Friday, July 03, 2009
Surviving Singapore School Week 1
Picture above was taken on Monday, right after Sean's first day at his Singapore school. Sean left Singapore when he was 2 and has never been to any school or enrichment programme in Singapore. He's been to a German pre-school, a Montessori school in London, a British prep school and in Moscow, an IB international school.
I can't quite believe it but the little fella survived a whole week in school. Because of H1N1, my promise to him to be in school for him the first week couldn't be fulfilled. I was not allowed to hang around in school, in fact, he was whisked away from me the morning of the first day and I didn't see him again till school was over.
Every single day of his first week, he cried in school, for various reasons, mostly when he feels lost and doesn't know what to do. Thankfully, the frequency of his mini-meltdowns dropped from as high as 3-times a day to a low of just once by Friday.
I have to say I've been mighty impressed by how committed the boys' teachers are. On Monday, Sean's teacher contacted me and said she felt so sorry that Sean was crying, and that she had only known he was joining her class that very morning. She also wanted to know Sean's ability level so she could provide the appropriate challenge for him. And even after talking to her, she still wanted to meet me the next day, explaining that it would be good for Sean if I walked him to the classroom myself and stayed for a while so he'll feel better. Very thoughtful, methought. She seems like a very firm teacher who understands little boys well.
The teacher assured me that he'll be much better as he gets to know the routine and the school better. True enough, by mid-week, he had already told the teacher he did not need his buddy to take him to the toilet. By Friday, he went to his day-end meeting place with Brian by himself too. The school is really big and the walk from his class to the meeting place is quite confusing, so I think he's finally got his bearings right.
On Thursday, she called me again, assuring me that things are progressing well and also to provide me some other information. She started the conversation with this, "Your son is very cute...At 1230, he comes to me and says, Can I go home now...? I'm tired." So typical Sean! He seems very comfortable with her, and she says he asks her lots of questions. For now, he's still eager to go to school and is always up by 6am, well before me and Brian drag ourselves out of bed, on a couple of days he woke up even before my mum!
Brian's English teacher too called me on Monday, to introduce herself, to find out more about him and to let me know what she'd be doing this term. She sounded young, enthusiastic and speaks excellent English (it's not a given that Singapore English teachers speak the language well). She later emailed me a bunch of powerpoint slides and documents she had sent earlier in the year to parents.
While Sean has little to no homework, Brian's been doing tonnes of homework daily. We did manage to sneak in a movie outing on Thursday afternoon, but with swimming lessons and Chinese tuition slotted into his busy week as well, it was only after school on Friday that he finally had a breather to play his guitar.
What a world of difference from schooling overseas. We're chugging along fine for now. Fingers' crossed for a better week ahead. At least there are just 4 days, so in my books, that's already 20% better :)