From a school principal, translated…
Close to the lunch hours, the personnel manager of my school, Shu-Juan called me to report: the specialized exam grades had been posted, without much thought, I’d asked her about how a couple of the students did.
One was Ping, he was from a distant mountain side, three years ago, he came on his own to register for class, because his elementary school principal said that there would be more of a competitive edge to him if he’d gone to the cities for school, his parents both worked in China, he lives with his grandparents, and, in order to come to school here, he’d started renting an apartment on his own, he is managing himself very well, and has excellent grades, the school teachers had nothing BUT good things to say about him. But, his national exam scores showed different, he’d gotten into a distant school, in the chemical engineering majors, I was shocked, called him up, and asked him about it, he smiled and told me, that he didn’t put much thought when filling out the sheets for his major, “I intended to take the specialized examinations, don’t you know?” Back then, he’d told me with such persistence.
As the grades are posted, I learned that he’d gotten into his first choice of school, I’m truly excited for him, thought, that these last three years’ hard work is for this! But, he shocked me, once again, he’d signed up for another school. Shu-Juan told me, when he’d turned in his card, she’d asked him if he wanted to put down the school that everybody wanted to go to, he persistently told her, “This, is my choice”. After I’d heard, I started laughing, and I’m really proud of him, he could’ve picked a first choice school, returned back to the tribe in the mountains, and allowed everybody to ooh and ahh over him, and make the grandparents pound, but he’d bravely followed his own heart, “this, is MY choice”.
There is another child, whose mother works in education too, he’d gotten into his second-choice school, she thought he did wonderfully, told him not to take the exams again, but the child told her, that he wanted to give it a try, giving himself a chance, “even IF I didn’t make it, at least, I wouldn’t have any regrets”.
As the grades came out, she knew he didn’t do as well as he’d wanted to, she’d just accepted it, because there was NO regret about it.
“Her mother is the hardest, after circling around, she’d returned back to where she was before”, Shu-Juan’s heart goes out to the mother, I smiled and told, that that, was the sweetest burdens that mothers carry, no matter how her daughter did, she saw how her child didn’t let a chance slip by, she must feel heartache, and proud too at the same time.
And, there were a couple more children, who’d set their goals up toward occupational training, when the school was out and the parents came to pick them up, they’d felt awkward, and told me, “It’s not as if they were going for that first choice, they are just trying to get into technical high school, and they’d still come early, to study alongside those kids who planned to enter into a university. Back then, I told the parent, “You should be proud, your child had already found his goals”, at the same time, I’d gave the speech on there are an assortment of outstanding jobs out there to her, the parents said, “We’d heard you so many times before, principal, and we’d done what you’d asked, read those three ‘shapeless books’: know yourselves, love, and life”, after that, it was me, who felt awkward then.
“Principal, those who’d gotten into their first choice schools, are mostly from your school!”, I was told by a reporter, as he’d told me the results of his research. I smiled, “it doesn’t matter where the kids get into, the important thing was whose choice was it!”, I started telling the reporter the stories of Ping, An, Ru, along with many others.
“Principal, don’t you feel bad for the kids? Don’t you believe, that they should change the ways of the examinations next year? Rearranged the orders of the examinations, or, just have ONE big entrance exams!”, the reporter asked me.
I smiled that annoyed smile, “NO matter which way you use, there would be things that are considered by the higher up offices in the education department, it’s just that they may have overlooked the issues in education; and didn’t really understand the parents, and what’s more, was that they didn’t have a way, to back up why they are doing things the way they are doing them, to set the public’s mind at ease.” I know, that the first year of the education reform had gone by, in the nonstop ranting and noises, and, in the future, the parents will focus on the issues that are presented here, and the society will keep on ranting about those all-star schools, I know, that in the midst of all this noise, we must prepare ourselves, to be open for new ideas, to fight a brand new war, to help the kids get their fundamentals strong enough, to help them develop a multitude of interests, that, is what I need to do.
I wanted to tell the higher up officers, when you are discussing whether to get rid of the rules, do take a look at the kids! A lot of the children had already shown us, with their persistence: it’s OUR future, let US decide!
And so, W-H-O is this reform in education really for? The kids? Hell no, it’s for the adults, after all, all the kids need to do is show UP for school, sit in those classrooms for eight hours, then, they’d get “shipped off” to cram school afterwards, and don’t go home until the wee hours of the nights.