Monday, 3 December 2012

A Surprise with an Afterthought

Last night, when we returned from my birthday dinner at Lawry's, a pleasant surprise awaited me in the mailbox.

Coco got an 'Edusave Certificate of Academic Achievement' for 'being in the top 25% in terms of academic performance in the level and course and good conduct in school'.

It is the first time she ever received a certificate like this.

Top 25% in her school.

If you minus the GEP children in the cohort, she would be among the top 22 students in the mainstream.

I can't help but wonder if she would have got this certificate in her other years at school if I had not been a teacher.

Or maybe she was among the top 25% in her school at P1 and P2, or even P3, just that she was penalised for her conduct because I had been, admittedly, quite a 'difficult' parent by most teachers' definition.

Such things are by teachers' recommendation.

She didn't do very well at P4, a supposedly easy year. In fact, she did better at P5, which is 'strange', because most kids' results dip or plummet at that year.

But I was just thinking, if I had not ignored her academic progression, if I had stayed home and supervised her in her studies, if I had not been so stressed up and busy with teaching, could she have been among the top 25% all the time?

I was 'inspired' to take leave from work when an adjunct colleague told me that her children in a neighbourhood school would never have been able to get above 260 for their t-scores if she had not stayed home for their primary school years. Another colleague 'affirmed' this when she took a 3-month break from work and stayed home to 'be there' for her child before PSLE. The child hit 250, enough to get her into one of the better girls' school. The colleague didn't take leave for the second child though, at the request of the child herself. And she didn't do as well as her elder sister.

Time and again, parental involvement, especially the mother, seems to be the key to a child's academic excellence.

I just felt a little melancholic that the fact that we are not well-to-do enough to allow me to stay home for the kids, or my job is not one that allows me to spend time supervising and teaching my own kids. When I work, I basically ignore my own kids, not that I want to, but it is just that busy and preoccupying. I am called 'Ms Efficient' at work, but the amount of work is simply too much.

If 6 months spent with Coco can help her that much, I can imagine how much help I would have been to her if I had stayed home throughout her schooling years.

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