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1 December 2018

1 December 2018
Every December, parents in primary schools visit different secondary schools in the hope of choosing one best for their children. The idea “best” is a relative idea; to some parents School A is better than School B, others vice versa. And what is best now at the research stage may be different from the time the children study in junior levels, and then senior levels some years later. The strengths of the school may change, so may students’.
Quite a large number of parents are relieved once their children enter secondary schools; they completed a mission impossible and they think they are free for the next five to six years.  Or are they? Their children definitely feel the joy and pain their parents’ experience, and more often than not, they are willing to play along.  So once children enter a school of the parents’ choice, the children’s mindset will go on vacation, just like their parents will.
If parents heave a collective sigh of relief, rest assured that the children will do the same because “they work hard in primary six for you [the parents]”.  So when a task is completed to the parents’ satisfaction, then everyone’s mind goes on holiday.  The result is, the honeymoon months in Form 1 become Halloween Haunted House experience, that students cannot cope with the changes in the secondary school, and put much pressure on themselves because of the maladjustment.
Changes are natural, difficult learning items in secondary school are expected.  I constantly tell parents that the lessons in Form 1 are three times harder than those in primary 6, and those in Form 2 are three times harder than those in Form 1.  And they should, because knowledge is spiral up with new input, rather than repeating the same items one has learned in primary school. If everything is easy, students need no secondary school curriculum.
I cannot pretend that lessons are not hard, and students won’t face challenges in school. They will, and they will feel down when they cannot overcome challenges temporarily.  But it is our duty, parents’ and teachers’, to prepare their children well by telling them that they will face failure, but they should learn from failure and mistakes and move on to become stronger and better people.  This cycle will continue for next six years, and hard work pays off in one’s improvement.  Learn to advance, learn to fail, learn to correct, and succeed.
Anson Yang