Sunday, February 15, 2009

Andre's new teacher

About two weeks ago, I received a call from Andre's form teacher. She sounded very nice on the phone and said that Andre's work and conduct were fine... except that he has been handing in work that looked like kiam chye (her actual words). He has a file but for some reason, he had decided not to use it. Instead, he has been stuffing worksheets in his bag in any old manner so that by the time they reach his teacher, they're ripped and crumpled like some free-style paper mache project.

Arrrgghh, I was so embarrassed. Partly because I realised that I haven't been checking to see that he has filed his work properly. Bad mummy!

So, barely one month since the new school year started and I already received a call from his teacher. Feels like deja vu. That's not all. They have Chinese composition 作文 for p3 and when Andre received his very first assignment back, it had "I want neat handwriting!" written in red right across the top of the page. You see, he had inexplicably ignored the lined squares on the page and his characters floated, like unfettered butterflies, all over the page. (The comment was written in English - his Chinese teacher probably figured that he wouldn't understand it in Chinese.)

I hope that's not a sign of things to come. But if there's any consolation, it's the fact that Andre loves his form teacher this year, he's always telling me how nice she is.

This was the very first journal entry Andre wrote this year.

In case you can't read it, this is what he wrote:


Hi! I am eight years old. I am over twenty-five kilogram. That's because I like to eat food. I am wearing spectacles because I watch too much television and playing computer. I.... It is a secret, I grow about one cm a month. I like sports too and music. My favourite instrument is the piano. I have piano lessons every Wednesday. I like other subjects that I learn in school. School is very interesting!

I thought the writing was more like p1 standard - somehow when he writes for his journal, his spelling, grammar and sentence construction fly out of the window. Maybe because it's not marked, he just says whatever comes into his mind and he doesn't really put in any effort. I've told him he still has to be somewhat mindful of his English even though journal entries are not corrected, but I didn't harp on it since I didn't want to discourage his free expression.

Anyway, I shared this journal entry because the interesting part was not what he wrote but what his teacher commented at the bottom:

"Haha... Andre! You are so cute. Miss XX was very small size when I was young too. Don't worry, one day you'll be taller than me!"

When Lesley-Anne read that, she said in mock outrage, "Even his teacher thinks he's cute??" All I can say is, I'm very glad that after two years of having no rapport with his teacher, Andre has one this year who seems to get him. Hopefully, that will motivate him to work harder!


Alcovelet said...

Thanks for sharing this, Mon. Andre is, well, so endearing, and that isn't even lost to us folks who are so many times removed physically. His teacher seems to like him and he knows it, so this year is really off to a great start!

I think I've only had affinity with teachers who liked me in the past - must be some kind of sama sama, kaki-lang mentality here at work.

monlim said...

Ad: I think parents have less interaction with pri school teachers (unless it's about complaints from either end!) but it's true, teachers are probably more empathetic to the kids whose parents they get along with.

I'm happy for Andre, praying hard the good times last!!

Lilian said...

Andre's teacher sounds really sweet...not your typical jaded primary school teacher. Andre did well the past two years despite having no rapport with his teacher, so he'll just continue doing well, difference is he'll have a happier time all year long. And that's the comforting bit, for us moms, to know our kid is happy to be in school and not being picked on.

monlim said...

Lilian: You said it right, new teachers have the advantage of being fresh and enthusiastic, unjaded by bad experiences.

I don't think Andre did that well in the past 2 years, but he met my targets and that's all I can ask for. This year, he's not in as "good" a class and I'm cool with that because it gives him more opportunities to shine. I heard that the kids in best class are already being forced to stay back for supplementary maths classes and are given p4-p6 sums. How crazy is that? Andre would just die in that environment. Hopefully here, he can enjoy school more and like you say, be happy which is what matters most.

eunice said...

Good that Andre finally has a teacher that appreciates him. We need more teachers like that so that the Andres floating around are encouraged and not stifled.

petite fleur said...

Agree with Eunice. For children who do not fall into the norm like Andre, who is adorable & easy going, it's a blessing that he has a teacher who gets it & better still, appreciates him for it.

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