Looking for the names on the board
Anxiously looking for their names on the board

It’s that time of the year again and students, parents and guardians are lining up at the Office of Higher Education (OHE) car park in the hopes of seeing that cherished name on the list of selected students. Regrettably, a lot of people will be disappointed.  I am also disappointed but it’s not because of the reasons the majority share.

Before I started working with the OHE I studied for a Bachelor in Education and part of my curriculum included practice teaching. This experience and the fact that I had been given a second chance at education give me a unique insight which I will try to share.

The simple fact is most students do not take their studies as seriously as they should. However, they expect to make it into colleges at the end of their studies. They do not seem to care that their parents, guardians, family etc have sacrificed a lot to ensure they are educated – and the hope for a better future. They squander their time playing silly games and the vague attempt to hit the books during exams does not make much difference. This saddens me.

In high school I was just like most of them; ignorant and merely passing my tests and exams. I was content with passing and I snubbed the rules and authority. I went through the years breaking every rule in the book until 12th grade – when I was finally caught out. I was suspended for two weeks before a hearing with the disciplinary council which would decide my fate. Fortunately, dad had a few contacts and got me transferred to Gordon Secondary before I could be officially terminated. This experience changed my outlook. I knew I had been given a second chance and I would not let it pass this time.

I had transferred to Gordon in the middle of the second term and knew that I did not have time to socialise. So I put all my energy into studying and at the end of the year I surprised myself and everyone in the school. I achieved my greatest academic performance in all my schooling years. While my classmates were fooling around I hit the books hard and in the end it paid off.  Today, I imagine what I could have accomplished if I had done it earlier and it breaks my heart seeing students wasting the opportunity.

During my teaching practice which I did at Koki Primary School and later at De La Salle Secondary School I noticed the same attitude I had toward learning. The students did not see the practicality of studying hard and instead opted to go with the flow. They fall to the trap of peer pressure and succumb to the more ‘interesting’ activities. They do not see that their future was in their own hands and not that of their peers.

Anyway, as I see students looking at the notice board, nervously looking for their names, I notice something in their eyes. They finally realise, a little too late, how much time they have wasted.