I just had a parents-teacher meet today. I left feeling not too good about the session.
We didn't talk about sonshine's academic progress. It was his social skills that dominated the entire session. He's teacher feedback that he doesn't interact with his classmates and while he does answer her questions but mostly keeps to himself. He also avoids eye contact with her. Still, she acknowledges that he is aware of the going-ons just that he refuses to converse with anyone.
Ironically, he is very noisy at home- talks and talks until we have to get him to stop because mummy & daddy need to talk to each other! He demands for our eye contact when we don't give him our attention.
Although, what's been said were nothing new to me, still, it left my inside crumbling.
Ever since sonshine was a young boy, i just find him different from most kids. For one, as I've shared here, his interest isn't that of a typical child. He is different but normal. Yet, i can't point a finger to in what ways he is different.
Still, i am certain sonshine is normal just that he prefers not to socialise with other beings. Although, i have resigned to the fact that it his personality, i would still try to encourage him to interact with others more.
His Mandarin teacher remarks left me puzzled. She said sonshine didn't know his work, doesn't understand Mandarin and is very slow. Her comments weren't in sync with his past and present teachers who told me that he can understand Mandarin well. I was also baffled since sonshine has been reading mandarin sentences at home and understand simple contexts.
Further into the session, i found out she just joined & hence taught N for a month only. Hence, I felt what she said was very unfair to sonshine. Just because he didn't answer her questions and doesn't raise hands in class she jumps to the conclusion that sonshine doesn't know any mandarin. I thought that was very assumptous of her. But i explained that it is in his character not to respond to someone he's not comfortable with. Moreover, not all kids would readily raise their hands even though they may know the answer.
But what really ticked me off was her reaction when i shared that we don't speak Mandarin with him at home. She immediately said agitatedly, in her native accent 'Why all the SINGAPOREAN parents don't converse with their children at home?!!'., her hands up in the air. I don't know why i got mad but it could have been the way she said it, the tone and her expression. I was offended for me and my fellow Singaporeans. I mean how she said it was really demeaning to us. I wasn't shy about showing it and i think she got it.
She gave me a blur look when i told her i HAVE been teaching sonshine to read & write and he CAN read in Mandarin and all his past teachers said so too! I also asked her what is the point in speaking in half mandarin and half English (since my own spoken mandarin is so poor) to him? How and what would he be learning? She quickly suggested that i should then read to him more mandarin books to help him converse in Mandarin. But i told her point blank that i HAVE been reading to him mandarin books- so what's next?!! Her response 'er, read more books?'. Duh. Thanks for the great tip! Like i didn't know that!
So I left the school with 2 thoughts:
1) That's the difference between a Montessori teacher and a 'normal' teacher. The former would be very clear about the child's academic level while the latter may be left clueless simply because she has too many children to mind. I don't know. I mean, if the teacher is misled in my child's academic standing, how can she teach my son properly? I am very tempted to pull him out and send him right back to Montessori school!
2) If i should take the teachers' feedback word for word or a pinch of salt. After all, i am the parent. I should know my son best. But what happens if their report doesn't align with mine?