What the children are saying about......

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What the children are saying about......

Postby Guest » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:14 am

Under pressure

By CHUANG BING HAN

St Joseph's Institution student Jack Khoo, 14, has not watched television or played computer games in a while - he has too many school activities for that.

Tanjong Katong Girls' School student Sharifah Nur Asifah Helmi Alaunied, 14, officially finishes school before 2pm, but gets home after 7pm every day.

The Secondary 3 student then goes to bed around midnight, after catching up on her homework.

"It's the competition period for my CCA now. There is training every day. On top of that, I miss that sometimes because I have to go for extra classes and tuition," she said.

It's the same story over and over, according to a 100-strong poll conducted by IN.

More than half of the respondents felt they did not have enough time for all their extra lessons, co-curricular activities, and homework.

The result is that students say they are stressed out. One in five students said they were very stressed, or extremely stressed out. Slightly more than half said that their stress was still manageable.

All the students surveyed said they felt stressed by their studies in one way or another.

The combination of homework, CCAs, and school activities is the toughest to handle, the respondents say. It is hard to say "no" when people need you, said Tanjong Katong Girls' School student Heng Hui Mei, who often emcees school events, and is part of the school's newsletter team and debating society.

"When people approach me to help out, it shows that they trust me. And I just want to do my best, and prove that I'm reliable and trustworthy," the Secondary 3 student said.

Other than having too much to handle, parents and teachers were fingered as sources of stress as well.

About 30 per cent of students said they were stressed by their parents' expectations.

Crescent Girls' School student Qiu Fan Yuan, 14, said her parents keep pushing her for better grades.

"It's as if they are never satisfied with my results," the Secondary 3 student said. "And they push me to go for violin classes, when I don't really like them. I have to force myself to go."

Another 42 per cent said it was their teachers who stressed them. Among them were Christ Church Secondary School students Fayth Foo and Jolin Ng, both 15.

Their teachers are rushing to finish the syllabus, the Secondary 4 students said, and the girls are afraid of falling behind.

The schools, however, have a different perspective. The issue, they say, is not about how long students are in school, but whether they are gaining anything there.

"The main thing is that the students have opportunities to grow and blossom," said Xinmin Secondary School principal Liew Wei Li. "More activities can mean they have more opportunities to explore their talents.

"If students were very free, wouldn't that mean they were not using the prime time of their lives adequately?"


Counsellors say stress can be good or bad, depending on the level of stress and the individual.

"Students are like rubber bands. And each rubber band is unique and has differing stretching capacity," said counsellor Joanne Fu.

"Stress can help to stretch them and expand their potential. However, stress beyond what they can handle may break them and do more harm than good."

There is no clear yardstick or formula to differentiate between constructive and unhealthy stress, counsellors say.

"We need to have an honest conversation with a student to know what they are feeling," Ms Fu said. But there are some signs that show when things are wrong, she said.

These include isolating oneself, moodiness, emotional outbursts, and can get as extreme as bingeing, self-multilation, and casual sexual relationships.

But not everyone who feels the heat is complaining about it.

"I'm packed with all these activities, and it makes me frustrated at times," said Jack.

"But the stress is good for me. It keeps me focused and I think I do better this way," the Secondary 3 student added.

"In the long run, it's good for me. I don't want to just study, but to learn other things as well. That's why I picked up the guitar and hockey."
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Postby Guest » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:15 am

Yeah I know it is not unique to Singapore...it's the same all over Asia but will we lose out if we are different? :?
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Postby tankee » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:38 am

Basically, we (and perhaps more so, our children) are not as hungery for success as our fore-fathers.

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Postby Guest » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:41 am

So you mean all these pressures are necessary to instill the hunger? :?
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Postby sleepy » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:42 am

Must learn how to say NO and don't deem walkaway (eg. quit CCA if it consume too much time) as a failure.

There's afterall only 24 hours a day.
If 'time management' is at the expense of your hours of sleep, time with family, time to breathe, your sanity....well, must know when is your breaking point & cut your losses
Last edited by sleepy on Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby tankee » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:45 am

ks2me wrote:So you mean all these pressures are necessary to instill the hunger? :?



It is the other way,

No hunger thus felt stressed out.

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Postby Guest » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:05 am

tankee wrote:
ks2me wrote:So you mean all these pressures are necessary to instill the hunger? :?



It is the other way,

No hunger thus felt stressed out.


I think to be fair.....we DID NOT have so many points of pressure in the past. Not because we were hungry and not felt the pressure, that would be too much credit given to us. It was alot of freedom of time we had that allowed us to balance work and play and maintained our sanity so we could take the pressure.
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Postby Guest » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:07 am

sleepy wrote:Must learn how to say NO and don't deem walkaway (eg. quit CCA if it consume too much time) as a failure.

There's afterall only 24 hours a day.
If 'time management' is at the expense of your hours of sleep, time with family, time to breathe, your sanity....well, must know when is your breaking point & cut your losses


I totally agree with you on saying "No" and time management but I also know that there are some schools that make 2 CCAs compulsory, I wonder what is the necessity to drive that.
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Postby daisyt » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:44 am

ks2me wrote:
sleepy wrote:Must learn how to say NO and don't deem walkaway (eg. quit CCA if it consume too much time) as a failure.

There's afterall only 24 hours a day.
If 'time management' is at the expense of your hours of sleep, time with family, time to breathe, your sanity....well, must know when is your breaking point & cut your losses


I totally agree with you on saying "No" and time management but I also know that there are some schools that make 2 CCAs compulsory, I wonder what is the necessity to drive that.


When my dd doesn't know how to say NO or feel bad to say NO, I would try to convince her first. If this does not work, I would say NO for her. Everyone has their limit and different level of limit. If the kids are tied up with many activities to the extend they have not enough rest, something is wrong.

2 CCAs compulsory, I am strongly against it. To make it optional would be a better choice. Then parents can work out with their kids whether they can manage with 2 CCAs. Certain kids are involved with many other activities while some are not. I see no reason for compulsory 2 CCAs.

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Postby daisyt » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:45 am

sleepy wrote:Must learn how to say NO and don't deem walkaway (eg. quit CCA if it consume too much time) as a failure.

There's afterall only 24 hours a day.
If 'time management' is at the expense of your hours of sleep, time with family, time to breathe, your sanity....well, must know when is your breaking point & cut your losses


Yes, fully agree! :D

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