First term has come and gone. Here's my own thoughts or review of my girl's first term in Standard One in a Chinese School.
On the school:
- We are happy with the school. The teachers are hardworking and the facilities are good. We felt that the class teacher was unapproachable at first but she has turned out ok so far. She even takes phone calls from us after school if we are not sure about something and want to check with her. The Malay teacher is ok too but the English teacher is rather lazy, often not turning up, doesn't teach much when he does, just allows the kids to watch video lessons and often does not mark the work. Fortunately English is not a problem for my girl because the level of English taught is too easy. The Chinese and Malay languages level is much higher.
- There is not much homework and the teachers are not as fierce as we had envisioned. There is no caning or ridiculous punishment (no standing on chairs etc) for things like forgetting to bring text books, not completing homework etc. At the most, the teacher's will threaten. They tend to use rewards more. Children get special stars and badges to encourage them. School hours are ok. The girl does not need to stay back in school. Staying back is not compulsory until Std 3.
- There are no frequent calls for donations (as I was told often happens in a chinese school), only 2 so far ie once during school orientation and again now during midterm because the school is going to do some upgrading works. We feel these are justified and so we donate happily, not reluctantly.
- I would say that she has finally adjusted to Chinese school though she is still not entirely comfortable in it.
- She insists that she still only has 2 friends in the school. However, she is very chatty with the boy who sits beside her whom is not included in her circle of 2 friends. I do see her waving and talking to others and some of her classmates call out to her when they see her but she still claims that she has only 2 friends. One of this 2 happens to be a girl whose parents we met up with during Chinese New Year so that the girls can get to know each other which means that she has only made 1 friend on her own. I guess that only very special people will be given the status of "friend" by her.
- She does not talk much during recess. She says that she justs goes to eat, then goes back to the class by herself.
- She is still not very comfortable speaking in Mandarin although her knowledge of it and written Chinese is good
- Her class teacher keeps on stressing that she has very little confidence. The teacher says that she must change this attitude. She is afraid of asking the teacher questions and often does not stand up straight when talking to the teacher, which is another sign of her lack of confidence. Her teacher also says she tends to do things in a slow motion. I think that language is the main problem here. Quite often when she is unsure about something, she will agonise about how to ask the teacher about it. She will plan what to say and how to say it in Mandarin to the teacher before she goes to bed and when she gets home from school the next day, quite often I find that she did not eventually ask the teacher and then she would worry about it again in the night.
- Apart from her timid behaviour in class, she has done well in her studies. She is hardworking, completes all her homework, understands what is being taught in class, often gets good grades for her daily work and did well during the first term exam.
So now we are firmly in Chinese school and no turning back or switching now, only looking forward. Looking forward to more ways we can help her. Help her overcome her fears in school. Help her work on her self esteem and become more confident. Help her overcome the barrier she feels in school. Any good suggestions on how to do this would be most welcome.