Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The child becomes the teacher

Muffin has effectively completed the first term of Primary One. He's doing okay. He takes on everything with his usual cheeky outlook on life. Like his siblings before him, he isn't too big on homework.

Being the third child through primary education with older siblings whose academic demands regularly floor me, he ends up drawing the short end of the straw. On so many occasions, I've forgotten the spelling and ting xie and remember only to ask him the day after it's tested in school.

So I try to remember.

If I forget, I deputise one of the twins to go through his spelling with him. That often sends him to tears because there is actually something worse than the tiger mom. The Tiger Sister who is stricter and more demanding than the mom. She will berate him in a tone worthy of the Tiger Mom and lay down her strict expectations of his corrections.

But that's where the difference ends.

Unlike the Tiger Mom, the Tiger Sis will be taken in by his tears. She will cave and will try and carry  him. That's when she'll change her tact and surprisingly coax him into trying again. She's has also learnt that yelling at him doesn't work so she tries to be a little bit more encouraging so that she doesn't have to deal with his tears.

His worksheets then end up having encouraging words planted all over like her teacher does for her, I suppose. And she gets him to re-learn the spelling words he isn't clear of on the white board or with magnetic letters which I used to do for her.

In short, she has learnt some pedagogy.

He'd just as soon not do it if given the choice. His toys are still a big thing for him and he still spends long hours just re-connecting with his Lego and his Transformers toy or reading. 

So it's a fine line that we tread on. To make sure that he revises the stuff he has to for school but to give him time to read and be silly. This is where the Tiger Sis empathises with him and totally caves in; when he looks at her with puppy eyes and says he wants to just spend some time reading.

The young teacher still has much to learn.


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