Friday, September 06, 2013

Mum's Diary: Focus On The Positive

Transiting to Primary One is a big deal for kids. It's the beginning of formal education in Singapore and for many of the kids, it's their first encounter with serious and intensive studying. Apart from the kid feeling the stress and heat, the parents usually get stressed up and nervous as well, especially if it's the first time for them. I started this series to document the chronological order of events, my intimate thoughts and emotions on this journey, and it will continue until Joey settles down in Primary One. Hopefully, as we go along, the posts would become more and more positive and encouraging. I do believe in that. :)

Thursday
5 Sep 2013
11.07pm

Today is the last day of school for the kids before the September school holidays start, so Joey came home with her portfolio which contains all the assignments, worksheets etc that she's done in the last few months.

Inside the portfolio, I found a progress report with the marks for different tests for the various subjects written. Even though the school told us right from the start that the kids would not have examinations for the first 1.5 years of their Primary School life, it turned out that the kids were given surprise tests during class. We were not informed beforehand except for the 'Show & Tell' sessions, so the main objective was to test if the kids understood what they were taught. Not only were the marks stated on the report, there was also indication of whether the scores were Band 1, 2, etc.

As if by instinct, my eyes were immediately drawn to one of the marks for Mathematics that showed that it's a Band 2 grade. I blurted out, "Huh, why so low marks?? You didn't know how to do many of the questions ah?"

Immediately, I felt really bad. I had done what I've told myself never to do.

There were 3 scores for each of the subjects on the progress report and for all of them, she scored above 90 marks and they were all Band 1 grading - All except one Mathematics paper which she scored less than 80 and got Band 2 grading. And I was that negative mommy who forgot to praise her for all her Band 1 scores, and only passed a quick comment on the not-so-good one.

Bad mummy.

Immediately, I could tell that her countenance dropped. Sometimes I forget what a sensitive girl she is.

So I quickly explained that I was just wondering what she didn't understand about her Mathematics such that she's not able to answer some of the questions. I was being too task-oriented on something that really didn't warrant it. She is after all just a Primary One kid - there is no need to sweat over examinations and grades now. And yes, I remembered to praise her for the rest of the good results and that I am always proud of her. In fact, I was surprised that her Chinese marks were higher than her English's, and I told her so. Looks like she might have inherited my genes - Chinese has always been my favourite subject of all time.

There are many conflicting thoughts in my mind about studying and getting good results. While I do not want my girl to be overly stressed about academic performance, I will be worried if she doesn't seem to be bothered with pursuing good results. While I do want my girl to be involved in different fun extra-curricular activities and projects in school, I am also concerned whether she will neglect her school work because of that. Striking a delicate balance is not easy.

With such an education system in Singapore, it is easy to get trapped in the rat race of pursuing better results. I have to constantly remind myself not to drop into the trap of focusing only on the end result, and forget that the journey of learning is way more important. What I really want to see is for my girl to have an enriching school life - learn new knowledge, have fun with friends and have a fulfilling Primary School life. That was the kind of Primary School life I had, and some 20+ years later, I still have fond memories of the many performances I did with a bunch of funny classmates and all those times we hung around with our Form Teacher at the PE Room. It is hardly a surprise I could not recall the studying bit at all. :P