A good teacher brings the best out from a child, stokes up the child’s interest and knows how to capitalize on the child’s strengths and interests. But a teacher who does not have an inkling of what child psychology is and always says discouraging and intimidating words to the child will only kill a child’s interest and traumatize a child. Remember I told you that Alycia was selected by her class teacher to attend calligraphy class about 2 months back? If she is good enough, she would be selected to represent her school in calligraphy competitions in future. Lately, Alycia had been telling me that she hated calligraphy classes. She kept telling me that the Chinese words were very difficult to write. On Tuesday, as I was telling her to bring her bag which she puts her calligraphy stuff out, she vehemently told me that she didn’t want to attend calligraphy class anymore. She was almost in tears and was begging me not to let her go anymore. This girl of mine is a very sensitive child, unlike Sherilyn who is stronger and more ‘thick skin’. Throughout dinner, my mil and I probed Alycia and tried to grill the truth out from her as to why she was so afraid to go to her calligraphy class. And throughout dinner, she was crying and begging us not to let her attend calligraphy class anymore. I knew instantly that she is hiding something from me. I kept asking her if she was beaten or harshly scolded by her teacher and she said no. But I knew she was not telling me the truth. If she would cry so terribly and beg me not to send her there, something really terrifying must be happening in class.
Finally after dinner when I was alone in the wet kitchen, Alycia told me the truth when I probed her again. She told me that her teacher said this to her in Mandarin : “if you can’t write nicely again, you don’t have to attend class anymore”! I was disappointed that her teacher had said such words to intimidate / threaten her. She had instilled so much phobia in a 6.5 year old child, so much that she was really traumatized to attend class again. After discussing with my mil, I wrote a letter to her class teacher to tell her that Alycia will not be attending calligraphy class anymore. When we meet Alycia’s teacher to collect her report card next month, we will highlight this matter to the teacher. I think it is wrong for the calligraphy teacher to say such things to a Primary 1 child. I remember my ballet teacher said similar things to me when I was 7 years old, that “if you can’t dance, don’t come anymore”. I too was scared to tell my mum and had a phobia of attending ballet classes. Finally I dropped out after 2 years of ballet classes.
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