I started this post earlier, then other things got in the way, such as bring-home-work and kids-needing-Daddee stuff, and Daddee needing sleep stuff so that Daddee can bring more bring-home-work for Hot Mummee to complain about!
So how was your weekend?
Mine was fairly interesting.
Saturday morning was when Caitlin’s school scheduled the year’s first parent teacher meeting; the weekend before the week-long school holiday. After that there was a lunch appointment organised by my dad for my 3 nieces; which my eldest brother didn’t attend. Then, it was all the way to the KL International Airport to send off these kids- I shouldn’t call them that anymore; but which the same brother couldn’t “avoid”, nor be devoid of emotion either (the reason why he skipped lunch).
If you had been “following” since this year, you’d know the story behind why Caitlin jumped Pre-2 and went straight from Pre-1 to Pre-3 pre-school, and to a whole new language medium for her too. At that time we knew that the first parent-teacher meeting would also be time for evaluating this decision and Caitlin’s progress.
Throughout the last couple of months you’d also know that Caitlin had some problem with school. That seemed to be a cause-effect of unfamiliar with a particular teacher’s methods thus lagging behind in her schoolwork, leading to a general but persistent “I don’t wanna go to school” worry for us- this is her second year in school and the whole of last year there were absolutely no problems, right from day 1.
So Hot Mummee and I went to the meeting; being somewhat familiar with the whole event already after last year. Last year it was generally discussions surrounding her motor skills of writing and colouring, not knowing her ABC’s well enough, and generally a stickybeek in class! ie nothing major. This time though, after having seen Caitlin teary about going to school given her almost perfect record last year, we were somewhat weary that perhaps the teachers would have more-than-negative things about the last only 2+ months.
Caitlin has been able to keep up with the older kids and syllabus
We met with the 2 teachers, as usual- last year too we met with the class teacher, and the additional Mandarin-class teacher. This time, since she is actually in a Mandarin medium class, there was no extra class. The teachers were/are the class teacher (who teaches everything in Mandarin) and the Bahasa Malaysia & English teacher.
They both shared the same sentiment, with the latter having only that to share and that Caitlin’s writing needs more practice in that her letters are not uniform in sizes.
I don’t fault her for that, after all she’s only been doing her last-year’s homework in box-lined paper, not horizontal-lined (notes) paper. This is the first time she’s had to write between the lines.
The class teacher, Teacher Rachel however, being the one with the most contact hours with the children and thus closer, had more to share.
She assured us that Caitlin’s slow start to the year has passed now- that she is coping just as well as the others who are up to 2 years older (remember this being Pre-3 when Caitlin ought to be in Pre-2, and that she is a November child).
Caitlin is also the stickybeek that she was, and she is well received by her new-this-year peers, and Caitlin is therefore comfortable, now.
I have to hand it to teachers like Teacher Rachel. These are the rare teachers who genuinely care for their students. In our meeting she was advising how we ought to spend more time with our kids; that Caitlin only mentions me and little of HM. She knows that these are days of double-income households but we should prioritise our time for our kids. She cited Caitlin’s classmate as an example of neglect. The child is somewhat defiant and rude, and not all that close to the parents.
Teacher Rachel also shared how Caitlin’s general development is going. My takeaway from this meeting was largely that Caitlin has adjusted well largely due to Teacher Rachel’s efforts. Caitlin’s peers are aware that she is younger than them. Teacher Rachel has addressed this very well with the class, making them understand that she is in fact younger and sometimes requires a little more attention. Attention in a little less homework, but that HM and I quite quickly suggested otherwise- Caitlin can handle it. Caitlin’s peers have also jointly praised her new jacket (of grey with bright coloured polka dots) with Teacher Rachel (spurred on by her?) making Caitlin very happy showing up in class these days.
This is confirmed when I ask Caitlin if her friends are nice, in trying to ascertain her reasons for “I don’t wanna go to school”. It’s never been about her friends.
The highlight for me was when Teacher Rachel shared her surprise at Caitlin’s maturity just a few days before the meeting:
Caitlin was aware that I had signed the form indicating that we’d be attending this meeting that weekend. At school, she handed the form to Teacher Rachel.
Later, she went up to Teacher Rachel on the pretense of showing her her new pencil case.
“Nice or not?”
Inches towards Teacher Rachel, elbow to elbow now.
“What are you going to tell my Mummee ah?”
So anyway, that’s why I was kinda rushing the bring-home-work in order to still catch some school-holidays with Caitlin before the week is out…
Oh I will have to come back about the other events of the weekend another time!