It's the third day of Chinese New Year, the horse year. No big deal really. However, CNY is very much the time for family catch-ups. We meet up with relatives whom we probably rarely meet throughout the year.
A discussion I had with an aunt left me slightly disturbed and I felt the need to share my perspectives.
We started talking enthusiastically about Early Childhood Education (my passion) and Isaac (my love). The topic veered off to choosing a primary school for my little boy who is barely two. I am not being anxious. I was trying to find out the prospect of enroling him into the only not-too-bad Christian school in Singapore, which her son is studying in. That, for your information, is ACS junior.
My reason for thinking about this school is as simple as "I want a Christian school for Isaac". For some reason, we started discussing the differences between "good" and "not-so-good" schools, peer influences and academic routes in the future.
Suddenly, the topic turned to me. She mentioned "I took a long route". At that moment, I wasn't quite sure what she meant. She talked about how she always sees me "studying" (more like pursuing my education).
For the benefit of my readers, I went through the standard education and went to junior college. I dropped out and studied in polytechnic. I emerged a top student (not because I was more studious). And I took a part time degree as I was anxious to join the workforce. The degree I took was a scholarship too. Now, I am studying for a teaching diploma at 30 years old because I made a career switch after 10 years.
This discussion really disturbed me. It took me two days to ponder.
Simply put, I have never regretted the routes I took. I may have friends who climbed the corporate ladder. How many of them are really happy? I am not sure.
Also, I got to where I am today because Singapore's education system never prepared me for post-secondary school. I was so clueless about my strengths and weaknesses. I loved the arts but it wasn't as flourished then and my parents were against my pursuit. I took to the path most Singapore students took. I went to JC only to realize I hated the mundane academic style of JC. Eventually, I had to go through trial and errors and many experiences along the way to discover what I really want and like to do in life!
Little did I know back then I am a kinestatic learner! No one told me that. I am not even sure if that was because I went to a neighborhood school so the teachers weren't capable of identifying my learning styles and strengths for me.
It took me a good 10-15 years to finally follow my heart and passion. That was after trying hard to do well in stuffs I didn't like doing. So many times I wanted to leave everything and go into Early Childhood.
There were too many risks and negativity then. I have God and Isaac to thank. Probably The Lord felt the time was right and he opened the door of early childhood to me. It gave me insights into education and child raising. I am better at managing my expectations and managing Isaac.
To sum up my post, I do not agree with the education system in Singapore. I feel that children do not get enough exposure to allow them certainty about what they would like to do to choose the choice of specialization in the university.
Therefore, my philosophy in education is simply, children are curious. The more exposure they receive when they are young, the better. At least, they are able to identify themselves and decide their future pursuits early.
I want Isaac to be resilient. To be able to take risks, failures and discover the world and his life all by himself.
Someone asked me about "strawberry generation". I think it came about because protective parents plan their children's lives!
What do we want for our children? A high flying career? Or success being measured by achievements from their interests and passion - usually accompanied with satisfaction and happiness?