The essence of competitiveness is liberated when we make people believe that what they think and do is important - and then get out of their way while they do it. - Jack Welch
When I came home, a couple of days ago, I caught my wife and daughter huddled in one corner. My daughter looked at me and I saw her eyes pleading. But my wife won’t have any of it. She insisted that Bea practiced writing the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 and the vowels in capital and lower case. We taught Bea her ABC’s, 123’s, colors and shapes through songs and games and she retains everything because she learned in a fun way. That’s why I asked why all of a sudden Mom was strict with Bea’s studies. I didn’t expect her reply when she said “Your daughter is behind in her class”.
She wants Bea to learn how to read and write by the end of the school year just like that kid in Prep 1. The kid she was talking about is good academically but wanting when it comes to emotional intelligence. I once saw her quietly setting in one corner, looking at the ceiling and don’t mingle with her classmates. In my observation, I think she doesn’t know how to inter-act with her peers. I don’t want my daughter to be like her. Nursery class is supposed to be fun and games. Not only that, we enrolled our daughter so she’ll be exposed to people and kids her age. We’re a bit worried because she knew and feel comfortable to only two persons, me and my wife.
When my wife showed me her report card, I saw the Teacher’s Evaluation consist of three blue circles and the rest are red circle. Blue means “Very Good” and red “Excellent”. I looked up her grades and all her subjects are 90 except for Filipino which was 89. I thought that’s not bad, in fact that’s very good, considering Bea’s only 3 and half years old and the youngest in her class. But my wife wasn’t satisfied. She blurted “She didn’t make it to the Top 5!”
So, this is what this is all about. It all comes down to prestige, the honor of being mentioned and recognized as one of the 5 brightest students in your class. You see, my daughter’s school awards students who excels academically four times in one school year. That means there’s a ceremony after every periodic evaluation to honor the top 5 students at each level. This does not only pit students to outdo one another but also make parents to put pressure on their kids. Since the school encourages parents to attend each ritual, there is always this unhealthy tendency for the eyes to observe who made it and who didn’t and the tongue to wag questions or insinuate stories.
I don’t blame the students or the parents if they acted in such manner; they are the victims here therefore susceptible to human foibles. If I start pointing fingers, it would be in the direction of the School Administrators. Their fond of inventing new ways to celebrate mediocrity. It does not only disrupt harmonious balance, it’s also psychotic.