This happened more than 7 years ago.
That year, among my group of secondary 4 students, I had one student from a neighbourhood school and another one from a top school, Hwa Chong Institution (HCI). Due to some reasons, the Hwa Chong boy was in the O-level track instead of the Integrated Programme (IP).
The female student from Hougang Secondary was especially weak but she was assiduous and kept trying. All she wanted was a reasonable pass for English in order to get into her desired course in Polytechnic. She had been getting either Ds and Cs in her exams… Despite her weakness, I had full faith in her because she tried really hard, diligently remembering and applying what had been taught.
Unsurprisingly, the HCI boy was a much stronger student; consistently getting Bs and even As. Perhaps he was aware of that too and became rather complacent. Despite repeated reminders never to be over-confident, it was inutile. Looking at both the boy and girl, you could see a marked difference in attitude.
When the O level results were released, the HCI boy was the first to call. He was crushed that he got a C5. I was blindsided but was not totally unprepared. The female student didn’t call me sooner & I was getting anxious. At the back of my mind, if the HCI boy had gotten a C5, what about her…
Finally she called, and couldn’t stop sobbing. Oh dear, my heart sank! I comforted her and her told she had done her best and that was the most important. I wanted her to stop crying already and tell me how she had fared. An A2!!! She cried because never in her wildest dream she would get a distinction for English. I can understand – coming from a weak student.
The moral of the story, it doesn’t matter if you are weak. Keep trying and surely you will get there one day. And to those who are complacent – it’s only a matter of time failure will come knocking.