Saturday, 14 November 2015

After Meet-the-Parent

I feel shameless as a mother. 

I have not taught Baby this year, at least not conscientiously.

I stopped her Math enrichment in the first half of the year when she didn't feel like going.

I stopped her Chinese enrichment in the first half of the year when she vehemently refused to go for lessons.

If you ask me what I have taught her, I can only tell you I have got her to rewrite the Chinese characters at the back of the Chinese textbook and got her to complete a few Math papers.

What have I done with her for English? The only thing I did with her was going to the library with her and reading to her, sometimes.

I have not made her do an English paper, or got her to write a composition - because she didn't want to write.

I have wanted her to enjoy her first year of formal schooling, and I wanted to see how she does without external intervention. I wanted to see if she would do well 'naturally' with just her teacher teaching her.

But when the form teacher gave out the 5 invitation cards for the top performers in class, I actually felt disappointed, shamelessly disappointed.

I knew without parental support, it's almost impossible for a child to be among the top 5 performers in class in this school, but yet, I felt disappointed.

When I came home, I felt bothered. I couldn't sleep. I kept playing my Bejeweled Blitz because I couldn't make peace with myself.

Then I decided to exit the bedroom to watch some TV. I saw her report book on the dining table and flipped it open. And I realised Baby didn't do that bad after all.

You see, the school has printed the result slip such that her Overall results are shown first while her CA2 and SA2 come after that! I had zoomed into the last page because usually that is the page that matters most since it almost always indicates the 'final' score. However, for some reason, this time, I looked at her Overall Percentage and realised that she actually comes very close to the top 5th. The form teacher had revealed to the last few remaining parents that the top 3 performers had at least 92%. I would gather 90.7% wasn't too shabby a score - a score that's without much help.

I actually felt a lot better when I figured that out. I had felt lousy after going to the Meet-the-Parent briefing in which the form teacher met the parents as a class. One of the parents spoke to me and mentioned that her child had 85 for English. I had thought Baby had done really badly as generally the class did badly for their SA2 English because of the sudden increase of weightage for the writing component which they were not adequately prepared for.

When I examined the Overall scores closely, I realised Baby had done better than some of those children who had gone for enrichment classes throughout the year. 

I feel strangely relieved but still feel guilty that I had not helped Baby. 

I realise that as long as my children are studying in a Singapore school, I will not be able to detach grades from their studies, no matter how much I hope they can enjoy their childhood. I am not an enlightened parent who is able to ignore grades as long as my children enjoy learning. I had thought that since I am a 'seasoned' parent, I would not mind when my child is not one of the top 5 performers. 

I am a Singapore mother after all.

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