down in time to do herself justice. However I have a parent teacher meeting next week which will probably tell a different story and to be honest I am absolutely dreading it. I have no doubt they will paint a really bad picture in the hopes of scaring me into scaring her, like I haven’t already tried. But I suppose that is their job.

I know what I need to do and I just hope more than you will ever know that she finally realise what she needs to do. And it needed be the worst thing in the world, far from it. There is an immense satisfaction in studying when you realise that you have successfully tackled and now know what you need to.

That satisfaction knocks away any panic about exams, seriously it does. So for all you Junior and Leaving Certificate students out there who haven’t yet gotten the heads into the books and who are starting to feel the bite of panic, get started now, there’s loads of time. Do yourselves justice.

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krayZpaving said...

I always found little point in study per sé, but actually doing past exams, and any sample papers I could get my hands on, with the book open to be far more useful.
Then, as the exams get closer, gradually weaning off the book (I'll write some notes on the answer with the book open; then I'll look at the book before starting but not write anything; then I'll have the book but only use it if I get stuck; then I'll not use the book at all in the weeks right before the exam).
Teachers should be willing to correct exam scripts done like this for their students - most of mine certainly were.

Gerry said...

On the plus side, Junior Cert results count for nothing. The paper it comes on isn't even that good as an emergency replacement for toilet paper. It is one of the most over hyped, completely useless exams in the state. Second only perhaps the online quiz to find out which colour green you really are.

Derval said...

Ooh a scary insight into what I put my Dad through & what I have to look fwd to to...

Simon McGarr said...

I'd echo Gerry. The Junior Cert's only purpose is as a practice for the Leaving Cert. Whose only purpose is to act as the ticket machine for choosing a 3rd Level course that you might finally, after 11 years of preprogrammed education, get to choose yourself.

And, if its any consolation, I used to dramatically increase my grades from my Mocks to the exams themselves. So all is not yet lost.