Tuesday, June 16, 2015

JJ's Report Card

It's been some years since the last time I went to JJ's school to collect her report card. She was still in primary school then. Well, JJ is in Form 1 now and the time has once again come for parents to appear in school to collect their children's report cards.

Usually, I'm just the back-up parent as far as collecting the report card is concerned. Mia has always been the one who's obsessed with seeing "A"s on JJ's report card. But yesterday, she was too tight up at the office. So daddy received a call from JJ, saying that unless one of the parents appear in person to collect the report card, the pupil shall not be allowed to enter the class!

I saw myself at Lok Yuk at about 3pm. In fact that's the first time I went to Lok Yuk; I reckon that is a record in itself because it's been about half a year before I finally made my very first visit to JJ's school! I had to wait for a bit before I was able to see the teacher. 

The first thing I asked her was about the strange policy of not allowing the pupils to enter class until the parents come to collect the report cards. Apparently, the majority of parents "don't have the time to collect the report cards", leaving the school with no choice but to come up with such a drastic policy!

Then we moved on to the main agenda, which was of course JJ's report card. Let me just say that she had an A only for English, but the rest of the subjects ranging from B, C and D; and even F for Chinese and Kemahiran Hidup. If these were the results during Primary 6, Mia would have fainted. But we have decided that this year and next year are the "honeymoon" years for JJ. I'm a little concerned that her maths got C, since I consider the subject as the easiest among all. I will need to look into that!

JJ, like most other girls, is not very keen to use her brain to think; she is not generally a problem solver. The modern education system trains the kids to memorize rather than understand. And if there is an easier way to arrive at the answer, even without understanding why or how, JJ would be satisfied anyway. 

I was spinning on my bike in the living room a couple of days ago, and was watching Man, Cheetah, the Wild on Astro. JJ was also watching grudgingly while waiting for daddy to finish, because she wanted to see her comedy shows. The documentary followed the life of a cheetah and her five cubs; and it said that in the wild, only 20% of the cubs will survive to reach adulthood. I turned to JJ and asked her, out of the 5 cubs, how many will become adult cheetah? She looked up to the ceiling and seemed to calculate in her head, but then failed to come up with an answer. Then she used the calculator on her phone and told me the correct answer. It is scary to think that JJ is developing into a typical Malaysian kid—how is she gonna survive out there in the job market? It's not too late yet, but it seems like Mia and I will have to intervene soon.

Last night, I left Mia alone with the report card so that she could digest whatever information therein. And then this morning I thought we should discuss what to do about JJ. Accordingly, I raised some key issues through WhatsApp. As  you already know, these days, spouses and family members can have discussions only through facebook or WhatsApp. But anyway, the consensus is that we will stick to the plan of Form 1 and 2 as the "honeymoon" years, with the exception of beefing up her maths. As for her Chinese which she was only able to score 18% (I thought the teacher wrote that figure with the report card turned upside-down by mistake), we will leave her be.

Another thing of interest is the so-called "merit system". Students are continuously assessed and points awarded or deducted on account of wide-ranging headings such as behaving well in school, able to submit assignments on time, interaction with other students etc. Well, right now JJ has a negative score, and it's mainly because she has difficulties in doing well in her Chinese subject. I'm not planning to intervene for the moment.

I don't think it's necessary to send JJ for maths tuition. I haven't been doing school maths for some 30 years now, but I should still be able to handle basic algebra. Looks like I will have to discuss further with Mia how to draw up a timetable for daddy and JJ to do maths together. So I guess it's time for WhatsApp again...

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