The case for teaching my students uncertainty

This is dedicated to all Singaporean students going through the tough Singapore-Cambridge A level exams.

In Singapore we robotize education.

Students wake up in the morning at the crack of dawn to rush to school to attend classes.

The classes are in 1hr formats and will certainly follow the syllabus set by the SEAB.

There will certainly be a test, in fact many of these throughout the year.

If the students passes it, he/she will certainly get promoted.

If the student does well in the final test, he/she’ll certainly get to enroll into a local university of his/her choosing (NUS/NTU/SMU/SUTD).

The student at this juncture has repeated these steps obediently for more than ten years. At the end of the degree, students are told they can look forward to a well-paying job waiting, with fixed hours and a career path.

Certainly, this will be the end of the arduous education regime. Certainly, this will help the student in his/her/YOUR career.

Superiors telling you what to do, and when you respond by reciting the notes you took, they reward you.

Oops. Reward you NOT because machines can out recite you with greater accuracy and less emotional baggage. Foreign talents can perform on par with you but without demand for reward. And there are another 100,000 NUS/NTU/SMU/SUTD graduates just like you before you and after you.

We’ve trained people to be certain for years, and then launch them into a culture and an economy where relying on certainty does us almost no good at all. In fact, it leads us to becoming mediocre in what we do.

Who’s teaching you the students what to do when certainty doesn’t happen?


Nobody in the school.

I wanna change that. That’s why I chose to teach. COMMENT.


  • On December 19, 2016