I chose the school because the students get to wear black shoes and socks.
Black is a great color as I don’t have to be concerned about the shoes turning filthily grey at the end of the school day. He can even wear the same pair of black socks for 5 days in a row. Just that he will not be too popular amongst his classmates and teacher, with the stench coming from the worn socks.
Actually, I wasn’t too excited about the black shoes, shorts, and the school uniform didn’t rank too high on being the most smartest-looking school uniform around.
And for sure he has to change his socks daily.
Nonetheless, me-thinks he still looks rather cute in his uniform. After all, I am his mom, even when everyone else do not think he is cute anymore, he is cute.
The morning of the first day of school started out fairly well, since K was rather excited about starting new school and meeting new friends. When I first dropped him off at his classroom, he gestured for me to quickly leave, and initiated a conversation with a new classmate.
Then, hb and I excitedly spotted him in the canteen during recess-time with his quiet, responsible and slightly blur Primary 5 ‘buddy’, who was still getting used to his new role that morning.
The buddy-system is helpful for orienting new children to recess time and we found it rather humorous how K interacted with his P.5 ‘buddy’. K was doing the talking most of the time, while the older primary 5 boy kept relatively silent. And hb and I watched at the distance and giggled when the P.5 boy lost K in the canteen for about 3 minutes, and frantically searched around for him. While K stood at another corner of the canteen, looking around for his ‘buddy’ and wondered where he went to.
It was the second half of the day that got a little more challenging, when Kyle was expected to sit down from 9.30pm – 1.30pm (except for toilet breaks in between). Especially when the first two days did not include formal teaching and the lengthy stretches of time were spent completing the worksheets given by the form teacher.
I suppose the worksheets are needed to assess the level of learning, but how about spending a little time to one to two active games to get to know your teacher, or to allow children some opportunities to get to know one another on the first day of school?
There was no activity planned for on the first two days of school, which will help the children to assimilate with their new classmates or manage the short attention spans of nervous and antsy 6 year old children, fundamentally boys.
Why is the school is in such a hurry? The hurry to assess capabilities, to segregate and to ensure efficiencies in the system?
So K’s verdict of first day of school?
I met with a lethargic and grumpy-faced him, who told me at the end of the first day of school, even before we could step out of the school gate. “Let’s get out of here, I am sick of this place.”
So he got a so-called pep talk from mom after that. I shared with him that “Life isn’t all about doing things that will make you happy. There are things we are expected to do, especially when we grow up that will not give us joy, but we still have to do it anyway. Growing up have its responsibilities.”
Translated in my language : “Life can sometimes suck, but we have to make the best out of it anyway.”
Now that’s really helpful mom.
Should I not be serving a spoonful of reality to my 6 year old who will have to deal with the imperfection of a system for the next 12 years of his schooling life?
I believe in serving a smorgasbord of true realities, not neglecting dessert platters of dreams, also scoping ladles of hope thrown in.
Well, there is such a thing known as healthy cynicism.
A healthy cynic walks into the darkness, looks up from the negativity, drink in some light. Then plunge back into darkness with the light, then work on building a ladder for someone else to walk out of it. In this case, I am building a ladder for my own child, who will eventually find himself on the journey through his schooling life, will largely consist of a frequent movements up and down the ladder.
We can’t change reality, so we manage our expectations and our attitudes towards it. And when our dependence is on God, help will always come on time.
We read this timely word from K’s bible devotion the end of the 1st day of school.
And these bible verses,
We will take it a step at a time.
I told Kyle, “Our hope is in our Lord, not in the school, our results, our talents or achievements. As any of that will fail us one time or another. We will face challenges as they come, bravely, even when they are difficult, as He has made us to be able to overcome difficult things. It doesn’t matter even if there are many times that we feel weak and helpless, as our strength comes from God alone. We can do it with God’s help.”
The next day, his grandaunt asked him, “Do you love school?” His response, “Not really, but it is ok.”
All this mom plans to do for K moving forward, is to set 1 hour or 2 if needed after school, for homework or revision, and throw in a 1.5 hour session of Chinese enrichment weekly.
And he will spend the rest of the day in the late afternoon to evenings, in play and more play.