Last Tuesday I brought 8 students of mine to the Kuching/Samarahan Robotics Finals in SMK Bandar Semariang. The team was all charged up, and was ready to roll. Some small talk along the way made things look bright and I can see that everyone was ready.
To be honest, this is one of the few times I can let the students loose as they tend to all the details needed for the competition, preparing all the required details to perfection. I was a little worried about the junior team, but they reconfirmed with me that they had everything under control upon arrival at the competition place.
As they set up their booths, I gave some simple instuctions on what should be improved in terms of presentation and decoration, but over all, they all did fine as this is the team I had been training since 2009, in which I said would be the team of 2011. Looks like the plan is working well so far, as some other teachers also said my team has potential. I smiled as I monitored the team doing what they had to do. This team was very different from the one I brought in 2009, despite having the same members. There was no last minute programing and structural construction this time.
So when they were all ‘prepped’ and ready, they waited for the presentation time. While waiting, I sat down with them, giving some tips and sharing stories of life, including blogging. LOL.. I know, so out of topic, but they asked…
After a few minutes, this teacher from a particular school came. Now, I really don’t mind anyone coming up and giving suggestions, but to condemn the team by saying ‘You and the other teams here are not qualified to represent Kuching‘, ‘Your robot is useless‘, ‘Your project is very low level‘ and many other negative things was really unnessary. I could see my students being very much demoralized after this particular teacher left, and this wasn’t good since they had not even competed. Anyway, I tried my very best to regain their confidence after that session, and thankfully, 2 out of the 3 teams I brought made it to the Sarawak Robotics Finals in Bintulu.
The thing is, why should one give such negative statements on kids, when these kids have spent hours and weeks making such a project? If there is need to suggest something, be my guest, but please do it in a constructive manner. Besides competing, I believe that proggrammes like this Robotics Proggrame is to expose the students, while enabling them to learn something new. On top of that, the students must also enjoy the fun of going for such programmes, while at the same time learn something. Winning is a bonus, and not the ultimate goal. I stress this everytime I talk to my students in my team.
Of course, I emphasis on hardwork and concentration too, but then again, I don’t believe anyone will work well if they are unhappy, and hence the need to have some personal enjoyment when doing something.
Oh, and the teacher also said “You must win whenever you join a competition”, but is winning really everything? I beg to differ…
What do you think?