primary 1

Preparing for Primary One- From Teacher Sarah’s Desk[Guest Post]

Primary 1 series 2012

 

handshake

Dear Parents,

I know that sending your first child into primary school can be an emotional experience- not just for your child, but for you.

Moms, if you feel the urge to cry because your baby is going out into a big, new and strange world, it is perfectly fine. I think sometimes we moms cry and fret more when our children have to embark on a new phase in life.
Cry all you want but try not to let your child see your tears.

What he needs most is to know you are 101% confident and positive that he will just fly in school. Your joy and encouragement will be his strength.
Because there are just so many new activities and experiences unique to primary school life, you may very quickly find that you don’t exactly know what is happening in school, with your child or even what to expect next.
However you should also know that you don’t have to walk this journey alone. Your child’s teachers will be a great asset and help on this new journey.

So I would like to share some tips on how you can partner your child’s teachers more effectively.

#1:Make the form teacher your greatest ally.

She holds the primary key to helping you understand what school and classroom expectations are of your child. If you need to know what your son is up to during recess, or why he didn’t bring home his new pencil case, your best bet is to ask the form teacher.

But because teachers can be very busy people, you want to be sensitive and not appear like a kiasu bloodhound with your concerns.

So how do you get your teacher to be your ally without getting on her nerves?

#2:Ask the teacher for her preferred communication mode and best times to contact her.

By asking the teacher what is the best way you can contact her to clarify concerns , you are showing the teacher that you are aware of her busy schedule and are considerate of her time. It also gives you the best shot at getting the answers you need.

#3: Provide the teacher with your preferred contact details and times as well.

This helps you avoid the unpleasant cat-and-mouse chase with teachers when important issues crop up.

  #4: Be polite and professional at all times – even when you are upset and feel you have every right to be.

Let’s face it. School days will have many great days but also totally terrible ones. And there will be times that you may feel your child’s teachers have failed in their duties. Even then, please remember to keep your emotions in check while communicating with the teacher.

Do always give the teacher the first opportunity to explain herself and her actions instead of running to the Head of Department, Principal or Ministry of Education. Unless you feel that your communication with the teachers are non-productive after several attempts, and you need more help from the school, then approach the school management like the HODs, Vice-Principal or Principal.

Here is a suggestion on how you can deal with unpleasant situations that involves a teacher or your child in school.

Scenario: Child comes home and complains that his teacher scolded him for something he did not do and for calling him ‘naughty’. You feel you must talk to the teacher. How should you approach the teacher?
A suggested line of action:

First ask your child to describe the event in detail. Ask questions to clarify your own understanding of the situation. Avoid asking closed-ended questions like ‘Did your teacher call you naughty?’. Instead, ask open-ended questions like ‘What were you doing? What did she say to you?’

Just be aware that 6 and 7-year-olds do not always have the right vocabulary to describe situations and emotions fully.

When you call the teacher, state the situation matter-of-fact and avoid using emotionally-charged language e.g. Tim came home yesterday and said he was scolded during English lesson. I would like to find out what exactly happened. (Let the teacher recount the event for you before ask more questions or attempt to explain to .)

Instead of saying ‘Is it true you called him naughty?’ , say ‘My son told me he was scolded in class today. May I understand what actually happened?’

 #5. Be willing and open to feedback- positive or otherwise.

This is probably one of the most challenging aspects of a parent’s job. It is also true for a teacher.   Giving positive feedback is always the easier part of the deal since every one loves to hear the good stuff.  But when the feedback about the child isn’t all that nice, it can get uncomfortable for you and the teacher. .
Sometimes we may even encounter teachers who lack tact and use phrases that sound more offensive than intended. And often, we cannot help but feel like the negative behaviour of our children is a reflection of our parenting abilities.

However I would like to encourage you to moderate your emotions, refrain from getting personal or defensive and try to maintain a positive attitude.  f you tell yourself that the teacher has the best interest of your child at heart, it would be easier for you to distil the vital information about your child’s weaker areas that you will need to help him work on.

Here are some suggestions on how you can handle negative feedback :

– Ask the teacher as many questions as you need to understand your child’s behaviour e.g. How often has it been observed? When and how does this behaviour been observed?

– Seek to understand the teacher’s concerns and how she is managing the child’s negative behaviour in the classroom e.g.How does she think it is affecting the child? Why does the teacher think the child is behaving in such a manner? What does the teacher expect of the child in that situation? What has the teacher done to manage the misbehaviour in those instances?

– Get the teacher’s suggestions on how you can support the school’s efforts in developing the child and correcting the behaviour e.g. What can I do on the home-front ? How shall we work together to help my child improve in this area?

I believe that every teacher will appreciate a communicative and friendly parent. You don’t need to be best pals with the teachers. Just being courteous and approachable will go a long way in helping you build a good relationship with the
people who will bear significant influence on your child’s life.

Here’s wishing you and your child a great start on the primary school journey. If you do have any questions about dealing with tricky or thorny teacher and school issues, I would be glad to help you out any way I can. Just drop me an email at
sarah (dot) wong (at) ThePlayfulParents (dot) com.

 

 Sarah is a former public school teacher in primary school. After leaving the civil service, she has taught drama and literacy to a wide range of students from preschoolers to teens, and in diverse educational settings including schools and private education providers.

She now runs a full-fledged domestic circus where she juggles her multiple roles as mom, wife, teacher, writer and edupreneur. The three males in her life keep her hands busy and heart full. Whenever sanity and time permits, she can be found at The Playful Parents. Join her in her impossibly playful missions if you believe that parenting and life ought to be full of joy!

 

 

In the next installment I will feature a Q and A segment which I had with some parents.

Post in this series

  1. Preparing for Primary One (The 2nd time around)
  2. Preparing for Primary One- Doggie Boy Style (Mental Preparations)
  3. Preparing for Primary One- Doggie Boy Style ( Physical Preparations)
  4. Preparing for Primary One – Looking back at Primary One [ Guest Post]
  5. Preparing for Primary One- Preparing yourself Mentally as a Parent
  6. Preparing for Primary One- A look through The Eyes of a Mom [Guest Post]
  7. Preparing for Primary One- From Teacher Sarah’s Desk [Guest Post]
  8. Preparing for Primary One-Questions and Answer Round Up

 

Preparing for Primary One – A look through The Eyes of a Mom

Primary 1 series 2012

In this installment of the Preparing for Primary One series we are  interviewing having Suhanya , a mom  of a boy who is currently in Primary One.

Here are the questions which I posed to her and her answers.

1. How did you decide on which school to send your child?

( Distance, Alumni, School History)

Personally, I wanted him to go to one of the good neighbourhood schools with my priority to the school which would develop him as a person as well give importance to academics as he has been quite good at it from the beggining. Over all I wanted him to go a school, nearer to home, one of the better ones in the neighbourhood where there will be well rounded development for him.

I had 3 schools to choose, that are within 1 km for me, as we live in a school Zone and all three of them being relatively popular in the area. I did know about School A a lot, visited School B and School C.

School A – rejected, for being too academic oriented and ONLY avademic oriented

School B – rejected, as something told me that it’s not the right setting for him

School C – Had what I wanted, liked it and I knew this was what I wanted for him…

As a PR when the rules did allow PR kind of an equal opportunity, I was lucky enough to get into the school of my choice and he just loves his school and me too…

2. What was the difference for your child in P1 as compared to when he was in K2?

(What physical/ mental difference did you notice)

I think we generally tend to under estimate this generation kids… I was worried about long hours, big campus, moving around inside the school and all sorts of stuff a mother would worry about…

But from K2 to P1, what are the significant changes I noticed?

1. More indpendent and confident than in K2.

2. Able to handle everything by himself including manging timetable, assembly times, tets, preparation, routine with other things out of school, different protocols followed in the school etc

3. Able to manage money

4. Able to manage the long hours in P1 at ease without an issue..

Overall, a definite change that made me feel “Oh boy, my little boy has grown up and he is growing up…”

3. How was your feelings during the 1st day of school ? How did you child feel?

Very disappointing because he missed the whole of first week ‘cos of suspected HFMD. So when he started a week later, I was worried, anxious and nervous.. But to my surprise Yuvan was the one who told me ” Don’t worry ma, I think I can manage…”.

The first day of that week his form teacher picked him up from the General Office and next day Yuvan insisted he being dropped at the gate. I was very emotional actually (but offcourse didn’t show it to him..) and his teacher called me later to inform that she is surprised that Yuvan is so independent and manging well and that there isn’t any need for me to worry… ( A sense of relief for me!)

Well… Moms are more nervous, anxious and worried than the kids are on the first day of P1 and I think most of the kids adapt to changes more easily than expected.

4. How do you feel now after your child has been in P1 for the past 9 months?

Happy!!! He has definitely grown into a more responsible, independent person. He is more world wise than before and he just loves his school and I think now the challenge is to sustain it academically and personally.

5. Anything you would do different back then to prepare your child?

No as I was quite aware of the requirements and I think I did the basic preparations quite strong and good!! Will be doing the same this year too for his P2.

6. How has your child matured since the start of P1?

My little boy never fails to amaze me with questions during every little conversation we have had among us since the start and the depth of every question and answer really are the examples to how this little fellow is growing up…

Examples : “What is economy?”

“Mom, You are right, I should know how to choose friends”

“I think I have room for improvement”

“What is an exchange rate?”

Author’s Bio:  I am a mom of one handsome boy, kind of an impulsive mom when some one asks anything about studies, kids the free advice would flow. I have learnt my lessons through my parenting journey and become more responsible in the course… I blog at http://suheezbrainwaves.wordpress.com

 

In the next installment we will be having a guest post from an ex-school teacher Sarah.

Post in this series

  1. Preparing for Primary One (The 2nd time around)
  2. Preparing for Primary One- Doggie Boy Style (Mental Preparations)
  3. Preparing for Primary One- Doggie Boy Style ( Physical Preparations)
  4. Preparing for Primary One – Looking back at Primary One [ Guest Post]
  5. Preparing for Primary One- Preparing yourself Mentally as a Parent
  6. Preparing for Primary One- A look through The Eyes of a Mom [Guest Post]
  7. Preparing for Primary One- From Teacher Sarah’s Desk [Guest Post]
  8. Preparing for Primary One-Questions and Answer Round Up