I would hazard that any elementary school in Taiwan has more pressure than its Western counterpart. And the pressure only grows.as a student gets older. In 9th grade they take a test that determines if they go to an academic high school or vocational high school. And the pressure associatted with that test is insane, but if you succeed things only get worse for you. The amount of memorization, tests, and reading students at the academic high school do is staggering. And in their senior year it all reaches a fever pitch as they study for graduation exams and the [scary drumroll here] university entrance exam.
So, is it surprising that one of my senior students, English name of Cosmo, has developed a nervous tic? I first noticed it about 3 weeks ago...a jerk in his right shoulder. It‘s gotten rapidly worse-- in scope and frequency. It‘s now his face, neck, shoulder, diaphragm, and arm. At one point in class he had to just quit speaking English or Chinese because the tics had him so out of breath.
He told me he had been to the doctor who had told him it was because of pressure from school and his parents to do well at school. He has no health or genetic history of this, no other health conditions, and no other stressors in his life (such as a PT job, romance, or changes in his home life).
So, what‘s the grand plan to deal with this? Put him on medication.
This is the point I wanted to explode. Talk about the definition of a bandaid situation!
Here‘s the real kicker. All this pressure associated with graduation and University entrance test scores-
And I‘m not talking about in an eternal-perspective-we-are-all-but-dust kind of way. I mean for Cosmo specifically and Taiwanese students in general their scores on these tests will have very little effect on their lifetime wealth, happiness, career path, and perceived success. The very society that creates these pressures oj students makes it all a grand exercise in folly.
What if Cosmo dropped out and never went back to school? He could still have a good job and be wealthy, happy, and respected.
What if Cosmo just took a year off and repeated senior year later? No one would bat an eye and his life path wouldn‘t be altered at all.
What if Cosmo doesn‘t pass the graduation exam? The school will still graduate him and ask him to do summer classes.
What if Cosmo doesn‘t score well on the University entrance exam? He can go to a smaller University or a vo-tech or not go at all and still have a good job and be wealthy, happy, and respected.
NONE OF IT MATTERS BUT THIS MESSED UP SOCIETY HAS PUT SO MUCH ON THIS POOR KID THAT HE‘S DEVELOPED A NERVOUS DISORDER!!!!!!!
Taiwan, I love you, but this is one way you plain out suck.
#Taiwan #HS #台灣 #高中
#hashtag #中文 #Chinese
- Kanghe Cram SchoolEnglish Teacher, 2012 - present
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