I had an appointment to meet Cass’ class teacher this morning. It’s not a good thing when you’re called to see your kid’s teacher. I was actually expecting to be called to meet the class teacher as Cass has changed a lot lately. Negatively. She is almost totally opposite from what she used to be just a year ago~ her attitude especially. I feel like I have lost a part of my baby girl who used to tug at my heartstrings. I really miss how Cass used to be when she was younger. Instead, she’s now morphed into my most challenging child to deal with. I know she may be partially influenced by the friends whom she mingles with and partly, it’s a transition from being a little girl to a tween. Blame it on the raging hormones too? She can still be the sweet little thing that melts my heart when she’s in a good mood. But most of the time, she likes to have things done her way. Always her way, hardly ever mine. Blame it on her headstrong DNA too.
At the meeting today, I asked Ms L (Cass’ class teacher) whether it’s only Cass who is facing problems with her Chinese language subject and issue with her attitude and what do I know? I was told by Ms L that many of the students in her class are like this since the start of this year! She said that from her experience as a teacher, some children start to change at age 10. As they reach their double digit birthdays, they find that they have found their new freedom and want to have their voice heard; no more a yes-girl or yes-boy who listens to almost everything that teacher or mummy says. They find that they have stronger bargaining power and like to test our patience till it breaks. Ms L said that she is also feeling stressed out by the changes in these students, the majority of which has been with her since Primary 2.
I was shocked to hear from Ms L that the top scorer boy is also facing similar issues as Cass. To me, this boy looks like the trophy kid who is a good kid, smart and obedient. But since this year, he’s changed too. The more Ms L tells me about some of the students, the more I get to solve the mystery on why my baby girl has changed lately. Cass sounds just like her classmates! Monkey see, monkey do. Birds of a feather flock together, yeah? I was totally unexpected when she told me that I am not the only parent that she has called to meet lately. She has been meeting other parents as well on their children’s deteriorating grades, progress and attitude.
Maybe all 10-year olds go through this phase? Or maybe kids from the top class start to change at this age? I don’t know. But I am relieved that Cass is not the only kid who has changed into a wilful and argumentative kid who challenges me mentally, emotionally and physically all the time.
Judging on the amount of effort (or totally lack of!) that Cass had put into preparing for her current exam, I was expecting her position to be ‘the bottom ten’. Or rock bottom. But Ms L informed me otherwise. There are some kids in the class who did worse off than Cass. I shall wait patiently for the report card 🤨
Ms L also informed me that the BM papers in this exam were tough and many students from other classes flunked. No wonder that brat came back with her BM papers with marks so shocking I almost had an atrial fibrillation. I really felt a few missing heart beats with a chocking feeling seeing her test papers. The cause for the dismal grades is lack of communication in BM in school and at home as well as lack of interest on the part of the student to read BM books. Ms L confirmed this and this is happening rampantly in the school.
Ms L has been Cass’ class teacher for three years. Being a teacher in the so-called best class, naturally, she sets higher expectations on these students. Ms L is competitive in nature, is a no-nonsense person and a very caring and helpful teacher. She’s truly a gem of a teacher and a shining example of what a good teacher should encompass. Cass is really blessed to have such a good teacher.
After my long chat with Ms L that lasted almost an hour, I felt relieved that my fiery little creature is not the only student having issues with her grades and attitude. Yet, I have to find ways to deal with my pre-teen wilful child to bring the best out of her and to nip the bud of her problems.
Recently, a relative of mine with 3 successful working adult children told me that ‘naughty’ and strong-willed children will grow up to be successful leaders, earning higher salaries than the ‘obedient’ kids. That sort of gives me solace that it’s not that bad having strong-willed children with strong opinions on everything from choice of clothing to bedtime to what goes onto their plates.
Being a parent is never easy. I am learning everyday. Some days are shitty while some days are pure bliss. To me, bliss means children who are obedient, good health for myself and my children and peace at home. That’s not a lot to ask for from God, eh? Hopefully…
Cass playing board games with E, her 12-year old cousin from Hong Kong. E and his mum are in town for a holiday.
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