Wednesday, February 23, 2011

School woes

We are into week 8 of the school week,and I have been so busy. The school week is so much longer for me, even though I am not the one in school, but from the shuttling of the children due to changes in their schedules this year. So please forgive me if this blog is a little neglected.

Met a few friends and here are some of their Primary One woes:

Friend A - daughter's mandarin teacher gives ad hoc "ting xie" (Chinese spelling) and in addition to the words that they are supposed to learn, gives additional words as and when the teacher feels like it. Friend A feels that this is totally unfair coz her child may not be prepared for those additional words and thus may (and did) get some of them wrong.

My response: No big deal. Everyone in the class will be on an equal footing and will be faced with the same "unknown" words. But unfortunately she is still unhappy.

Friend B - Said to me : "I do not like my daughter anymore, coz she is very cranky when she gets home from school and is very disobedient". Friend B hails from the US, and is not used to the local school system which she feels starts too early and is way too rigid. She thinks that her girl, having been subjected to all that rigidity at school, just wants to break free and rebel when she gets home.

My response: Please cut her some slack, as she is still settling into the new school system, and also may not know how to voice out what is troubling her. I too find that my D is more disobedient since she started school. I guess that is just part of growing up, so please do not hate her. They are just trying to find their own comfort zone and grow up. Sob.

D has also been sharing with me about the Sick bay at school. She is fascinated by it! She thinks its a place to go and rest, ... and you can skip class too, whilst in school! I was aghast when I heard it. And began telling her about why she shouldnt go to the sick bay. She then told me about two of her classmates who are regular visitors there. One is her Best friend (GASP!!), who always complains of having a stomachache. This girl has potato chips for recess as well as after school snack (double gasp!) I then explained to D that the stomachaches are probably caused by not eating well, and went on to tell her about why she needs to eat, and healthily so as not to fall sick.

The other regular visitor apparently eats well at recess (she usually has noodles and macaroni soup, I was told) but is also plagued by stomach pains. And after the oil rubbing session, still has that ache and will then go to the sick bay to "rest".

Having manned the sick bay at the school previously, I am aware that there are children who will go there just to skip class. When I mentioned it to hubby he shared with me this incident.

His friend received a call from his child's school one day when they were having lunch, and apparently this has been a common occurrence recently. His daughter complains of stomach pains every time mandarin lesson approaches. Why? Because the mandarin teacher, on a particular day, was upset with some children in the class slammed down some books on the table and his daughter was startled by it as she was seated near the table. Since then she has had this fear of mandarin classes. My heart goes out to the poor girl. But in such a situation what can they do now to help the poor child overcome this fear? It is fortunate that the school managed to identify the cause of the problem and have now assigned her a school counselor to overcome the problem. But shouldnt something be done to the teacher as well? What is with this intimidation? Much as I know, it may be difficult to control a class but the teacher must be taught how to handle situations and not use intimidation and definitely needs to be counselled as well.

As for my woes, apart from the long days for me, is when the child does not perform according to plan. I have always practised for spelling and ting xie with D. And during these practises, she has been getting them all correct. BUT when she gets to school for the actual spelling test or ting xie, she gets some of them wrong!! How? If she gets them wrong at home, I can drill her, or come up with little tricks on how to remember the correct way to spell - BUT she gets them correct at home!! Could it be anxiety too? I dont know. But, going thru P1 for the 3rd time (4th if I consider my own P1 year), I am now COOL about it. Que sera sera, I did my best to help her learn it. And if she still gets it wrong, there is nothing more I can do. I no longer insist on getting 100% for all ting xies and spelling exercises.

I guess we mellow with age, and I dont want to stress the small stuff. Also, I dont want the white hair to multiply so fast :P


iml said...

I sometimes feel that that school curriculum is tailored to suit parent's expectation n idiosyncrasy rather the students' learning joy. Slightest thing out of the norm, and some parents will be hoping mad crying UNFAIR. It's really killing the joy of learning AND teaching.

stay-at-home mum said...

Oh yes! I think they expect too much from the children these days and school is no longer FUN!!

Stardust said...

Honey, I can't agree more with your outlook on kids' behavior and performance. Many times, it's nothing but a necessary phase in the making, and kids don't deserve to be judged so seriously over the slightest.

You should remind me of your insight one day. :P Hope you'll feel comfortable with the present schedule soon.

doc said...

hard as we try, somehow we sweat over the most trivial matters concerning the kids.

could our own upbringing have contributed to this curse?

NomadicMom said...

Aiyo. If you insist 100% at school, surely you will be stressed and definitely D will be too!

stay-at-home mum said...

Doc - possibly!!

N-M - I always took the stand that for ting xie and spelling since you know what they are testing you, you can and should get 100%, since you can practise, practise, practise until you know it like you do your name. For other tests where you dont know what is coming out, it is ok to have mistakes. Surely I am not too demanding!! Hahaha!

JoMel said...

and you don't want D to remember you as a Tiger Mom! :P

stay-at-home mum said...

Haha! JO - actually I am a "tiger mum" wannabe. I know the mechanics to be one and I nag it, just not so successful when I have to implement it.

bp said...

i like your philosophy!!! go, D, go with Mama Tiger erm i mean Mama Dearest lah cheering you on :)

Domesticgoddess said...

I also don't believe in sweating the small stuff. In fact, I don't pay much attention to my son's spelling and tingxie since the final scores don't count. But I look at it later and expect him to learn from the mistakes, as long as there aren't too many.

My son just started out in P1 and I have already heard so many ridiculous stories of parents hackling with teachers over the show-and-tell scores, complaining when teachers added an ad-hoc spelling/tingxie word etc...