Monday, June 16, 2008

School issues again...

This subject has come up again. My poor little girl is trying so hard to do well and please her teacher but her school culture seems to be concentrating on putting fear on the children. Children are given a whole book of "Holiday Homework" to do during the 2-weeks school holidays. One boy didn't know how to do one page (something which his teacher hadn't taught), he was caned by his teacher. His mom went to school to see the teacher. His teacher admitted to not having taught the page in question, briefly went through the page with the boy and gave mother and son permission to go to the canteen to complete the homework. Vice Principal comes along and scolded the mother for not knowing that he should be in the assembly hall. This was 1/2 hour before school officially starts. Children are required to gather at the assembly hall from 12.30pm - 1.00pm. Said something to the effect, "Been 6 months of school already, how can you as a mother not know?" To talk down to a mother in front of her child is a definite no no!

Children are penalized by teachers and branded "lazy" and "stupid" if they do not know how to answer questions or miss out on doing homework. These children are so bogged down with homework, I have a tough time keeping up with what needs to be done!

Laura gets home every day about 7.15pm, dinner and shower and starts homework about 8.15pm. She doesn't finish till 11.00pm, sometimes midnight. So fatigued already, how to concentrate? Weekend homework is ridiculous. When are the children supposed to have time with the parents? Time to play? This weekend, this was what Laura had to do for homework - construct sentences in Mandarin, hanyu pinyin, copy a page from her Mandarin textbook, counting number of strokes and recognizing the radicals, Maths in Chinese, Maths in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Pemahaman in BM and Moral. Her birthday party was scheduled for Saturday, so she wanted to finish all her homework on Friday after school so she can have the whole weekend free to play. Laura stayed up till midnight on Friday and she could not finish. This morning, to have time to play the rest of the weekend 'coz we have house guests, she finished the rest of her homework.

I myself have not been the most patient with her. I feel really bad about it. Not having been educated at a Chinese school, my knowledge of Mandarin is very limited, not up to the standards of a Std 2 student. Laura will like me to sit with her to do her homework, helping her look up words in the dictionary, etc. Evening is also the time when I usually work on cakes, as day time is spent running errands and picking kids up from school. If Laura finishes close to midnight, that's when I start my work on cakes and I do not get to bed till 3-4am sometimes. Sleeping late is really putting a strain on me and I am such a grump when I do not have enough sleep. My children suffer, PT suffers and our helper suffers my wrath too.

I see my daughter changing. She has been forced to grow up faster than she should. At 8-years-old, she should still have the "Wow!" factor in her. To be curious and amazed by what's around her and the world around her. Laura should have time to daydream and read what she wants to read.

My daughter used to be a confident, outspoken little girl. At 3 years old, she told off some 6-7 year-old-girls for being rude to her at the playground. I was so proud of her for standing up for herself. However, that quality is frowned upon in her school. They are supposed to listen, sit down and shut up.

Private schools like Sri KL, Sri Cempaka or Sri Garden are not options for me. Also, I feel cheated having to pay almost RM10,000 a year in fees to learn the Malaysian school syllabus. RM10k is only fees for lower primary, have not taken into consideration the deposit, material fees, extra-curricular activities, uniform, etc. OUCH!!

Laura is also feeling a little left out in school. She has been raised by us to be affectionate and has always talked like a little adult. I don't think she can really relate to her friends in school.

Anyone know what Convent Bukit Nanas is like? Or Stella Maris? Does St Mary have a primary school? Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Sek Men St Mary and met the principal. I am very impressed with Miss Goh, the school principal. Miss Goh is a principal who cares about the students under her care and it shows. Unfortunately, the school is too far from my home.

I am desperate! I need to find a good school to transfer my daughter to and eventually for Adam to start school in before my children lose their innocence and drive.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

*Takes a deep breath to avoid typing blasphemy*

Yes, now I'm ready. Malaysian school culture suck, and that is fact. Do you know why, Min? Most of the teachers in Malaysia don't actually care about the education and well being of their students. They probably care about the percentage of the students who gets good results and straight As in wudever examination that is made legal by the government. This way, their school will be famous, den, bla bla blah. If students in the school did not get good results, the teachers will be pressured by the principle, and then, there goes long and unnecessary lecturing during the daily or weekly assembly.

And as the result of all these nonsense, the students are forced to sit and listen whole day long and expected to just absorbed what they've been told while copying whatever rubbish being written on the blackboard. Students are not expected to speak unless they are spoken to, and any witty opinion are considered as a 'biadap' attitude. And on top of that, children are given loads of homework- I don;t see why it's so important to have so much homework if the homework only asks you to write notes! That is absurd! Malaysian education should emphasize on critical thinking and studying smart. That would have been more empowering than the teachings that they are implementing now.

Poor Laura, she must have been through alot. Now I'm really thankful that I don't have to go through primary school or high school anymore. I didn't fit in well and not to mention I was always being punish for not doing my homework or forgeting to bring my homework to school. *snort*

Poor, poor Laura. She must be a special and smart child, but then again, i dare to bet my head that her interpersonal communication skills got nothing to do with her inability to fit in. Children are cruel. If you are different and more outspoken, you'll definitely be left out. Usually, the 'typicals' will be able to flock together well, while others opt to be teacher's pet in order to survive well in school. LOL. Politics, they start pretty early, don't they?

Anyway, I don't know any good school with truly caring teachers and good study environment that provides competitiveness as well. Usually schools that have good and nurturing teachers lacks good study environment and vice versa. I truly wish you luck in finding Laura a good school to transfer to. She deserves the best. I think if you want to transfer her to another school, it's best that the school is not too far from home. This way, you can monitor her progress in the new school ( some teachers will pay more attention and more nurturing towards your child if you always keep in touch with the teachers) and Laura won't be tired from having to travel too. That'll spare the poor girl abit, since there's not much thing you can do about her homeworks and stuff.

I do hope you can be patient and not so harsh on her, Min. School sometimes can be hellish and she needs your support and approval ^-^

Anyway, hugs and kisses for Laura, and I wish all the best for her. Muack!

5:16 am  
Anonymous GSLA said...

I am sure Miss Goh is a nice person. Her sister is currently the Vice Principle of Wesley Methodist School in Sentul.Also known as Miss Goh, she is a very caring and "hands-on" Vice Principle.Schools are lacking administration of such good character.

9:56 pm  
Blogger Min said...

cleffairy, a friend of mine mentioned that our parents didn't use to have to bother with our schooling. We managed. She also acknowledged that times are different now. Yes, dedicated teachers are hard to come by. In fact, teachers who even know what they're doing are hard to come by.

gsla, the two Miss Goh have been the principals of St Mary's for some time and their dedication shows.

10:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please Stop. Get a proper perspective on this.

It was the parent's decision to enrol the child in this school - decision (A). Child just got dealt the lousy, miserable 'fate'

Poor child is now saddled with the homework (more like burden) and the shitty consequences of the school system and process

Parent's decison to have a baking business - decision (B).

Because of Decison (A) and child's inability to cope, child now ALSO has to bear the brunt of parent's anger at being an obstacle to parent's pursuit of decision (B)

Hapless Child suffers the consequences of decisions (A) PLUS decision (B).

Yes, obviously decision (A) was made in child's best interest. No one will dispute this. Decision (B) was best interest of parent. No one will grudge you this either.

Yet both decisions clearly have negative impact on child's happiness.

I can understand the frustration of the school vales and culture. But blaming the school is pointless, a waste of precious energy and time.

For goodness sake, get the priorities right. Set aside your own feelings and put the child's feelings and needs FIRST.

While the child has absolutely no control over circumstances, but to just endure, everything is within the parent's control to make life nmore bearable and less miserable for her much loved child.

You KNOW what needs to be done, ASAP to make things better for the child.

The (wholly justified) rant about the school policies can come later.

The cake business cannot take priority over the child's well-being and happiness. Surely this can wait.

So sue me if you are offended at me for pointing out the obvious.

-kpc stranger-

12:12 pm  
Blogger Min said...

kpc stranger, I think I have a good perspective on this. Bottom line is my child is not thriving. Instead, her confidence is being stripped and she is changing from a child who likes school to someone who is beginning to dread school. I wouldn't say Laura is not coping with homework. She gets homework done and not have enough sleep.

I don't understand which part of my post gave you the impression that I'm not putting my child's need first. And for your information, I AM doing something about the situation.

12:18 pm  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Dear Min, I empathise with your situation. Do give homeschooling a thought, visit

Have an open mind and good luck!


8:17 am  
Blogger Min said...

Thanks for the link, Lynn. The talk is in Ipoh though. How about in KL? I am open to options, just not enough information about homeschooling. Is homeschooling recognized by the Ministry of Education? It is compulsory for children to go to primary school. Parents who withhold their children from school are punishable by law.

I like the idea of going to an proper school as education goes beyond learning from books. It is also learning to interact with other children from all walks of life, problem solving, etc.

9:32 am  

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