I should really do a proper update, but I’ve been quite busy recently with the start of the new semester.
The new semester is shaping up well. A lot of my less than stellar students from last semester seem to be kicking themselves into gear somewhat. A whole slew of students from the lower-ability class. At our high school classes are divided by grades — kids with higher grades are in the “A” class and kids with lower grades are in the “B” class. This is a fairly typically Chinese way to do things. On the one hand, it seems a bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy, sticking all of the poorer students into one poor student class, kind of like an academic ghetto. On the other hand, as a teacher, I have to admit that teaching class A is very nice. The students are all, to the last, bright, curious, motivated, and respectful. There are no behavior problems, no issues with missing assignments, and last semester every last student passed the class. In short, its a dream class, the kind of class every teacher wishes they could have, and it is this way by design.
So this past week there has been some minor drama involving the fact that 9 particularly bright students from Class B, through hard work and determination, worked their way out of the ghetto and started in Class A this week. This was met with some resistance from the students in Class A, who resented the fact that their positions as the school stars were being challenged by a bunch of upstarts. The students left in Class B were themselves not to happy with the “traitors” who had forsaken their buddies and moved on to greener pastures.
It wasn’t just the students who felt this way either. I heard many a teacher grumbling about how Class A had been “ruined,” how the class was so much harder to manage now, how the new students were distracting to the others, their academics not up to par. As for me, I’m incredibly proud of my students who were able to move up to Class A. There are several who I’ve been lobbying for since last semester, so it made me very happy to see them finally escape Class B. Their futures will be much brighter in the new class and these kids work hard and have always stood out. I feel like they should be given a chance, rather than left to squander away their potential in Class B. If they can’t hack it, fine, send them back, but give them a chance, at least, to prove that they can handle the work in Class A.
I feel like there is probably some social commentary to be gotten from this tale, somehow. I’ll just leave it at that, however.