Wednesday 6 October 2021

A first time PSLE mama

Today I celebrate the daughter's hard work for the past 6 years in primary school, I celebrate surviving this journey with her as a first time PSLE mama, and I celebrate keeping tuition out of schedule till this day. I do need to share our strategy, but will keep that for another post. On top of this celebratory mood, it's the man and my 15th wedding anniversary. How apt that it falls nicely with the daughter's last paper. 

Six primary school years may have been long, but it bolts by once your child begins primary school. Over the years, the daughter grew so much in wisdom, strength and independence. There's so much more to rejoice than just how well she conquered the exams. Just thinking of our education system, raising a kid in Singapore is no easy feat. I do deserve a pat on my shoulder on this journey done well.

PSLE is a big acronym. Every child's know. I was so filled with nervousness and worries as the exam days neared, feeling even more intense when her first paper began. It felt like I was going for the exam! But how to stay calm?! It's a nationwide exam that paves the path ahead. The better you do, the wider and brighter your options are! And of course, coming from a parent who doesn't do academic enrichment, I had our expectations very much managed, but not without the absence of worries.

PSLE is over!

First paper went well, she said it wasn't easy, but manageable. Then came Maths, my heart sank when she related that she was mentally challenged by a few questions. I felt my heart-aching for her, but I know that's how notorious our Maths has been. It's not to devastate anyone, but to distinct those who are able and unable to do, to facilitate scores differentiation when it comes to results and school selections. There's just this allocated vacancies in the popular schools, and it doesn't go to everyone. In this new scoring system, where more possible scores fall in the same Achievement Level (AL) range, there is a stronger urge to define.

The daughter related that her classmates were in tears and upset that they couldn't do some questions, or complete the paper. This is a scene not sighted only at PSLE. It happens at all other exams, be it mid year or prelims. We have every parental right to teach and guide them through those moments, growing their mindset. The comfort here is that, majority feels the same. No one is alone.

Not that questions set were out of syllabus, they were a test of learnt concepts with in-depth thinking skill. I've to say though, luck plays some part in the years they do their PSLE. Some years, we do not even get any uproar from parents and some years, we hear noise. Exams are not meant to be easy that everyone aces it the same way. It has to be distinct. No doubt, the years have not been easy with much disruptions to curriculum plans and lessons. But I wouldn't be content if the kids did an easier PSLE based on compassionate grounds. On the other hand, why aren't parents blaming their tuition centres for not preparing the kids well? The amount of fees have to justify right?! I wasn't upset, or outrage at all. It's just the way things are when we try to be rational about it. Rather than trying to find excuses or fault.

We can take the opportunity to teach resilience, not blame. Resilience is such a powerful trait that encompasses the elements of self-control, emotional awareness, positivity, reasoning, self care, patience and so many more! It's key to positive character building. In midst of teaching our child, we learn in the process too. We learn to choose our words and reactions meaningfully. Are we mindful in speaking encouragement and kindness to our dejected child? It's definitely not the time to bring forth the tiger in us. Praise should be made culture in parenting.

The last we want to exemplify is to fault find in others and on the things that won't change. Be it the course of an event or outcome. If it does, it sets an unpleasant precedence for the PSLEs ahead. Anyway, what goes behind any consideration is not something visible to us. Instead, let's focus on helping our kids take responsibility and learning into their own hands, grow in strength, resilience and most importantly kindness. Have good thoughts and speak uplifting words. The world is harsher than this math paper. Life did not promise a bed of roses.  

To our surprise, the daughter gave us softie and 'Thank You' card each. For guiding and encouraging her through the years to this day.

Thank you cards the daughter gave us

Let's raise a generation of strong and kind warriors! Where each trial, test and exam is a new found maturity for our child. 

What's over is unchangeable. Celebrate because both child and parents have partnered hard. While Helen and Ivan are busy weighing their coins, we shall take time to do the things we really enjoy before life starts getting busy again next year. Consider now till the release of results, what our expectations are and how will we manage them. I'm sure another nervous mama as we near that day! Let's always remember that love is unconditional, whatever the grades are. 

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