Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mountains Ahead

JJ received her report card on Tuesday. The good news is, she didn't get first, just as I had expected. So we don't have to buy her a kitten after all. In St James, she'd probably need to get something like at least 99% average score to have a shot at the top of the class. Well, JJ only managed an average of 94.75%, so she was only able to edge a bit from 8th to 7th in her class. However, when taking the entire primary 1 students into account, JJ got 52nd from a little over 200 students. Still a lot of room for improvement. Overall, I'm happy to note that JJ had improved from 20th during her first exams up to 7th.

Her mommy though is getting all worked up about JJ still not achieving at least top 5 in her class. Quite honestly, I don't know why all the excitement. 94.75% is perfectly fine as far as I am concerned. If she can keep her grades above 90% I would be a very happy daddy. But of course if she can get into the top 5 in her class with that score, that would be even better!

Many of my friends who really know me would know that I am not particularly concerned about brilliant exams results. I'm not saying it's not a good thing. If my child can achieve 100% in her exams, I would be pleased. However, experience have taught me that not all of these brilliant kids can do well when they finally reach the job market. The practical aspect has more or less been left out from the education systems. Quite often those who didn't do too well in school can end up becoming more successful when they leave school.

If I can develop the thinking habit in JJ, I would consider that as more of an achievement than, say, 12 As in the SPM, though again if she can also get those 12 As, that would be nice too.

Today, Mia went to JJ's school to buy some new books for next year, i.e. primary 2. And this evening, after completing her run at the gym, she rushed home, had dinner and shower; and then embarked on scrutinising what's in store for JJ in primary 2.

When I went in for a bath, Mia was already comfortably sitting in bed with all the books around her. By the time I got out of the bathroom, Mia was already prepared to report her findings to me. If at the beginning of this year (primary 1) her main concern was Chinese—and Chinese was the subject that pulled JJ down to 20th in class during the first term—this time it seems that the major concern is with Bahasa Malaysia (BM).

Mia is a bit worried after reading a few pages of JJ's text book. She said the standard is just too high for primary 2. She read some paragraphs aloud and kept shaking her head. I have a feeling that Mia won't be able to help JJ very much in BM. For a person like Mia who's Malay is quite comical at times, I can imagine why she's worried. I mean, her standard is so low to the extent of translating "big shame" to "besar kemaluan" in Malay. So you can understand what she's feeling now.

I foresee that I will be spending a bit of time to help JJ with her BM next year. Luckily I know the language as if it's my first language. I am very much at home with BM. But I can expect that JJ will be struggling because she has very little foundation in the language. That's probably because we've been speaking almost exclusively English with her since she started to talk, and then a bit of Mandarin when she started school.

So JJ has a lot of work to do in Primary 2. Perhaps extra tuition classes can also help. And beyond that there will be many more mountains to scale in the years ahead.

In the mean time, Mia has already embarked on finding the best formula for JJ to break into the top 5 in class. And I am constantly reminding her not to make this about her. Let's not forget that we want JJ to do well in her studies, first and foremost, for herself—not for us. We're only here to help if we can. Mia said that goes without saying. But why am I not convinced?


Sarah Elizabeth said...

Your an excellent father. Let's hope you can keep your wife from pushing JJ too hard? lol good luck! :)

Cornelius said...

Thanks a lot, Sarah, for your compliments.

But I think I haven't seen the least of it yet! Somehow I have a feeling that I'm being an "excellent father" because JJ has been helping me to be one.

Wait till she start getting into trouble, skipping classes and mixing with the wrong kids, doing badly in school, and doing drugs (because she wants to experience that before she dies) etc. That would be the real test of whether I'm an "excellent father" or not.

But hopefully, if I'm careful enough to instill in her the sense of pride and respect for herself, it won't get to that extent.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

And yes, of course I have to watch Mia like a hawk too.