Sustain (v) to keep sb/sth alive or in existence

(Oxford Learners Pocket Dictionary)

I was thinking lately about this word. Sustainable. The first time I really involved with this word was when I had to teach my private student about 8 goals of MDGs. Well, quite a hard topic for a junior high student. But then, it turns out that I have to use the word more often.

A week or two ago I went home with my friend from school. In this case, school is my place of work, not where I study. I had a chat with her about some of my students. We were wondering why are their scores in so many subjects bad. We thought about three reasons; unclear explanation from the teachers, unprepared students during the test, or inability to absorb the materials and extract them when they are needed.

If the reason is unclear explanation from the teachers, then there will be so many teachers at stake here. There is one teacher for one subject and we doubt that all teachers are that incompetent. No way. They are hired as a teacher for some reasons and the reasons must be good. They should have a capability, skills, to handle the children and transfer the knowledge. Nope, I don’t think that the teachers are the reason.

Students preparedness of the test should be worked out by teachers and parents. At school they study. As soon as there will be upcoming exam, the teachers prepare the students. There are exercises and homework given out so students get used to answering written questions. The experience say that those students were able to do both things well. They had good results for their exercises and homework. So what went wrong? There is still one more preparation that should be done; preparation at home. Well, the homework should prove that they prepared themselves at home, right? I am quite sure that the parents were aware of the upcoming exam and asked their kids to learn. Well, at least the kids told so.

Then there is the third reason. Maybe they can’t absorb the materials and extract them when they are needed! Humans have brains, right? How can they not be able to absorb knowledge? Then I remembered one of my student. He always get answer for his questions easily. Whenever he is challenged, he step back and choose not to try. He totally shut down. Maybe that is the reason. They always get the answers to their questions easily that they don’t have to think, they don’t have to analyze, they don’t have to strive to come up with an answer. Well, God gives us brain in order to give us a chance to think. As stated in the Holy Qur’an.

Finally I concluded. Sustainable. They were not sustainable. They can’t keep their knowledge exist this whole time and can’t get the benefit of their knowledge. People tend to easily forget what they know or have when they get it easily. I forget that I have 2000 rupiah money when I pick it up from the street (well, this isn’t really happen). These children easily forget what they know because they don’t need to think. The brain doesn’t put the information in long term memory and therefore they were unable to produce the answer in their exam.

I really think that teachers should be able to make the students sustainable. They have to be able to give the students skill to strive in this world. Teachers can easily pass out the knowledge like they are passing hand outs. But really? Is it going to help the children? Give the children opportunity to think. Push them to the edge but equip them with safety tools. When they are skilled, every exam will be as easy pizzy lemon squeezy.

Apr 12, 2012


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