Warning: This was a note I made and published on my Facebook account dated April 28, 2017. This was originally written in Filipino and I decided to translate and edit some grammatical mistakes. This will be a rant, hence, use of strong language would be present. Take this with a grain of salt since this is strictly my personal view. Thank you.
Recently, I’ve encountered my fair share of diligent and not-so-diligent pupils. Some of my students struggle with their work and review schedules. Sometimes, I am patient and I try to accomate them as much as I could. However, like all things, my patience and understanding is not infinite. I don’t want to compare their experiences with mine, since all people are different, but I simply couldn’t help but think why is it that some people are just too full of excuses? I understand that life is typically difficult and shitty in general, but throwing excuses around isn’t gonna make it better.
Student: Ma’am, I simply do not have enough time to review. *starts to list all their problems*
Me: So who do you think would adjust? Think about it, it’s not like the examiner would say ‘aww, she’s busy with her job, alright let’s give her a 7 ’cause she’s a poor soul.’
I guess the lesson here is to stop making excuses. Yes, I get it, you are tired, there seems to be no time to do everything and that life is generally a huge shithole. However, it all just boils down to prioritization and time management. It’s tiring, I know, and there are just days that you feel so overwhelmed. I understand completely, and that is why even though it’s way past my hours, I still try to accomodate students for one-on-one coachings, especially those who need closer follow-up. But, I need to stress that YOU should HELP YOURSELF. As I often tell my students during lectures, “nobody got a high score through simply watching. Those students who got their target band scores DID something. They PRACTICED.”
How do you expect to be good at speaking for the IELTS if you will not speak in English?
- “I’m ashamed at what others might think if they hear me speak in English. They might think I’m being ‘maarte”.
Screw those people who tell you that you are ‘maarte’. Screw those who scoff at you for using less common words in everyday conversations. I’ve been there and a lot of people back then always used to say that I speak English in a weird manner because I use words not commonly heard in normal talks. Well, not to antagonize them, but look where we are now. Some of these naysayers are now my students. Again, I am not antagonizing here, but let’s just put things in perspective, shall we? The IELTS costs around 10k. Unless they would be the ones paying for your exam, they have no business making fun of you when you try to practice the skill.
2. “Ma’am, I’m really just busy with work.”
I know it’s not easy to leave your day job to focus on an exam, and I had to make that difficult choice when I had to take the NCLEX a year ago. However, I can tell you that studying and working at the same time is possible without sacrificing any of the two. I took up some units for my MAN ( Master of Arts in Nursing) degree while fully employed as a bedside nurse. YES, it was goddamn difficult. I lost sleep, exercise, social life. Ultimately, however, one has to simply choose which part of their life to sacrifice. I chose to sacrfice vanity and comfort. I went on days without proper sleep. On some days, I felt like my blood was thinner than water and that no nutrient could ever reach my cells to fuel me for the rest of the week. In spite of this, I persevered because I wanted to be a nurse educator someday. I know I’m not the only person who did this, and there are countless others who gave up all sorts of things to reach their goal. Hence, this is my question to you: WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE FOR YOUR GOAL?
3. “I’m just not good at English.”
The tallest mountain started as a stone. This means that nobody started great, nobody started at a band score of 9. All of us have weaknesses but it doesn’t mean that we’ll let ourselves be defined by these setbacks. Again, it’s not like the examiner would say ‘Oh poor thing. His weakness is writing so I’ll be considerate and give him a 7.’ Come on, it sounds stupid because it is! There is simply no way about it other than to PRACTICE.
4. “Ma’am, I just don’t know what’s wrong. English is my weakness since I was a kid.”
Again, let me ask: who should adjust? Now that you know that language is your weak suit, what do you think should you do?
5.“Ma’am, where can I get useful tips?”
Now we’re talking! That’s the sort of question that a diligent student should ask. Dear, if you know how to use Facebook, I’m pretty sure you can use Google. Type: IELTS free reviewers. IELTS free tips. IELTS free materials. IELTS free download. I would bet all my licenses that there will be loads of websites available. Honestly, it’s just a matter of using our gray matter and knowing how to distinguish which information is needed. As your teacher, I cannot spoonfeed everything, otherwise, just pay up and I’ll take the exam for you. If you have a smartphone, use it to its full potential and download a dictionary. Using the thesaurus function, look up different words and their synonyms so that you have a “word bank” to refer to when writing your essays or answering questions for speaking.
6. “Ma’am, I simply don’t have enough time.”
You do. You just don’t know how to use it wisely. Let’s do some math, ok? We have 24 hours. Take away 8hrs for work, so you are left with 16 hours. As an adult, 6 hours is enough time to sleep, so subtract that and you get 10 hrs left. Subtract 4 hours of commute to and from work, so now you have 6 hrs. Deduct 3 hrs for food and hygiene purposes (YES, 3 hrs only because you’ll only need one hour for a lunch break, breakfast takes 15 minutes, dinner takes 15 minutes, and snacks take another 15 minutes. Bathing 2x a day for 30 minutes each would be enough too. So yeah, 3 hours for physical needs is enough time). All these leave you with 3 hours of idle time. Allocate one hour a day everyday for IELTS and then it’s up to you to divide the remaining 2 hours for sex and recreation. See? You have time. It’s just a matter of prioritizing and management. Again, the reason I am able to say this is because I’ve been through it. We simply do not know how to utilize our idle time. For instance, when we’re stuck in traffic, instead of daydreaming, listen to audio clips, browse news articles from inq.net o philstar to get new vocabulary. Instead of stalking your crush in Facebook or sharing useless love quotes, read English articles so that your eyes are used to the words. If you’re about to ask your friend to accompany you to the bathroom, instead of asking in Filipino, say it in English. When you wish to speak to your boss say “Sir, I have some concerns that I’d like to speak to you about.” PRACTICE.
7. “Ma’am, it’s just so difficult.”
Everything in this world is difficult.
So, what other excuses do you have? I can bet two to one that I can give you a response. You know what, this is all there is to this shit we call ‘life’: If you want something, you’ll put it first.
Easy enough, yeah?
End of rant.