7 April 2007


From:that frolicsome kid
To:Whom this may concern
Date:7 April 2007, 22:24
Subject: School is Becoming a Drag  

Classes are SO boring!I do not understand why this feeling must arise at my last high school years. Why must the previous teachers last year resign from the school and abandon us lost, naive students alone at the mercy of incompetent teachers? I do not look forward to self-study sessions but since these circumstances leave me no choice, I guess I have to begin doing so.

I enjoyed doing Chemistry and Malay. Note the past tense. I am very discontent with the way I was taught these two subjects. I begin with Chemistry. Last year, I found the study of Chemistry highly intriguing; the way how n=G/Mr formula works, periodic table, redox reactions, acids and bases, elements and compounds. It was quite fun working these out.

Come this year. When I first knew my Chemistry teacher has been swapped, I could have smacked my hand against my forehead. I learned from comments made by various students that he isn't a very good Chemistry teacher. I shook negative thoughts aside and dismissed them as rumours. I reasoned that the students simply did not pay attention in class, so they are scapegoating the teacher.

Forward a few months, and here I am today, struggling badly to comprehend the complexities of my Chemistry textbook. Bombastic terms like endothermic, exothermic, inert electrode etc. attacked me. It was not too bad at the beginning since the syllabus was rather tame. From electrolysis onwards, everything ran downhill. I cannot understand the logic behind it. The explanation offered by the teacher was too vague.

As my insatiable curiosity at these new knowledge is eating me away, I fired questions that is relevant to the topics and I wasn't looking for an advanced answer. A simple and brief explanation would suffice since knowledge of the topics at a higher-level knowledge isn't required. I feel sad when he wasn't able to answer or he misunderstood my question and rambled random answers. His explanation of "It's very complicated; you don't need to know at this level" is a shoddy excuse, in my honest opinion. It just goes on to prove that he himself do not know the subject matter very well.

There wasn't much I can do. I only sat there and stared in horror at my teacher who quickly resumed his teaching. Putting my trust with that teacher is not a wise move. When that happens, I get angry and rebellious (which I'm normally not) with the teacher. I do not want to say this, but deep down, I feel he is not fit to be a teacher, if even a question like mine baffles him.

To make matters worse, his class is like a zoo gone loose. He cannot control the discipline of the students at all! People talking loudly without being considerate towards other students is a common sight. Many of my friends have begun picking up a novel and read underneath their desks while the lessons are being conducted. I wished I could join them but I forced myself not to and tried in vain to make sense of his disjointed and fragmented explanations. I noticed that some of the questions I asked were important points which need to be addressed to the whole class. He will have "forgotten" if I hadn't raise them. =(

The Chemistry topics I'm at loss now is the calculation of the enthalpy change of endo- and exothermic reactions. The textbook did not elaborate much on this but there are quite a number of questions which prompts this topic. Nothing clicked in my head; I could only stare and stare at the question, half the time wondering what the question meant and how to attempt it.

I have to go online and search for answers. Unfortunately, answers did not came to me. =( I wished going to see him would be a great idea but knowing the blur him, I'm not too sure whether that will be a wise idea. I place my big doubt on his credibility of the subject matter, sorry to say that.

It's a shame to see my Chemistry knowledge to remain stagnant at a Year 10's level. I want to work on it and I am trying to. Reading the textbook does help a lot, but certain topics are still a blur to me.

I used to be doing quite well for Malay. Ever since a primary school Malay teacher began teaching us last year, I wasn't able to see myself demonstrating a higher level of Malay. Through gut feelings, I can in fact see my language level steeply dropping to a level similar to that of a Year 1 student. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but the drastic drop in my Malay fluency cries for urgent remedy and attention.

I'm bored of her lessons. The content that was taught to us was too low for our level standard. Maybe it's good for Year 7, but definitely not for Years 10 and 11. Why did she try to set the bar so low? I definitely wasn't mentally challenged and stimulated. I looked forward to vocabulary drills (fine, maybe I don't, but something similar and less harsher). I was really disappointed when all we did were recaps after recaps of what we did in junior high, and even elementary level! =O It felt like I was pushed down to Year 7!

When the work is not challenging enough and is good only for remedial lessons, I get frustrated and bored easily. I did not even bother reading up Malay novels, which I haven't done so properly for at least a year. I regretted stopping the reading. =( I have to suffer the consequences now. Shoddy essays written with vocabulary matching those of Year 5 or 6 with the essays not properly developed and expounded. This can be shown in my marks which are lower than most students, who usually "performed lower than me" (I know it's not the correct phrase, forgive me for using a bad substitution).

She is becoming worse this year. She wants us to do mind maps! *shriek* Mind maps?! No, definitely not for me. I write points in an organised form, not a forest of facts swarming around in the paper. I was really upset but I did not want to voice out my opinions. I was hoping that would be the last time of doing mind maps, but no! We were even asked to do mind maps of essays to be put on display at our classroom's notice board and the school's notice board. We did one again prior to doing our essay just this morning.

Oh my goodness! =O

Why mind maps? Can't they be made optional prior to writing out an essay? Heck, why do a 150 worded mind maps when a coherent essay can be written for 300+ words. For the sake of O Levels, mind maps are not required. I don't use mind maps at all! At the very least, I note down in point form the points I need to use beforehand, otherwise I write spontaneously. Not do a stupid mind map!

That sent me over the edge. Lessons which bore the hell out of me + doing pointless exercises which in no way do they contribute to refine our Malay = I give up (paying attention in class)! Of course, I slackened. I hate it! I dislike the teaching methods.

I find her "annoying" at times too, especially when she tries to apply "psychology methods" on us. I don't really get what she is trying to achieve here. Is she trying to scare us into doing our work by putting our assignment marks at stake? Maybe it works well on primary kids, but this scare tactic fails to scare many of my classmates. *sigh*

On the other hand, I'm glad that I accepted the Physics teacher as he is. He's not too bad compared to the two aforementioned teachers, even though the lessons may get slightly boring at times. His explanations were quite good though and I think that's enough already.

School suddenly seems unbearable with my dislike of two subjects. I wish I do not blame the teachers for this but I feel that the fault lies with them. Maybe it's my attitude which spurs me to give up my dependency on them (because of bad teaching) and do everything myself independently. Is it wrong to blame the teachers for everything? I don't think it is in my case... =S Maybe I should give them another chance and just accept their way of teaching to save my sanity and my grades...

The impending O Levels is looming closer. Why must this happen at this crucial time? =(

Comments (21):

Lol! Your post brought back memories! How I wish I could still be at school!
Don't worry, it's normal to blame teachers. that's what they're there for.
I used to hate classes where the teachers were like the ones you described.
I would suggest that you stay after class one day and tell your chemistry teacher how you feel. Maybe, if he realises that you don't understand, he'll offer you some extra lessons after school? Or maybe he'll get his act together!
:)

there are those kind of teachers around. they seem not interested in making the student understand at all. they just talk and talk and talk :) i blame my high school physic teacher for all the Fs i got

Is this some sort of a universal trend? Lol! =P

Hey whenn! I don't think the teachers are there for us to blame. At least not most of them, hahaha! =P

Yeah, I noticed the classroom environment depends a lot of the way teachers teach, and such teachers really make it intolerable to learn. =(

I was planning to do that soon, but I have quite a number of things to do and I am not quite sure what to ask too. I really hope that he can get the message that he should get his act together from the way his students act.

He has been teaching in my school for quite a number of years. So far, he hasn't quite take the hint. ;)

Hey uncommonly u! I really dislike all talk. Worse still if the lessons are monotonous...

Oh dear! Seems to be happening everywhere, doesn't it... that's why me and my classmates went for tuition after school. But it wasn't so much because of the teachers, but the syllabus was so wide that there was never enough time in school for them to finish teaching us (because our principal had other agendas!).

As for your questions, why don't you try obtaining reference books from your library, if you're taking o-levels try the a-levels books, the topics covered are similar but more in detail (at least that was how it was 10 years ago)

Oh dear, there's nothing worse than having a teacher that you don't like - twice as bad to have two! :-(

My son had an incompetent teacher in primary school, where the kids were misbehaving (and bullying him!) and generally not working in school. In the end, I went to see the Headteacher, and explained my concerns to him.
Turns out that other parents had said something too, so the teacher was taken out of class, and given lessons on how to discipline (believe it or not, for most teachers this doesn't come naturally - and it's not so easy to learn either. Even the best teachers can have problems keeping a class focused!)

Would your parents have a 'quiet word'?

Failing that, the alternative is to look everything up yourself, or find someone who understands.... The problem with looking things up is that you don't really know how much you need to know, and books/ internet might not explain it as would make it easy enough for you to understand, or in the way you understand... I think you said before that you use internet revision sites? I'm pretty sure the ones in this country have explanation type answers, so you could work through the chemistry ones, and then get the answers once you tried answering the questions..

And the Malay? What you said was worrying here:

This can be shown in my marks which are lower than most students, who usually "performed lower than me"

This shows that it's affecting you more than others, and that's not good... that means you are probably rebelling more than the others over her teaching method, because you were above the others, and now your grades have fallen below.

In this case, I would definately go to see the teacher myself, and explain to her your position - different teaching methods suit different people. I know they are becoming big on mind-maps over here too. It's supposed to help you string together ideas, but as you said, if you prefer lists, then that's what you should be allowed to use. They should have brought in the mind-map idea much earlier in your school career, so you could choose which method to use, not introduced it as yet another thing to learn at this final stage.

It might be a good thing to learn this method, and see if it could be of help to you when you study your A levels... it is supposed to be a revolutionary way of pushing your grades up... so, even if you don't use it for now, just try it out a bit, and maybe you can draw on it in the future.

Definately go tell the teacher the work is boring you. If it isn't set for your level, then there's no point in it - she needs to know, and she can only know if you tell her. Probably you getting lower marks makes her think that it's too hard for you, so she makes it easier. YOu have to show her it's too easy - get top marks etc, so she can see you need to go on from there, otherwise she'll just think you need to get up to the level of the others. Teachers, despite general knowledge, are not mind-readers!!

Sorry, FK, I can't be of more help. But this is definately a time when you need to communicate - don't risk your grades because you didn't speak up!! Speak to your parents, your teachers - anyone who can help!

Annelisa & whenn have good advice... worth a try? Don't get too worried (know you're a bit of a worrier) - you'll end up all stressed before exams even start!

Hey terra shield! Tuitions don't work for me. I despised them. =P I find that they are a waste of money and time as I heard from my friends that papers after papers of nothing but revision and past year papers are given to drill you the hard facts. In other words, they spoon-feed you. =(

The library in my school is currently not functioning as it is still under renovation. I also don't remember seeing A-level books in the library. I fear touching them too, I'm afraid I end up becoming even more lost and confused, lol. ;)

Hey TopChamp! Yeah, I'm a worrier by nature. =( I'm quite stressed about this because I want to excel in my studies, not let my potential to excel be ruined by all this...

Hey annelisa! =) I was under another incompetent teacher last year and I raised my concern to the relevant authorities. So, the Deputy Principal came into our class and observed the situation and she punished the troublemakers accordingly. I think she also told the teacher to improve. He was "quite upset" about the complaint and he blamed us students instead for making his teaching difficult. I don't know whose fault was it, the teacher who should discipline the student, or the student who should co-operate with the teachers (I find that kids nowadays are rowdier and more rebellious. =\ )

To cut a long story short, it didn't work. I observed that he still teach the same way as before. Noisy classes, him "teaching to the wall". So in other words, my complaint wasn't taken seriously. *sigh*

I don't think lessons on disciplining kids are offered here... =O

I don't mind whether the whole class is focused on the teacher or not. The important thing here is that at least some discipline is maintained to allow for a good study environment, plus good teaching which can make most of us understand the concepts.

I don't fancy bringing parents' intervention to this problem. I don't like my parents to complain to the school about the teacher who in turn blame it on the "students". It happened a couple of times.*ugh*

I tried doing mind maps while doing my study notes, so this isn't a new study method to me. I find it difficult to draw up one and in the end, I ditched that as a study method and I adopted the list method. =)

I can't tell the Malay teacher that it's too easy at the moment because my marks are slipping and she can use that as her argument; and she would be right. The main problems that contribute to this are:

1. The syllabus mostly covers what we have already learned, so there is nothing new to learn except for Classical Literature (which bores me, but is compulsory. *bleh* =( ).

2. The textbook is horrid! It covers only the simple things and when O Levels roll around the corner, the exam papers are so much more difficult.

3. The work given to us is easy. The test papers are murderous!

I need to start reading Malay novels and newspaper and look up every word of which meaning I do not know.

I honestly don't know what to say. "The work is too easy?" or "I find the lessons boring."? How am I supposed to say it without putting much of the "blame" on her. I do not want to make the situation awkward. I do not welcome that. =(

I wonder if the teacher can take a hint on the bored and listless behavior I displayed during her classes and my slipping marks. Oh well, she might blame it on my laziness. =S

Annelisa, you really helped a lot! Thank you! =) You know what, I will tell my parents about this problems with school. Never mind if they ring up the school and blab about the countless problems faced by me. (but the thing is, I'm a "good" student. It might seriously strain the student-teacher relationship I have with teachers.) If the teachers were wise enough, they would think through the complains and change for the better.

It seems like our school is hiring more bad teachers...

I think it's the first time I read that a student complains that lessons are too easy, lol ! but I can understand that you don't like these teachers who have no personality and earn no respect. Students smell this immediately and then the teacher can do what he wants nobody listens anymore. That's normal. I had once a teacher in chemie who wanted to show us a test, don't remember what it was, but the glass bottle exploded and he became green all over ! I can tell you this lesson I really loved !

I'm in a hurry as usual these days, just a short reminder about the big shopping day tomorrow thursday for the cruise ball.

I've posted 1 rule about it on my blog :-)

I experienced this with Math. It was really sad. I've always wondered if student achievement being mapped out as a bell curve was because the quality of teaching i faced in my life was also in the shape of a bell curve. How would you grade or rate your teachers for Chemistry & Malay? What marks do they get for their quality of teahing? :D

Is there another teacher you can speak to about your feelings?

I don't know if this will help but i encountered an intriguing free piece of software for generating mind-maps just the other day =D. ( http://freemind.sourceforge.net ) I'm enjoying it for life-planning stuff, but maybe it might help out by speeding the process up as an interface where you can hit the 'print' button instead of needing to manually draw one up ;)

What do you want to do with your life once school is finished? Any ideas atm?

A couple of things, FK. I know it feels wrong talking about your problems - it always feels like you're complaining or upsetting people, and they will come back and blame you, but just remember - in a few years time (or next year?), you will never ever have to see these people again. What they think of you is irrelevant. You have yourself to think about. They have the whole class/ school. You are the only one who's as bothered about how well you will do as yourself. Only you care enough to do anything about it. Even if anyone else could do something, it doesn't always mean they will, because they might be worried about upsetting the teacher, or unbalancing the social aspects of the staffroom (they have to continue to be with each other long after you've left...)

That said, there are things you can do for yourself. You 'jeer' at that 'spoon-feeding' by tutors... yet... it is a proven method of learning, to do as many exam papers as possible, and to learn by the mistakes you make within! Each time you make a mistake, you go away and learn what you did wrong. You said yourself, the exam papers are so much harder than the coursework, so you need to practice these more than anything. It's really important. In our school, we keep all past exam papers, and use them over and over - it's the best way of finding out a student's weaknesses, and to rectify them.

About speaking to the teacher - I agree the first may be a lost cause. The malay teacher, however, might be quite happy for some feedback why you aren't doing so well just now. It might be she's wondering if you can't cope, or that she's imagining some sort of problem at home, a boyfriend/girlfriend problem, or some other social difficulty that's interfering with your work. She might not even relate it to her teaching methods. You don't have to say she's 'boring', just that you find that it doesn't stretch you enough, so your mind 'switches off' (use big words :-D )

The mind-map thing? Stick with what you're good at, at this point. If your way suits, stick to it. This isn't the time to change to a method you don't feel comfortable with. Talk to her about this too. She might feel it's a good idea to do the mind-maps whilst in class, otherwise there could be major dissention!!!

Hope you've talked with someone by now, FK - the longer you leave it, the harder it gets (like giving up sociology? :-S ) It will be less painful if you get it over and done with quickly.

Either that, or put up with it, and find a self-study site (as I said, the uk ones aren't bad - try Bitesize - that's one of the ones we use a lot over here. It might seem quite easy, but that's the whole point of it, to teach/ revise in little nibbles, so you hardly know you're learning!

C U soon!! (((hugs!!)))

Hi Gattina! I would not say much if the exams were as easy, plus it's better if lessons are tailored to the correct syllabus so that it's worth spending time and energy to pay attention.

Wow, talk about a Chemistry experiment gone bad! =O

Awww, so sorry I couldn't make it to the shopping trip, Cap'n! Life has been really hectic now, so I didn't have much time to shop. Sorry! =(

Hi r'acquel! I rather not mark my teachers, hehehe, but it is quite low compared to most other teachers.

No, I don't want to get another teacher involved in this...

Thanks for the link to the mind-maps generator. It certainly will make life so much easier, and maybe I will begin liking mind maps! =O I'll definitely bookmark it! =)

What I'm planning to do after high school is to get into sixth form and attend university. I'm not too sure what I'll want to work as after graduation, but I like to major in Biology or Psychology (subject to change! Lol! =P)

Hi annelisa! I have a guilty conscience that likes to haunt me. Yes, I know I'll be leaving my school next year and I won't be seeing them again but I really dislike raising this issues with the teachers... I don't know, it's just me... =(

Just today, my Malay teacher volunteered to hold an hour of writing classes on a day after school after the upcoming holidays. I considered attending it as I know she's trying to help us and maybe, just maybe, it might be better than normal Malay classes as there definitely will be fewer people attending it. At least that shows me that she intends to do something about the class's poor performance in that subject.

I know it is a proven method of learning, but personally I am against it. I find it a chore to recall what I have learned and apply it in past year questions. I agree it is a good form of revision though. And each student in my school has booklets of past year questions that we can do on our own accord. I want to change this weird perception of mine on doing past year papers since it's beneficial and it helps to secure understanding of a concept.

She wanted us to do mind-maps and display them in notice board. *shudders* I'm not sure why she wants to do that, but thankfully, the mind map thing cedes altogether, even though she uses it to "explain" what to write in essays.

*sigh* It isn't easy trying to talk to people about this matter, except for my friends from the same class and other classes, who also hold the same views as me. Many gave up and opted for private tuition or self-study. I am considering that option too, since there isn't anything new to be covered.

Oh, yes. I do access Bitesize. Their Flash animations on certain Science topics are really helpful!

Thanks annelisa for the advices! =) *hugs*

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