Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pass or fail

This is not a cheerful blog.

In our city today the high school entrance results were posted and so all the jr. high kids who applied and tested for prefectural high schools went with their parents to find out if they passed or failed. I hate that word. Failed. I know some of my Japanese friends will balk when they read this, but I really dislike the Japanese education system. Maybe since I only know the American system and that is from long ago, I have a biased opinion. I would really like to know from any of you out there in other countries whether this is a normal system or if the American one is the one that's abnormal.

What I'm leading up to is that two of my jr. high boys that have been coming for English for years, graduated yesterday and then went to the high schools that they had applied to, to get their results. One boy passed. One boy didn't. The boy who passed had applied to a mediocre high school. The boy who "failed" had applied to a higher level high school on the advice of his jr. high teacher. He is a smart boy, the higher level school would give him better opportunity to apply to a college three years from now. But since he failed, he will instead be going to a private high school and everyone who knows him will know that he was a "failure". Acceptance is based on the entrance exam alone so maybe he had a bad day. Who knows, but it is a traumatic experience to have failed this major test at age 15 and be labeled as a "loser" who couldn't get into the high school of choice. I really hate this system and feel so sorry for these young kids who start out their high school years with such a low opinion of themselves.

The boy who didn't pass came with his mother to tell me the results. They brought a box of cakes and thanked me for teaching him these many years. He and his mother were going to the jr. high school next to tell the results to his jr. high teachers. All of us commiserate with him and say how unexpected this is and try to convince him that this other school will be good for him. Unfortunately, Takumi went through this exact same experience 6 years ago. He tried for the same prefectural school, he didn't pass, he went instead to the same private school. I'm sorry to say I wasn't impressed with the school he went to so it was very difficult for me to be encouraging today to this boy.

I'll try to be more cheerful tomorrow.


teodo said...

Sometimes very strong and painful events happen in somebody's life. We have to hope that this bad moments will be a lessons to be stronger. I hope this for that boy. ciao ciao

Conni Lu said...

Tanya, This is an unfortunate incident for this boy. Sometimes things work out in spite of these events. Take care. :)