This is a cry for help to reach out to the students that are having the upcoming NA exams. Cher V just want to say that if you want it bad enough, go for it, and show it to yourself and others that you can make it there and be the same as those that had taken the express stream. That you are more than the struggles. To keep going and give yourself the push and the courage to excel.
I am blessed to have met a big bunch of NA kids when i started out as a full time tutor in 2014 and now they will soon be graduating from Sec 4 NA. Coming from various schools, I have heard similar cries. ‘ Cher i don’t want to go sec 5, i want to go PFP (or even ITE- for the weaker ones), cause I just don’t want to stay in school for another academic year.’
Unknowingly, many of them that come under my classes, are almost all NA students. I have seen them disappointed when they cannot do questions from the Express stream (I teach Maths and Physics). I have seen them feel defeated as they think that they are not adept enough to take on O levels next year. I even heard them say that many of their friends are giving up because the teachers in school look down on them. They have been labelled as those who will not be able to get to a good course in poly as they will fail their O’s even if they go up to Sec 5.
Why do students fail? Here are some of the factors that I wish to highlight out of the many that I have noticed:
- Most of the time, teachers tend to focus on students who show interest or are more interested in studying. With a lot on their hands, they do not have the extra time and effort to reach out to the weaker ones who are usually the trouble makers. With little attention paid to them, they tend to fall out of class or school.
- When teachers give up on the weaker students, they tend to demoralise them. The students will pick up on the vibe and in turn use that to blame the teachers for their failure. (Since people already determine that we cannot do it, then what for we try?)
- The students’ perceived learning capability. With the difference in learning speed and depth between NA and Express, the students tend to generalise themselves failing even before attempting.
There are many more factors but the underlying element is that the NA students have not been associated with the idea that 5 years of NA is actually a 5 year O Level course
After talking to some of my students, I realised that the concept of late bloomers and multiple intelligence is not widely known among students. They are often trapped in the misconception that they are not as intelligent as the early bloomers or have lesser capacity than them. Our education system does acknowledge the capability differences in students and hence have different streams to accommodate them. In other words, NA students are also as capable as the express students.
I know many successful friends, that were NA students. They grit their teeth and push on and are now scholars and university graduates. So who is to say that NA students will not excel as well as the majorities? NA students are as able as the Express students. Believe in yourself and keep going. Given time, anybody can do anything.