Today I bribed the small brat. Cute as a button and can melt my heart when she is in her angelic mode, this brat can be a little monster when she is switched to devilish mode, spewing out the molten lava from my within through my nose, mouth, ears and all outlets in my body.
Though she is doing pretty well in her studies in school, she has an ‘attitude problem’, which is driving me NUTS! Something must have happened between her and her tutor and she started to dislike her Mandarin tutor recently. The brat will act up each time the tutor comes and this is DRIVING ME INSANE! Now, this Mandarin tutor is the nicest teacher I have met. Alycia loves this tutor and got along with her really well throughout the 5 years that she tutored Alycia. Cass and the tutor started off with a very cordial and chummy relationship since the beginning of time. Cass was about 5 years old when she joined her 2 sisters during Mandarin enrichment classes. When her syllabus got tougher as she progressed from pre-school to Primary 2, naturally the tutor had to increase the homework load. Coming from a family consisting of yellow banana parents, our girls are gravitated towards English. They speak in English at home, watch TV shows, listen to English songs and prefer reading English books. With so much influences from pop stars from the West, they are pretty much ‘westernized’.
It was the hubster’s idea of sending the girls to a Chinese school. I had already anticipated all the problems that would brew and crop up one by one should our girls be educated in a Chinese school and tried to change his mind 8 years ago, but the hubster stood his ground – only Chinese school. Period.
For a child coming from an English-speaking family with yellow banana parents, mastering the Chinese language will be tough – most of the time, as they are unable to receive much guidance from the parents. Naturally, our girls had a very tough time picking up the Chinese language since they were in pre-school. While spoken Chinese is still manageable as their grandma speaks in Mandarin with them whenever she is around, written Chinese is one of the toughest languages to master and they all struggled during the initial years. They are still struggling with Chinese writing. I personally find that whether a child can flourish in a Chinese school depends very much on the character of the child. Does the child possess the material to study in a Chinese school?
Alycia survived 6 years in a Chinese high prestige primary school (SBT) and breezed through it, though she had had many minor melt-downs during Mandarin tuition classes. She had a very good tutor who would entertain answering her questions sent via Whatsapp round the clock. Yes, I am referring to the same tutor. Alycia did not protest when her daddy was adamant in sending her to a Chinese independent high school (private). She is doing OK now. It is too soon to comment further as she is only in Junior High One.
For Sherilyn, she has a typical ‘kwai por’ or ‘Mat Salleh’ character. When she was younger, she used to tell us “I am an English girl, not a Chinese girl!” She would greet me “hey mum” (and she still does), reads only English books, watches English movies and listens to English songs and tells me “I HATE CHINESE SCHOOL!!” all the time. She even recites the times table in English though they are required to do so in Mandarin. She would morph into another person during Mandarin tuition classes. She gets so bored that she can snooze off during Mandarin tuition classes. She would find ways to stall time like faffing around pretending to look for things or pretend to have urges to use the bathroom. And now, the littlest one is just like Sherilyn during Mandarin tuition classes!! Monkey see monkey do. Which is why I feel SO stressed out lately whenever the Mandarin tutor comes. On bad days, she would refuse to cooperate with the tutor. This is when corporate punishment is meted out. I feel so harried by the two brats and I am sure the tutor feels the same.
When I run out of ideas to get the 2 brats to behave during Mandarin classes, I bribe them. I use threats and corporal punishment. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. It is easier to use bribes on the littlest brat. Today I bribed her with something that she really likes from my online store, which is some magic clay. And it worked. She behaved 90% well, which is a vast improvement compared to the previous class. I know my way of dealing with these 2 brats is not ideal. There could be some better ways. But I do not have the time and money to find a better solution. You may suggest finding another tutor who uses a different approach in teaching them or perhaps have a better chemistry with these 2 brats. But it is not easy to find another good tutor. I am very comfortable with the current tutor who is one of the nicest teachers around and her fees are very reasonable. Also, I know that a child cannot be compelled to like something which she naturally dislikes. This will backfire and have serious negative consequences. These 2 brats hate studying in a Chinese school but are compelled to.
I can’t rant out to the hubs for he will comment that I am harping on the same string again and again. And I can anticipate his replies to me. He is by nature a very happy-go-lucky person and does not place high expectations on academic achievements on his girls. He’ll be satisfied with mediocre marks and positions while I am the total opposite.
OK, enough of ranting. I just have to accept the ebb and flow of life of a mother with 3 head strong kids. My motherly instinct tells me that they will turn out well in future. And just like Lukas Graham sings – my mama said that it was OK. Mama said that it was quite alright.
My mama always tells me to let it go and chill… she was not pushy on my studies when I was young (and she was a teacher) and I still turned out fine now 🙂