Sylvia's writing to freedom

Russian scenes or simply taking an exam? 24/06/2011

I watched a video clip of Russia Today about Russia having the highest teen suicide rate in Europe. The video talked about increases of suicides around the late December and early June exams. Teens experience these periods as highly stressful and for some it is too much to take or to cope with on their own. Russian experts say that these emotional stress builds up over time and when parents are able to see what their kid is dealing with they rather be not confronted with it and want to continue life as normal. Russia is quite underdeveloped when it comes to psychological help and according to the video there is not much  to do about it in the current Russian society. Yearly 4000, mainly
girls, take their own life’s due to exam related emotional stress.

I myself have a teenage daughter that is going through her final Middle School exams, right now. I also, just as the Russian parents, saw that the stress was building up. Where my daughter A. had this attitude of “all is going to be fine”, during the school year, she now is aware that she can’t make a huge difference anymore. Just not fucking up the exams. She payed attention in the classroom during the years, wasn’t a big fan of doing homework. Therefore she reduced homework to a minimum. This year she had to choose her future school career, is it going to be High School or all the way up to University. A lot of stress when you’re just 14.

So 2 weeks ago I asked A. if she wanted to talk or blow off some steam. I couldn’t look the other way like the Russian parents in the video. I knew that with a little bit of common sense we could tackle A.’s problems. Not that I’m a magician, but simply because common sense takes things apart without emotions and feelings involved. And of course I did also, many years ago my exams, which was indeed a stressful and emotional period in my life. Though never to this point of wanting to end my life. Probably because kids nowadays are moving in such a fast interactive multi media world and they’re constantly impulsed by tv, social networks, mobile phones. Looking at it now I had quite a protected youth, simply because cell phones were not yet normal in the streets-cape, internet was not yet for the average people and still in its research phase, television had only 3 channels in Holland. We simply had to entertain ourselves, on which my generation did a better job than when I look at my own kids how they sometimes get bored due to overstimuli and an excess of virtual entertainment.

Anyway back to the exam stress, A. and I sat down and A. started to cry. It was indeed too much at this point, no suicidal too much, but emotions and feelings pulling and pushing her all over the place. While explaining after she calmed down what was kind of holding power over her, was this feeling of being tossed around by her own energetic charges. During the year she did her stuff, but as most teens nothing more then required. A. has been debunking a lot of her textbooks for what was written in it, but of course that was a no go area with her teachers. However when you see how you’re being fooled it’s even harder to try and learn the stuff. A. went into her exams with a 7 ( out of the 10) as her average mark. Not too bad for doing the minimum and being down graded as a foreigner. Nevertheless according to A. not high enough to not worry for her exams.

A. told me that for the last 6 months the teachers had been scaring the students for the exams and told that they didn’t work hard enough and that flanking was a real possibility. This fear management of the teachers was quite severe and in a way I do understand this kind of psychology to try and get these youngsters to work. But fear is not the tool to learn them self-responsibility and even enjoying to master information and see where to apply it. Of course being able to apply the learned information is an utopia in our current school system. So the teachers on one hand scared the shit out of A., it was feeding into her insecurity. Did she put enough effort in her school work or not, was a constant question on her mind, now she couldn’t change that anymore and only work with the consequences.

On the other hand a lot of the students who did their exams last year and the years before said that the exam was really easy and they didn’t have to study for it, everybody was passing anyway. This message was one that A. wanted to hear of course, but she didn’t trust it due to the information the teachers had been giving in a agressive way. It was simple A.was trapped in a polarity going from one side to the other, the exams are difficult versus the exams are easy. Further more this polarity was opening up all kind of teenage insecurities, till a point that the only future projection A. could do was fear. Not even anymore being able to name the fear game. No wonder she felt overwhelmed by her own accepted and allowed manifestation.

We dissected the polarity and all the turmoil that was attached to it and now she was able to see what it was that was holding her in place, within this fear. Really cool to do this with your child and to see that she was capable of opening up this point with a little bit of “objective” support from outside. If A. a 14 year old girl can do it, then all of us can do it and interpret our world according to what is really here and what needs our real attention to be an effective being and become of value for society in an equal way, where outcomes are best for all, because we understand life and know what we’re doing or dealing with.

A. did her 4 written exams, a national multiple choice exam and her oral exam is scheduled for the 28th of June. She said, till so far the teachers did lie to us about the exams and till so far everybody was allowed to attend the exams. All of a sudden all had an average mark of at least a 6, while their marks could impossible lead up to this average. Hhmmm, a nice introduction to society, showing the students what corruption in action is, because that’s the point they will remember.


A corrupt school system will not judge fairly 10/02/2011

A corrupt school system will not judge fairly and nevertheless I’ll keep believing in my own fairy tails that kids do learn relevant stuff in school and will be rated realistic and fairly. That’s what I’ve been taught, but it isn’t what I’ve been experiencing throughout my school time.

Dealing with school issues when it comes to my kids brings up  suppressed emotions and feelings, which I will explore later in time. I was a good girl in school, but inside I didn’t always feel that cooperative. I could see where the unfairness was and ineffectiveness, though I was not allowed to say so. I even didn’t come up with the idea to speak out.

I have no idea if this corruptness is nowadays more than back then or that I just feel it as double now it concerns my kids?

Today my partner P. and I had a meeting at school with the mentors of both of our kids to collect their first reports of this school year. For my son J. it was even his first report at middle school. These meetings are not scheduled in a time frame so you have to wait in big groups in front of the classroom. This waiting is like waiting for a dentist appointment, you know it will be ugly even if there is no reason they will let you know that your condition could get worse or stay bad.

We already heard from our daughter A. that the music teacher had given her a four on her report. She found out later after being sick at home. Also J. wasn’t sure about his grade, but hadn’t heard anything. Music lessons are split into two, one is to play the recorder and the other part is to learn about music history. My kids never learned to play the recorder and at this point the disadvantage or inequality starts. If you can’t play, this teacher will ignore you in class instead of teaching and stimulating you to be able to join the group. A. had already asked several times for help, but he didn’t honor her request. Together my kids practised at home to become more experienced in playing the recorder, but the level they had to reach was much too high. This teacher doesn’t give any written papers only two oral tests a year, that doesn’t give the students a real change to make a nice average for music. So both my kids weren’t able to play the recorder and both hadn’t done yet an oral test. To the music teacher it was cristal clear, both had failed. J. got a five and A. a four, grades that are almost impossible to improve without real help from this teacher.

When the music teacher told A. her grade he said: “I’ve given you the lowest grade on your report.” A. told that he kept repeating himself for several minutes, but that she hadn’t cried. The teacher did put the total responsibility on A.’s shoulders and she saw how unfair and ridiculous he was, but she didn’t speak out. When a teacher gives a four or five to a student who hasn’t been able to fairly perform, this four and the five are saying more about the teacher than the students. He isn’t the only teacher who refuses to explain things to the students, but isn’t that the job of a teacher? Here in Italy it’s normal to buy yourself a tutor, out of the simple fact that the normal teachers are not willing to explain the materials. What are they doing then in class? Quite a lot of them talk about themselves or their relatives, talk with other people in class or are highly inefficient within time managing the materials due for that term.

So we have to deal with a four and a five and we will out of the simple fact that these grades are ridiculous and when taken seriously A. could not do her final exams if she doesn’t make an eight next term to have an average of six. How can a student who is so bad becomes so good the next term? P. said that he will talk to this teacher in common sense. Both kids have an eight in attitude so that can not be the excuse either, bad behavior. We all have to take our responsibility within this, lets see how cooperative this teacher is in a male to male conversation.

It’s simply impossible to really succeed in middle school, your grades are far from the reality and you’re handed over to the antics of your teachers. It’s a reflection of society so in a way it gives you a warm welcome into the real world. It’s also giving of the messages that you fail even before you start which turns our next generation into quitters and non-believers in real change. We can not let that happen, our youth is still our future, they can not quit before they start.

Let’s put this situation through an Equal Money System. The school would have had enough means to teach the students in a practical interactive way. Teachers would only be teachers if they liked what they were doing, they didn’t have to earn their living with teaching their basic income would cover that. School books and materials wouldn’t be about opinions of others, only facts and tested or even self tested information. School would be about how to live life, how to become effective within life, how to live and work together and to see what it is that you are causing while you’re here on earth, taking your own responsibility. School would become a place where you could safely grow into a responsible human, the start for playing your part within society. School would be a party every single day and it takes only one vote from the majority to establish an Equal Money System. I’ll wish this upon every child on earth so count my vote in.