Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tuition vs No Tuition

A minister ever mentioned before "Tuition is not needed under our education system"  She received backslash from parents who currently have mid to upper primary kids or who's kids have just completed their primary school years recently. Why not, make her do the silly Math questions? Why not make our Education Minister do too? 

So, do our kids need to have tuition or not? 

This is my take - only if the kid needs it. You know your child better, I still believe that parents are the best teachers. However, I'm aware that not many mummies can leave their jobs to be a SAHM. Also not many SAHM are not as crazy and pro-education like me who is very hands on.
It doesn't mean that kids who have tuition score better than those who do not.
And why did I sent my older girl to tuitions then? I held back certain subjects until a later time when I can't manage, then I outsource. And although my girl has tuitions, I still do work with her. Afterall she only gets to see her tutors once a week. I take over some things which I can coach her in, and if I can't - I taichi to the teachers. I believe to educate a child, we need a close teamwork with the teachers in school and at home. 

Having tuition takes up time. I've seen it for myself, with a younger kid and an older kid I've been struggling to manage time between the two. When I plan a tuition, it must blend well with the other kid. But if one teacher tells me I need to change a schedule - OMG! it's mad. I can't change!! If I had one kid to manage, probably it'll be easier for me. I have friends who start to laden their kids with tons of classes in Kindergarten. Poor kids, they'll be burnt out even before Primary 6. ( No wonder we have more suicidal kids; more problematic kids. ) Anyway, out of concern I tell my friends to cut down their kids' classes. But they tell me "No... it's absolutely necessary!" Okay, I keep my mouth shut.
When the child gets older, supp classes, SYFs, extra practices etc.. Poor child is exhausted. It has come to such an agony when I scream at my girl to quickly finish up her school homeworks. (I need to stress the 's') We practically live each day just doing homework ; tuition work. 

Without tuition, the child definitely saves up time. All she needs to do is non-interrupted time after school's late dismissal to do her work at home. And if she has time to revise - GOOD!

Many a times I told my girl, she's really lucky to have me around the house to teach her when she don't understand anything. I have a working mom who complains to me that she has no time to help her girl in her work. Many a times, she comes back home at 7+ and sees that her girl's school homework is not done. Her girl doesn't understand what's going on in school. Oh my! 
I did explain to my girl, tutor only comes once a week how is she suppose to wait for the tutor. That's what some SAHM or FTWM with tutors do. But I don't. I stupidly take the burden of explaining to her when I can use the time to blog; to bake; to read my books; to re-study Japanese; to make hairbows; to basically nuah in my bed or watch TV.

Hmm...... it seems like school work is being thrown to girls to do without explanation. They think all kids have tuition outside? High ability kids? Well, I'm sure no matter how high ability they are, kids will still have some questions they don't know how to do. If they knew, they shouldn't be here they should be in GEP. 
In this example, I'm sure parents will find having a tutor is a necessity.

Some parents with young kids ask me in jest "you sure need to have tuition or not? Don't the school teach?" 
I can't comment much about languages, coz' languages is not a rote learning subject. You either can speak well or not; you either can write well or not.

However for subject like Math. It's a debate-able subject every year "PSLE Math Paper is hard this year." The textbooks the kids use - yes they're tested. Apart from that, they're also tested on HTO questions which are not in the books. Who's that idiot who came up with 'a bee flying from Flower A to B and another bee flying from Flower B to A at a speed of xxx km/h. Then the bee stop somewhere and continue flying and blah blah blah'. If I see the bee, I'll surely whack it dead. No need to find out anything.  
So exposure to all these kind of questions, which usually take up 4-5 marks, is extra by the schools. In girls' school, they have different booklets for different tiers. Girl being in first tier, gets exposed to all the difficult questions. Some parents have been complaining over the years since our girls were in P3 that their kids were not exposed to those difficult questions so they kindda remain in the same class throughout the remaining years in school. So, is it fair to them? In that case, I feel having a tutor is necessary. A 1-1 is advised, going to those high notch high ability tuition centres will not help.    
I agree that banding classes is necessary. Imagine the poor teacher with varied capability students in the class struggling to go slow or fast in covering topics. And if a higher capable kid is not being challenged in the correct setting, will slack. I always remember the incident when che-che's P1 FT told me she knew everything was being taught and she was made to explain to the whole class. The whole class stared at her in bewilderment. Needless to say the teacher then realised why my girl always go into Lala-land in class. So, did I load her too soon? Is it my fault? Ehh.... I don't think so. 
Conclusion : 
Every parent must know what their child needs. Certain famous tuition centres may work for others but not your kid. It took me years to find a good English tutor for my girl. My girl like the Chinese tutor, maybe coz she's not strict? Hmm..... kids are the ones facing the teachers they must be comfortable with them. Teachers will not spare them either.     

Monday, April 7, 2014

PSLE then and now

Four months into the new year and I'm already so exhausted.

So, who's sitting for PSLE I wonder? I'm a repeat student 27 years later. The only difference is that I wasn't so bothered with grades. 

My mom is illiterate, the only subject she could teach me was Chinese. However, I only remember the ruler she used to whack me asking me to pay attention. 27 years later, I whack my kid to pay attention. Retribution! Then, grades wasn't that important afterall we have an affiliated secondary school. Moreover KC's reputation then wasn't so bad.

Somehow in between that lost time, I have no idea when Primary school became so different. I remember reading my then boyfriend's nephew kindy or was it primary work : (can't remember exact words but somewhere along this line)
My ______ is my father's brother. His ______ is my Aunty.
My cousin's _______ is my Aunty.

I was shocked.

Then fast forward few years later, I look at my girl's work. No more uncle; aunty; grandma thingy - thank God. But manageable for me, then came those ridiculous Math questions which we never did before. I studied alongside with her, I went for workshops. I challenged her. That nephew said it's really getting harder and harder this time round. However, things are just not the same anymore. 

Then, tuition was rarely heard of. We just struggled and study what is in the book.  If someone mentions he/she has tuition, we gasped in horror. He/she must be doing really bad in school.

Now, tuition centres and tuition teachers are making big bucks out of kiasu parents. Even the stellar students are not spared, parents wants them to get even better grades. 
I jumped into the bandwagon as well. I'm glad I have great teachers tutoring her at home and at the centres she goes. They're patient and give feedback to me regularly, I scold my girl if she ever made the teacher angry coz it shows that she wasn't paying attention. But then again, after a full day in school I wouldn't be surprised that she goes into Lala-land midway class. 

It was home after school, we were so carefree. We could play after school, watch TV programs. Then, our parents brought us out for jalan-jalan after school. My CCA was some library duties. I remember my "SSshh.. silence please." Telling the girls to keep quiet when my voice is much louder than theirs. Haha! I don't remember staying back for remedial or supp classes.

Kids have CCAs, and if they're in niche CCA - good luck!  
Poor kids have to stay back in school for supplementary classes then have tuitions, piano lessons....  Now, we still bring our kids out to shopping centres - that is for their tuitions.

Our parents not so bothered then.

It is important you get good results to get into a good secondary school

Parents continue working as per normal. It's only an exam what? What's the big deal?

Some take leave in the beginning of the year, some take leave few months before. Somehow 8 out of 10 would take leave. Every concern parent would know this is the ultimate exam to determine the child's next 4 years or 6 years.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Took these pictures off the vendor's website. I'm feeling so sad... my girl's last SYF with her Primary school.
Will she get to continue with Handbells next year? I hope so. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

SYF 2014 - Our girls

Che-che doing a Shelly's ring. Two bells in each hand
At Republic Poly. Photograph by courtesy of YL

The girls
Their previous CCA teacher, who has left the school, came to support them. So sweet of her!

SYF 2014 - The Bitches

The preceding months before SYF had been hectic. Therefore I'm glad the SYF is finally here, we can put a stop to going back to school for additional day.
CCA teacher called to ask me for help to the venue in the afternoon few days before, but I had to turn down their  request as I need to be in school to pick the lil' one. I'd go down from school to Republic Poly to support them, if I can get there in time. I offered my help in the morning.
Some other mummies came too, but it seems like they were only there to help their own kids. Hmm..... some people are just so self-centred. Nevertheless, YL and I work well as a team. *a round of applause* She did the hair, I did the make-up.
And when the girls were leaving, I realised no other mummy was there to help YL so I kindda hinted to the other mummies (who were taking a ride there) that they needed help. All of them are Bs.. they gave me a strange look; blinked their eyes and turned their heads away. If I shout "money on the floor", I bet those bitches would turn around and look at the floor. TMD!! Assholes! Don't ever let me see you again! Anyway, they aren't PVs at all. Thank God, the school don't need selfish people like them.
One of them even ask me sacrastically "so why aren't you helping out then?" Look bitch, I spoke nicely to everyone you don't have to come and question me. I should have told the bitch, my helicopter is waiting for me in the school rooftop, I need to fly out to Saudi Arabia to sign my oil business deal.
Anyway, I told her a valid reason that I have to pick my younger daughter in the school. That bitch is not only a bitch with no heart, she has no brains too! Her stupid proposal "Eh... if you trust me I can help you. I'll help you pick up your little girl then you can accompany them. You can come and pick her up later." I must be insane if I trusted her, a stranger, a bitch, a stupid woman. I was about to snap at her if she can recognize my daughter,  if my daughter would trust her, I don't think she'll even stay in school. And since she has no brains, I'm sure she will not have the onus to get lunch for my girl.
Wah....... 我长到这么大,从来没有看过一个像她这么笨的人 . Anyway, looking at how sloppy she is, she might even walk out of the school gate forgetting my girl. Then my poor girl will be traumatised.  
Anyway, YL said that those selfish bitches simply walked to watch the performances the moment they reach the destination. I'm surprised that the teachers asking for help, did they tell them they needed help? If they didn't, then they should know they shouldn't just depend on us two right? True, we will help when we can but if we're busy they need to have other parents coming in to help.  If they did inform them of the help required and those bitches ignore..... I believe in karma.
Cool down.... relax....... not worth getting angry with them.