Few days back, I had a phone call from my niece who could not meet the requirements for grade XI admission. I knew she was in a dire rummage for a financial rescue to put up herself in any private school in the capital city.
We began our tête-à-tête privately to figure out her subject of interest first. Having demonstrated herself moderately better in Dzongkha, at the rear end of our conversation, I expected a swift conclusion of her choice to go in for the streams that consign Dzongkha the utmost priority. But when she averred her interest in science, I was completely gobbled up by the madness of speculations.
Undoubtedly, this is one of the most bizarre scholastic malady that many of our students who qualify after grade X suffers from. Almost majority think and declare their stand of opting science stream just because they succeeded to cross the bar of the criterion to have 45% science aggregate. While many are driven by societal influence, family expectations, peer pressure and dogmas of higher occupational prospects, there are still few who assume it to be a guaranteed career clearance. And least, there are a handful of students who are seriously occupied with their special interests that are further decorated by higher scores.
Personally, I appreciate my students joining into a science stream but I never indoctrinate them to undertake it. Rather, I buoy up them on the grounds of what they are good at. I know, I am neither a qualified academic guru nor a competent scholar, yet I have always maintained my record of giving academic guidance and direction of my own caliber. After all, teaching is all about educating on values, ideas and principles to live our life and not just teaching textbooks in the schools.
So, whenever they probe me about the career prospects and selecting streams, I would always narrate a story about the Shakespeare who experienced a virtual death after marrying with biology.
There was a friend of mine who was gifted with a powerful command over English and possessed extraordinary literary prowess. We named him Shakespeare because like this giant literary don, writing essays and poems were just on his fingertips. To him, we would just need to describe about a girl whom we loved (or infatuated with, precisely) and a minute later, those beads of infatuation will be knotted to a rosary of a spectacular poetry. His linguistic capacity was beyond compare that, in any examinations, his marks would never fall below 80s in English I, which was an uphill task for many of us.
Therefore, our teachers were not mistaken to have expected and encouraged him to take up the Arts stream where, English in particular functioned as a lubricant to an easy score of marks in other related subjects. We were not wrong either to stimulate his interest in leaving other streams because he professed (to me personally) his infinite interest in ruling the world of Arts stream. But things had a sudden U-turn.
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The following year he took science with majors in Biology and I was still his best desk-mate. I observed his stainless razor of linguistic talent corroding, since science subjects naturally demanded a lion’s share of time. But this doesn’t mean that he failed miserably. In fact, he was equally good in science as well. He was still a dominating figure of Language disciplines that even our arch academic rivals in the Arts stream would scream on his marks with exhilaration. But the thing was that the bar of the score which he would leap over with such a relative easiness before was never a luxurious attempt this time. And even more dreadful was the result of grade 12 that made him mad for neither excelling in science nor conquering any language related occupations. He virtually committed an academic suicide after marrying with Biology.
This story of my friend projected here is by no means, affiliated with any sort of humiliation, disgrace or degradation. But on a profound note, it has always guided me to shape and design many of the young fragile lives that I get to interact each day in the school because it is the examples, opportunities and experiences that we become responsible in making our life even better. It is not the responsibility of the teachers alone in guiding our students to the right track. Every matured and experienced people should shoulder an equal dividends of educating our youth. Getting into science is not only the way to serve the nation. Neither it is, a guaranteed stream for the career opportunities.
“We learn by example and by direct experience because there are limits to the adequacy of verbal instructions”- Malcolm Gladwell