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Thursday, June 23, 2011

First Punishment

My girl is in Std 3 and so far she has not been hit by teacher before. Most of her teachers carry a rotan or ruler but most of the time it is only to threaten, she says. However, some naughty boys may be punished with the cane.

My boy is in Std 1. Yesterday, after school he showed me his arm. It was red. I had to ask 101 questions before I could find out why he was hit by teacher. Either because he did not know how to explain it to me in words or because he didn't quite understand what happened. I suspect it is both.

Finally, I was able to figure it out after questioning him. It was because of his Chinese Writing work. Now, usually exercise books will be handed out if you get the writing all correct. Those who make mistakes will have to go to teacher to collect the books. The boy made a mistake. He forgot to include a stroke in one of the Chinese Characters. So his book was not returned to him.

However, he did not realise that. He was still searching for his book when teacher called him to the front. "Why didn't you come to collect your book? You waiting to be called?" *Smack* Hit by ruler. She must have hit rather hard too because his arm was red till evening.

I asked him whether anyone else got hit. He said,  yes, one other boy because he made a lot of mistakes.

Well, that is his first punishment for something really minor I would say ie forgetting to collect the book back from teacher.

I really feel very bad for him. It is my fault for not preparing him well enough with his spoken Chinese Language. That is why he sometimes gets into situations like these... because he simply does not understand what is going on. He also has less friends because he can't interact with some of the other children who speaks Mandarin well.

So far he has not attended any Chinese tuition but I am wondering whether he needs it. It is still ok at Std 1 but what about later. Will he have trouble because his basic foundation is not good? I know his Math is very good but when I see how he does it, I know that he gets away by not reading the questions in Chinese. He merely picks up a few keywords and tries to do but he does not fully understand the questions in Chinese. I think he can get away with this in Std 1 but later on it will be hard for him.

I feel frustrated sometimes not being able to coach or guide the kids in Chinese. Sometimes I go like this....

"Ok.. so and so has 3 sets of don't know what book. His friend , don't know what name, never mind, don't worry about the name. When you compare him with his friend, he has 2 sets of this type of book less than his friend. How many books does his friend have?"

With a teacher like that, no wonder he ends up just picking keywords and not fully understanding the question. *Shakes head*


  1. I'm sorry to hear that. Not too long ago I read a similar situation on another mom blog - her son got smacked for spelling mistakes. And, the school is where I intend to send my son to. It troubles me to read all these. I'm really thinking twice or thrice now whether I should send him to a Chinese school. We don't know nuts about Chinese and if I send him to a Chinese school, I'd definitely have to get him a tutor. I feel that it's quite terrible to cane or smack kids over such petty things. In fact, I feel it's wrong. The Chinese school system is stifling in that way and now I really don't know what to do. I don't want to make a mistake in choosing a school for him. I'm troubled.

  2. mom2kiddos,
    If you had read my blog from earlier, you will know how I agonized over the choice of school for my kids. I worried about it and could not decide right up to the first day of school. Haha. So don't worry about this post. This is only one incident and we are half way through the first term. :) I will bring it up to teacher when I see her but I will not make a fuss. So far, apart from the crazy homework load, I am happy with my choice and the kids seem happy too. They go to a good school with good facilities and hardworking, committed teachers. All I need to do is balance off all that hard work at school with my own recreational time at home.

  3. I don't understand why people send their kids to Chinese school to be traumatized at such a young age.

    It's truly ridiculous to cane the kids for something so stupidly unimportant. I would not send my kids to school to be abused by someone who obviously knows nothing about child psychology.

  4. Poor boy. Got smacked for something soooo unimportant. I can u'std when they use cane to discipline, but then some tend to abuse its usage.
    Oh, I thot we were the oni weird ones who're undecided up till the 1st day of sch. :D Finally decided to send ah girl to a Keb sch. Now another 1.5 yrs to decide for ah boy. hehehe

  5. Anon,
    For lack of a better choice. Anyway, this is only the first such incidence in half year of schooling and the boy does not look in the least bit traumatised by it. :) As long as we the parents provide the correct balance at home, the children will be fine. My other daughter has been in Chinese School for 2 1/2 years now and she has never been caned before.

  6. slavemom,
    That is the danger of allowing canes in school isn't it? The risk of abuse. Not that the teachers are bad but they too are human. Even at home with just 2, sometimes you can lose control and feel like smacking, what more if you have to control 40-50?

  7. I still don't understand why teacher want to cane for such a small mistake. That is one of the reasons why I don't want to send them to Chinese school.

  8. Jeriel is fortunate to have his teacher who don't simply use cane. So far Jeriel didn't get any cane even though he always day dreaming in the class...

  9. Hi MG,

    I think it is not a matter of whether it is a Chinese school or not. I am sure such things happened at National schools as well as private schools and kids do not tell if there are no tell tale signs of being caned ;).

    Sometimes, as parents, we can be over-protective BUT that is good and part of being a good parent.

    However, as you said, teachers are humans too and due to moods, situations, etc ... things can get a bit out of hand esp when it comes to discipline in class with too many kids esp in Malaysian schools.

    The only matter to discuss with the teacher involved is that she or he should not have caned so hard such that there is a marking that last for days (personal experience).

    I am very sure the very act of caning lightly would have terrified the child let alone being cane too hard - as the act of light caning is a good punishment by itself.

    One other thing is that the actual situation will not be known unless the parent talk to the teacher involved. Kids being kids cannot relate well if they themselves are at fault for being michievious, careless, talkative, etc ... . So best to get both sides of the story ;P.

    Personally, I think it will be good for you to send your son for Chinese tuition as the case with mine. They need to build up their vocabulary just like other languages such as English or Bahasa Malaysia.

    Math is not just about computation BUT also understanding the question in order to solve the problem. Do send him even if it is only 1 class per subject per week. I am sure it will help him a lot ;P.

    Have a good day.

  10. Michelle,
    The kebangsaan school near my house is not ideal. Why, I went to visit there but even the teacher whom I spoke to looked at me strangely and asked me why I am not sending my kid to Chinese School. If the teacher does not believe in the school itself, who will? Anyway, I was back in Penang during CNY and met up with old classmates. Many of them send their children to kebangsaan schools. Strangely, I find they have many more good kebangsaan schools there then we have here at the Klang Valley. Maybe that is why many opt for Chinese Schools instead.

  11. chanelwong,
    Haha. I wonder what my boy does in class. He is tall so he sits right at the back. Lots of opportunity to daydream! lol.

  12. Hello Greg,
    You are right. It is not a matter of school. In fact, I find that the Chinese school my kids go to now is more lenient than my kebangsaan school then. Our attire, self-grooming, books etc had to be tip top or else.... but not for my kids. Their books have elephant ears (not dog ears) on all the pages!

    I don't think the caning (with a ruler) is a big issue but since I am seeing the teacher soon, might as well just casually mention it. Like you said, there are 2 sides to a story. It only is an issue if the child becomes scared of school etc. My boy is happy as a lark. :)

    I intend to ask the teacher about whether he needs extra help with his Chinese.

    Actually he managed to get 98 for his Chinese Writing test and 92 for his Chinese Understanding. It is the conversation part I am worried about. :)

  13. I was in Kebangsaan primary school and was caned on the 2nd day of school, by a Chinese teacher in std 1. One girl cried and accused me hitting her (I did not touch her k!). Without probing, the feather duster cane landed on my arm. I also kena caned (wooden ruler) in Std 3 and Std 5…all by Chinese teachers, over very small matter like “talking”. I think it’s the Chinese that often use cane....my mom too.

    I agree with Greg that unless the teacher caned hard or abused their authority, canning lightly it's not an issue for me too. That's why it's very important for the child to open up to parents and also for parents to communicate with the teacher.

    I shared my "kena cane" stories with my friends, and one by one will tell how they were being punished in schools too...Then everyone laughed about it, forgotten the pain, fear and humiliation at that point of time... OUR "Bad Experiences"

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not PRO-CANE, k.

    The sister can practise spoken Mandarin with the brother??

  14. Annie,
    We usually go to the sister for help. :) Only, that means we're constantly distracting her from her tonnes of work!

  15. Annie,
    Come to think of it, I never kena cane before in school but I had my hair cut my the HM before in early secondary school. That was scary and humiliating!

  16. this is one of the things which i am afraid of. my girl will be going to a Chinese school next year and despite being in a Chinese kindy for 1.5 years, she still doesn't understand Mandarin. We don't know how to speak Mandarin so we couldn't help her at home.

    I don't understand why the teachers have to hit the children. I was slapped by a teacher when I was in Std 3 and I still remember it till this day. Rather traumatizing :( Can't they find another way of disciplining the kids?


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