My eldest daughter, Dion (now in sec 1) has been coping well in her studies all the while since young. 🤗 Unfortunately, its not well for my son, Zenith (now in P5) and youngest daughter, Dyllis (now in P4).
Zenith is smart, but playful. He doesnt really like studying but he can think and react fast. He knows alot of things but it doesnt really shown in his school results. 🤨
Dyllis has been labelled as “slow learner” by the teachers, since kindergarten, to now in primary school. Because of a misfortunte when she was a month old baby, the swell in her brain affected her learning growth since then. 😓
She had problem remembering things. In simple terms, she is a very forgetful person. She could forget where she had placed her things at home after a minute and would search high and low. Sometimes the things are right in front of her but she didnt notice. She has difficulty remembering directions and she needs to be taught many times. She always lost her worksheets and stationery. 😪 She has problems expressing herself and often mistook as a rude kid. 🥺
When she was in Primary 1, I brought her to see a physcologist and she was assessed with mild autism. She also lacks confidence in doing simple maths. Like a simple 2+ 8 = ?, till now in Pri 4, she needs to use hands to count to get answer. If numbers become more than 2 digits, she faces difficulty and would sit there to stare at the question very long… but she had good memory on song lyrics. She also remembers places that we went before, words I promise her. 😉 And her english was ok.
All my kids have grown up healthy and strong now, which is a blessing. 🙏
In the past, I would be like any typical kiasu mum, who mind alot about children education. Because all parents believe that only with good education, would get the kids to have good future. And I always scold them when I dont see them study for exams. Im such a bad ass mum… 🙄
As years go by, after a failed marriage, I changed my mindset. All I want for ny kids now is to see them happy… and still healthy even though in a single family. I dont give them anymore pressure in their studies. I dont force them to revise for upcoming exams. Sounds like a “wonderful” mum ya? Perhaps, I was finding myself excuses to cover up for my laziness.
If they are good at studies, it is a plus bonus. Otherwise, I prefer them to focus more on how to be good humans.
When I say good, I doesnt mean to be perfect. I mean to know what is being sensible and responsible for own actions, being filial to elders, being thoughtful, respectful and humble to people around you. And dont tell lies. Well humans make mistakes. We all err but if we know its wrong and we dont repeat the mistakes again, we still can be saved, right?
Nowsdays, I always read articles and posts about children involving in family mishap / accidents, killed by adults fights, peer pressure leading to sucide etc.
I dont wish to see it on my children.
Especially when Dion proved to me that without pressure, without a disappointed father, without studying hard “in front” of me, she achieved better results. Thankful that she is strong. 🙏🤜🤛
In the beginning of this year, Dyllis’s form teacher contacted me. She wanted to meet me face to face to discuss about Dyllis. The first sentence that came out of her mouth was “Dyllis is such a rude and disrespectful student! Whenever I talk to her, she doesnt answer me. And she doesnt hand in homework!”
I told the teacher there might be some misunderstanding. So I arranged to meet her in school 3 days later.
I went home to ask Dyllis about this. She told me the teacher was always on MC and relief teacher doesnt give homework. And when the form teacher returned back to lessons, she was always teaching too fast and my girl could not catch up at all. My girl did her homework but she had a forgetful mind. Some homework was left out from her handbook list, and which was why it led to her not handing up all the homework. I know forgetfulness is not an excuse… but her brain just doesnt work like other kids at same age. And sometimes she just doesnt respond when I ask her questions. Shes not rude. Its just that she doesnt know how to answer and thats why she chooses silence. But her actions are not rude. She doesnt ignore me. She just stares at me and try to think what im asking her.
On the meeting day, the form teacher texted me saying she was on MC… again. So our meetup got postponed till further notice. After that, I didnt bother to contact her since she also didnt contact me back. It was for about 2 months later, that I received her call again.
“Dyllis is still not handing in her homework. And I told you to meet me to discuss about her. And you didnt bother to even arrange!” The form teacher sounded so angry over the phone.
“Teacher, I think your approach is totally wrong. As a teacher, you should be finding out from me 1st if there is anything wrong with Dyllis, before you start jumping to conclusions. And we havent even meet to talk. Its not I didnt bother to arrange with you to meet. You are always on MC and I thought I would prefer to let you rest and recover well in peace first. I was waiting to see when you would really get the time to meet me instead. And the way you speak about my daughter, you are judging her unfairly.”
“Since you called, let me tell you now on phone. I do not know if you did find out from other teachers that Dyllis has learning problems coz of a swell in her brain that affected her growth. And I regret to inform you that Im divorced now and Dyllis has no father around anymore for support. Im taking care of 3 kids solely on my own. I have to work to feed them. And I pity my kids coz they are left to be independent during the day till I return home from work to attend to them. I have always called and text Dyllis to remind her to do her homework when Im at work. When she doesnt know how to do, she waits for me home to teach her. I see her do her homework everyday. Its not she never does any! If she really left out any of the homework, its coz she really forgets to write down in her handbook.”
“So you telling me that its ok for her not to do homework? Now its like she is just copying answers from me when we go through the homework in class and copying wont get her to learn anything from it.” The teacher kept on raising her voice.
“Please stop jumping to conclusions. I never say its ok for her not to do homework. I clearly says she forgets to write it down and so she miss out taking out the homework to do at home. And Dyllis feedback that you always teaches so fast and she cant even catch up. Why are you so rushing in your lessons? Is it coz you keep on MC and causes the students to lag behind in their learning? And so whenever you back to class, you just want catch up to the latest topics, without considering if the students can cope and learn at your fast speed? And to be blunt, whats wrong with copying answers that you give during class? Copying is also learning something. Dont you explain the steps as you write the answers on the whiteboard while they copy? If you got explain, why you claim Dyllis doesnt learn anything by copying? And last but not the least, Dyllis is not a rude girl. She just doesnt respond or speak out well. Coz of her slow growth, she lacks of confidence to react like other normal kids. But it doesnt mean she is rude. Stop your judgement if you want to call yourself a good teacher. It will hurt Dyllis if she hears this. As a teacher, if you expect every student that attends your class to be smart and responsive, I think you are living in a perfect world where you expect 0 errors from humans. Adults themselves make mistakes, let alone a young kid. Thats why teachers are here to help the kids and correct them. You are not trying to help Dyllis now. You are just using hurtful words on her, to pull her down.”
There was silence on the phone for 10 seconds after I spoke. Then the teacher said since I said till like that, she wont speak much further but just do what she needs by giving Dyllis lessons as normal.
Im not being protective of my kids. Im well aware whats wrong with my kids. If they are really naughty and rude, I do try talk senses to them. But I hate people judging my kids without trying to understand what situation my kids are in. If you want put blame on my kids, blame me first. I didnt want to show disrespect to the teacher in first place. But she judged Dyllis right from beginning. 😔
After that call, I thought the teacher would be mad at me and Dyllis.
The next day, I received text from the teacher. It was list of homework for Dyllis to do for the day. I was caught by surprised but replied her “with much thanks”. I forward the text to Dyllis when she reached home from school. I told her to make sure she took out all the homework to do. When I reached home, I checked through to make sure all were done and kept back in her bag. And so, I began to receive everyday text from teacher on the homework list. And the teacher never called or texted me to say Dyllis has not done her homework… anymore.
I appreciate the teacher’s thoughts by sending me Dyllis homework list. 👍 I had really thought I would cause Dyllis to be “marked” and the teacher had given up on her, since I defended Dyllis…
Im not a good mum but Im trying. I dont want my kids to be growing up with no happy childhood memories just coz if they are not able to perform well in studies. I did well in my studies but I cant be expecting same from my kids. Everything is so different now.
Initially I didnt want hire a tutor to give them extra lessons coz some days they have CCA or remedial lessons in school which ends at 5pm. Coming home is already like 6plus and they need to rush for bathe and dinner and homework. I really pity them. They are just young kids…
When it was June school holidays, I decided that they had that extra time. So I finally got Zenith and Dyllis a home tutor 2 times a week. Tutor feedback that Dyllis cant cope at all at her current P4 level. I told the tutor just start from scratch. It meant to really start from K2 maths. I just want her learn as much as she can, basics maths will do for now. I dont ask for much. Tutor understood what I mean. She taught Dyllis with patience. 🙏
I also realised I had given them too much freedom on hp access. I decided to set parental control on Zenith and Dyllis hp when school reopened on 1st July. 1 hour usage per day, to text me when they home and ask me on homework. Hp will auto lock by 7pm or when 1 hour limit is up.
When I did the control settings on their hp that night, I didnt tell them. The next day I was at work, I couldnt stop thinking about it. I felt lousy that I have to implement such controls on them suddenly. Its good to limit them on their hp usage. But it wasnt nice to do it before giving them a heads up…
So during lunchtime at work, I decided to write a long text in our family groupchat to Zenith and Dyllis…
Zenith and Dyllis couldnt accept the sudden change. They questioned me in the groupchat right after they back home from school. I felt stressed. When I reached home, I decided to sit down and explained to them.
“Im sorry my babies. I need to do this because I love you. I need you to understand… you go to school to study is to gain knowledge, for your own good. Otherwise, if you know nothing, you cannot help yourself if you are curious to know something. People will take advantage of you if you do not know anything. Today mummy is still around, can feed you take care you. But its not forever. One day you will grow up. One day mummy will grow old. I might even just die tomorrow. We all never know. You need to study learn things to take care yourself feed yourself in future. I dont need you to study get good grades. I just need you study to gain more knowledge, help yourself, protect yourself. Thats all”
When I said I might just die tomorrow, my 3 kids immediately shout “Touchwood! No way!”
They laughed. They acknowledged and accepted the change. I smiled, while crying with joy inside my heart.
They are my pride. My love.