Gabriela Silang on the loose!

This post of Monsoon Breeze about her horror story of school admission and assessment for her son triggered my frustration on how some schools here just want ‘easy’ kids and will label children who doesn’t fall into this category as ‘special’, ‘difficult’ and ‘slow’.

I have shared my own experience on finding the right school for my daughter.  Our first choice was her brother’s school obviously. I can’t imagine going to two different schools for two different parent-teacher’s meeting, two sports day and two of everything but things happened and we are forced to put her on a different school which is more expensive and farther than our place.

After a few weeks I thought my daughter’s school is not that bad. Yes, she’s the only Asian in her class (the rest are Arab kids) and KHDA doesn’t highly rank them but the facilities are good and I like that the school is small and that the teachers can focus more on the children individually.

My daughter starts reading 3-letter words and can even read 4-letter words like bell, bird, etc. and can write them too. She learned writing her name in just few days after the teacher told us that she should practice. The most important thing is she learns phonetics which I honestly have no clue earlier but was told it is IMPERATIVE that my daughter grasps.
And I’m so proud that she can do all these at age 4! As much as I want to credit my daughter’s mother for giving her the smart genes, I know that most of this accolade should go to her school.

Everything is seventh-heaven. Or so I thought…

Last week, hubby went to a meeting called by the vice principal. We didn’t know what to expect of this meeting. I assumed this is just a regular parent-teacher discussion.
But it’s far from regular.
The vice principal and the class teacher told my husband that my daughter has a very shy personality. She’s academically below average and they’re worried that she’s not ready for Year 1.

What the fuck!!!

I know it was a late reaction on my part but I wrote a long mail to the teacher last night and I just need to share my thoughts.

  1. I give credit to the school for my daughter’s progress. All these reading is for sure through the encouragement of her teacher. I let my daughter read 20 words last night and she was able to read 15 of them. She’s smart.But I don’t know why the teacher can’t see that. Are all her students the descendants of Albert Einstein?
  2. Yes, my daughter is reserved. She doesn’t talk to strangers and not comfortable with people she just met. It takes time for her to loosen up just like her brother. But when she does relax, she’s very lively. She loves to sing and dance in front of her family and run around like a monkey whenever we are outdoors. Yes, it takes time but it’s not like she’s inside her shell forever.
    One important point, she keeps on telling me that her classmates calls her ‘yucky’ just because she once brought an oatmeal with milk as snack.And she is being poked in the head. I never paid attention to this since I know it’s just rough play. But if these small things adds up to her anxiety and affects her participation in class then the teacher should know.
  3. Why on earth they are telling us that she is not ready for Year 1 when it has only been less than 3 months since she started big school? Are they Nostradamus? I thought she made a very HUGE progress in a short span of time but apparently the school see it otherwise. It’s the case of seeing the glass either half-full or half-empty.

I told all these to the teacher but in a more diplomatic, Miss Universe-way. No fuck or screw you statement 🙂

It took me a week to digest what transpire in the meeting and then I realize I have to speak up. I shouldn’t let them label my daughter as ‘academically below average’.
My gosh!
I’m not saying she is super duper smart and has an above-average IQ but I have an idea of what’s an ‘academically below average’ kid and it’s definitely not my daughter.

Her silence shouldn’t be mistaken as dumbness. They have prejudge my daughter being behind since she skipped FS1 and went straight to FS2 and no matter how fast she learns for them it’s not enough.

But I will fight this ala Gabriela Silang*. I promise.


*Gabriela Silang – Filipino revolutionary leader best known as the first female leader of a Filipino movement for independence from Spain. Think Joan of Arc.



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  1. Tina says:

    My son went through the same and that’s when I decided to give him extra help sending him to the tutoring center. Now I’m least bothered about what any school thinks as my son is supposed to enjoy learning and not be pushed to learn at such young age. Like you, I fight with all his teachers if they become unreasonable about my sons learning and tell me he’s not reaching the level he’s supposed to.

  2. Zeyna S. Mummy On My Mind says:

    This is insane!!! How are children supposed to be academically average, below or above when they have absolutely YEARS left till they get to university, when it really matters!!!
    I hope you gave the school a piece of your mind and you see drastic changes in their attitude after sending them that email!

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      Filipina Expat says:

      Oh Z! Can you tell that to all kindergarten schools? I always think that patience is my greatest strength but when I saw that report from the teacher saying that my daughter is ‘academically below average’, all hell broke loose.
      To be fair, the teacher reacted positively to my mail and said that she only wants the best for my daughter and she’s glad that we (parents) are involved on our child’s education (or something to that effect).

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