Has Anything Changed?

I am parent to two beautiful little girls aged 9 and 8. Both are the apples of my eye and suffice to say that they are the focus of everything that I do. I am a hands on parent when it comes to education, because of which I feel compelled to voice out my observations, concerns and suggestions.
It never fails to surprise me of how much things have not changed since I was in primary school more than 20 years ago. The load of books, the amount of homework, the stress of kids. More recently, when I went to drop my daughters at school, I realised just how  much they carry around morning and afternoon, day after day. Their little bodies lurch around their heavy bags, even though they are carrying around books that they do not use everyday. When I ask them to leave some at home, they reply fearfully that they NEED to bring all books in case the teacher decides to use that book on a particular day. Which leaves me to fume about the total lack of planning that could easily alleviate children.

In the first place, with proper planning and a timetable set at the beginning of the term, teachers could already identify what and when to use particular text books. This would not only help children with their load but will also give children a sense of discipline. Secondly, the school could invest into a few shelves or cabinets in the classroom, where all books are kept in an orderly manner and distributed to kids as and when they will be used. This is a common practice in private schools, which is not hard to implement, given the amount of money the PTA receives yearly.

Secondly, when I talk to my kids, it seems that they are more scared of than trust their teachers. I am not generalising, but I do believe that teachers need to get down more to the level of the kids, to understand their fears, doubts and insecurities. I do understand that this cannot be done for 40 kids everyday, but at least for those with identifiable difficulties, a special attention would be most welcome.

One of my main concerns nowadays remain the implementation of the nine-year schooling. With materials having reached school late and teachers in a partial dark, I remain skeptical of how this system will be different from previous ones. It seems that only the names have changed but the pressure has remained the same, especially with exams in August and in October.

I believe that a proper training, a better organised workload, an improved timetable or even way of teaching, like taking kids outside the classroom for a work session will change the way kids see school. Similar to myself, there are thousands of parents out there who wish nothing but have kids going to school happily. For this to happen, we are more than willing to work with the teachers, provided that the two-way traffic is accepted. For at the end of the day, the goal is common: work towards nurturing the future generation.