I (am) Not Stupid: A Blast from the Past
This week, I decide to watch movie called ‘I Not Stupid’ in MMSEL classes. The movie shows the portrait of 3 elementary school students who struggle with their academic excellence, meet their parents’ expectations and their peer pressure to be the best in the school. The movie is taken place in Singapore; yet, I think it represents some of our experiences as a student.
I have watched this movie for several times, and every time I watch the movie, it brings my elementary and junior high school memories back. I was a popular student back in my elementary and junior high school. It is not because I was the smartest, but because I was an athlete (Tae Kwon Do and Volleyball). Sometimes I missed the class because I have to practice for Porseni or other competitions. For some students, my achievements were excellence. But for my parents, get the highest mark in Math that was the real achievement. My math grades were good. I never got 5, yet I never got 9 or 10. Every report distribution, teachers (grade 1 to grade 6) will call the top 3 rank. The students who got the top rank were always the same, year by year. So being in top rank was not ‘interesting’ to me because it was so predictable that those 3 students will be the top 3.
Looking back at my goals at that time was only to go to next grade and graduate from school. I did not go to the most favourite junior high school; instead I went to the ‘second’ place of favourite high school. I was disappointed, but I remember my conversation with my dad the night I got the result. The point of conversation was “ daripada kamu di sekolah itu kamu ranking 17, mending di sekolah ini tapi ranking 1”. So it covered my disappointment. Did I get the top 3 rank? NoJ. I was busy with my volleyball team and other school activities as usual. Short stories, I got a very nice, patient Math teacher who was happen to be my classroom teacher at grade 9. I enjoy her class. I even forgot that I have difficulties in Math. When the report distribution time came, my named was called as one of the top rank. I remember my mom was busy chatting with someone sat next to her, she was kept chatting, not until I called her at the window telling her that my name was called. It was surprise for her and off course for me. I think she was not expecting that moments. It must be beyond her expectation. Actually, I did do anything extraordinary. I just enjoyed the learning. It continued to my senior high school. I was always in top 3. I did not consider myself as the smartest or the brilliant one. I am just blessed with the teachers in senior high school. They taught me how to be an independent learning, especially all the teachers in social studies class (I was in A3). They have all the patients to teach and to listen to students. Personally I think that good grade will come along when you enjoy the learning itself.
Teaching and learning are always related with students and teacher. But let’s not forget about the parents. Our students’ parents have their own expectations toward their children. Getting good grade or the highest grade might be one of their expectations. As a teacher, I always encounter with parents’ question and/or expectations. “Mrs. Mima, she studies every day, but how can her grades stays the same” or “Mrs. Mima, give more homework, so she/he will study rather than play at home” How we meet those expectations without forgetting our students’ needs? At the moment I am still trying to answer the question, do you have any? Let’s share!
Mima (MMSEL Lecturer)