Sunday, 15 January 2012

School blues

My eldest daughter has always had difficulties in her school.  While she adjusted very well when she first started her kindergarten, she cried every morning for the first 3 months of her elementery school.  Yes... 3 full months, every morning, she refused to go to school and I had to literally drag her to school.

I can understand her rejection.... moving from a nice, fun and kind teachers of kindy to a big, old, loud, ugly bathroom and shouting teachers at elementary public school.  After 3 months of crying, finally she adjusted well to the school, doing very well in her study until Standard 2. I was a happy mommy...

Last week she started Standard 3 excitedly in the morning... But only to be traumatized again on her first day of school.  She came home with a sad face saying that she hated her math teacher and didn't want to go to school again.  I asked her why and she said, " My math teacher said that we have to master multiplication until 9.  If we get 1 wrong answer, she will hit us 5x and if we get 2 wrong answers, she will hit us and send us to sit outside the class."

I was shocked and angry... Math is a terrifying subject for most students and this teacher makes it even worse.  How can a child be interested in math if all he/she thinks about is the punishment?  My daughter scored 97% in math on her first and second grades  She didn't really enjoy math but she studied and did well because she said her math teacher was funny.  Now, she really hates math and think that she is bad in math.

I always believe in "Carrot AND Stick" method..... but I found out that carrot works better than stick.  I told my daughter that I would make her a VIP member of Spark City (online girl game) for a month if she got an average of 90% on all her tests in Standard 2.  She studied hard and she got all As.  But a few days ago when she cried (and almost vomitted) for refusing to go to school, I threatened her by taking all her priviledges of using any electronic devices, from TV to Ipad2 to laptop to PSP, she didn't budge... She insisted she didn't want to go and at her age and size, I couldn't drag or carry her to school anymore.  She really didn't go to school, staying at home without watching TV or play her electronics... just drawing, sleeping and reading. I don't know whether it's a virus or flu or stress but she had high fever for 2 days..! (she was happy with the fever because she didn't need to go to school...)

My mother-in-law and few friends suggested I talk to the teacher and tell her how her method of teaching effects my daughter.  However my husband told me not to.  He believes that my daughter should be thaught to be brave and confident.  If I keep on "rescuing" her, she will always be timid and scared of everything.  His solution is to toughen her up and build her self confidence.  Let her be punished... anyway, he said.... it's not a big deal to be hit and sit outside a class.  He knows that the hitting will not be bad or else the teacher will be in trouble.

I don't know which one is the right one.  I was punished a lot of times during my elementary school... I had to stand in front of the class, I had to clean the school compound, I was pinched, I had to squat under the blazing sun, I was hit by a ruler, etc... I went thru all those and my mother never ever went to school and complain. I turned out to be OK..

As of now, I will do what my daughter requested : She wants me to send her to Kumon because most of her friends who are excellent in math go there.  She forgot that she scored 97% for the past 2 years without Kumon.  But I will still send her to Kumon... I just want her to be confident.  If she thinks Kumon will prevent her from being hit by the teacher, let her be...

My mother-in-law insisted on talking to the teacher.  She will go to school tomorrow and have a talk with the teacher because she knows that I am reluctant to talk to the teacher.

Siiiiggghhh.... My childhood karma is coming back to me now thru my daughter.  I always scored A's in maths. In fact, math has always been my favourite subject. But I also had no self confidence.  When teachers asked me to go infront of the class, whatever numbers and alphabets in my brain would be gone with the wind.  I only did great in written tests but not in oral tests.  Now this is happening with my daughter....

Sometimes I wonder how my mother handled this... but I forget how and if I asked my mom, I am sure she also forgets.  She has been a working mom with 5 kids, so it;s impossible for her to remember this "small thing".

Being a mother is really full of challenging problems.  I think universities should have classes majoring in Motherhood, instead of only child education.  The teaching will be used more widely than anthropology, meteorology, or any other logy....  It will also be useful throughout life because mothers face problems with their children for as long as they live. 

If only psychologist fee is cheap and covered by insurance, I would have visited them everyday now...


  1. Eli, sorry to hear that. I think there is no right and wrong, depend on the value that you and hubby hold as a parent how to educate and instill it to the kids. I have no experience whatsoever to handle Standard 3 kids as my own daughter is still 22mo :). But I hold certain belief about education method, and when Dania grows up, I wish I could fulfill this method to her, but sometimes things goes un-plans. so what I wish is just provide her with confidence and hope she can be a street smart and defend her self in any difficulties and I know this is an extremely diff. task as parent... I agree if only we have degree in motherhood :).

  2. Thanks Fen... Every kid is different. My youngest, Nadine, never has this problem. She is always happy when she has to go to school. Both go to the same school but each of them adjusts differently. I am sure you'll know best when the time comes for Dania to go to school..;) Gong Xi Fa Chai to your family....

  3. Sorry to hear that, hope your girl will start to love school again soon. I am the type of mom that will not interfere with what ever method the teacher choose to use. I want my sons to see how the real world is and learn to tackle on their own. They will tell me about their teachers etc and normally I will find out from them how they handle it and give advice if I think the way they handle the situation don't seems right. Like the Chinese old saying, the hawk and the chicken, the mother hen should teach the chicken how to avoid the hawk and not ask the hawk to leave the chicken alone. Hope you have a great week ahead

  4. Hi Aries, thanks for your concern.... Yes I share the same belief with your "hawk and chicken" story. Hopefully she'll adjust better soon...


The Accidental Prisoners

I have been neglecting this blog for more than 2 years.  The last post I wrote was in 2016. I thought I would never write again.  The craz...