This photo sums up how I feel right about now- a kind of bliss that mixes satisfaction and fulfillment, with the enthusiasm of a 7-year-old child who has attended primary school for the first day, or the 9-year-old who first learns the ‘three states of matter’. This feeling is beautiful. This school year appears to have gone by in a flash, the back to back lectures and tutorials and consults that has packed my school days since about Term 2 has culminated in this milestone of an assessment that shall show us how far we’ve come since the Common Tests, and as I raise my glass to the hundreds of peers who have exited the multi-purpose hall with a smile on my face today and that deep feeling of bliss, I congratulate us all not just for ‘having survived the promotion exams’ but beyond that, for demonstrating the discipline and resilience that we have in putting aside temptations and learning the art of focus.
I recently watched a video of a beautiful spoken word piece by a Middle School teacher (of which I can’t remember the title) but he spoke of how the ‘main event of school really wasn’t the academics’, though it is the only tangible takeaway we leave upon graduation, but the more important things that we learn from being in school that truly help us in our lives as we graduate and live on, would be the many other intangibles that we have displayed and worked on through the course of school. Amongst which, there is resilience, to be working hard for a subject you’re weak at or initiative, in approaching others for help; there is social skills that we learn from meeting the diversity of people and the patience we learn from working with people so different from ourselves. And so it turns out, that as we reward ourselves for getting through the course of exams and assessments and mini-trials (or big ones) that the school puts us through, it’s also about giving ourselves a pat on the back for the intangibles that we have learned to be good at in the process.
I have found myself playing different roles in classrooms before- from being a student till today, to part-time teaching, to volunteering as teaching assistants or rolling out teaching initiatives. And from all these different angles, I think it’s safe for me to conclude that the subconscious process of learning the intangibles are far more important. We are both good students or bad ones, at different times and in different subjects, and they don’t necessarily correlate with how good or bad an exam-taker we really are. The examinations are designed to test for our speed and accuracy, but that sure isn’t all we are to be learning from school with our 20 odd years of education in our lives.
And so, dear me, for the lectures you have rarely missed, the tutorials you have always completed; for the chemistry consults you’ve been arranging weekly since Term 2 and for the Physics and Chemistry TYS you have so diligently completed after every lecture, for the revision booklets you’ve completed within two weeks they’ve been given out and for the effort you’ve put in despite dreading math, it may not put an ‘A’ on your report card immediately but at least you’re on ride that only goes upwards.