I had a call from #5’s Chinese teacher, Huang Laoshi. I was just thinking to myself how lovely it was that I have not heard from her the whole year and it’s already August. Things must be under control. Alas. It was not to be.
She started by telling me that he had failed the recent mini test. She sounded rather apologetic, and said that in primary 2, the speed is picking up and as he has a weak foundation in Chinese, he is not able to cope. She feels that he has reached a point where he is almost giving up and she has no choice but to inform me so that we can work this out together.
I told her that I was actually very surprised that I’ve not heard from her until now, as last year, his Chinese teacher was actively whatsapp-ing me every other week to get me on-board in ensuring his homework was completed and tests revised. Huang Laoshi explained to me that at the start of the year, she had already spoken to their P1 Chinese teacher and found out who were the weaker students. She has been monitoring him and providing him with extra guidance as she heard that I had quite a few kids and figured I was too busy to coach him.
She told me that when she allows him to bring home his unfinished homework, it never comes back. She has taken to printing extra sets of worksheets for him and when he says that he has lost it, she whips out a new piece and gets him to do it there and then. Wow. I was touched. Most teachers would spend time berating him, punishing him or getting him to go home and look for it, but she is totally unfazed and concentrates on working around his problem.
There is really not much more I can ask of a teacher and I truly admire Huang Laoshi’s perseverance and love for her students. She tells me that with such a shaky foundation, it will be an uphill battle in the coming years and she is very worried for him. I can hear her passion and concern for #5 and I honestly think she is more worried for his Chinese than I am!
|No box? No prob. #2 to the rescue|
This year, besides being grateful for Huang Laoshi, we would also like to specially thank 5 other teachers.
To Mrs K, their English tutor, for not only teaching them English, but also imparting values along the way. And for making the effort to learn their likes and dislikes so that she can tailor the lessons to them and make them enjoyable.
To Mrs Lachman, #3’s English and Science teacher, who is always motivating them to do better so that they can reach their full potential. She is a very tough task master who never accepts anything but their best. #3 disliked her immensely in the beginning of the year as she is extremely strict and stern. However, through her remarkable efforts in teaching them, she managed to pull #3 up from 20/100 to an A for Science. And along the way, she managed to earn her students’ respect and cooperation. She is now #3’s favourite teacher.
To Mrs T, #1’s ‘A Math’ teacher, for opening her house to them on a Sunday to give them some extra help in preparation for their ‘O’ level exams.
To #2’s relief teacher, Mr Lim, who was the only teacher who ever allowed them to eat during his lessons (the food they cooked at home econs class) so that it wouldn’t go bad by the time they reached home. It’s simple things like that which made the students realise that we can be kind and humane even within constrains.
And a very, very special thanks to their aunt, who has been tutoring the 3 of them in their PSLE year (and 3 more to come!). She willingly accepts such a tough job and gives of her time and best efforts, yet refusing any payment.