Tuesday, November 18, 2008 ;
Kindergarten Animal Exhibition
The kindy kids (with help from their teachers) organised an exhibition for the moms. It will showcase what they have learnt for their past unit of instruction (Classification of animals).
This is kind of an evaluation of their learning, and since it is the first, I was pretty curious.
But first, I had to go through the logistics of getting someone to look after ds2 while I was at school. This is a non-existent problem for a typical mom here or in Spore, for that matter. They either have a relative, a mom or in-law, a full-time ayi or maid to help with the younger kids.
I have no relatives here, no mom or mil... But fortunately, I have good neighbors, a part-time ayi who could be trusted for a couple of hours.. However, in the end, the best person stepped up to take on the responsibility. Dh just so happened stayed at home that day due to a cold.
So all I needed to do was get the ayi in that day during the afternoon time, pick ds2 up from the bus stop, feed him lunch, make him nap, then set off for school for ds1's exhibition. Dh will keep an eye on ds2, while ayi can help with all other domestic chores Dh needs to be done. Sweet.
My friendly neighbor, N, gave me a ride to school. I joke with her on being more free than me, as a CEO. She is able to attend many more school functions than me. Like the PFO meetings and luncheons. I usually can't make it. But she often attends. Numerous other parent workshops too, like "Facebook", "Photoshop", "Counselling" kind of parent talks... I missed all those.
We moms waited outside the classroom. It was quite funny, like we were the kids waiting to be shown around this time. I enjoyed the feeling of letting my son lead.
The kids were then released to take charge of their own moms. ds1 was the first to rush out of the classroom, and he was jumping up and down with excitement, almost shrieking, "Welcome to our exhibition. The first exhibit on our checklist is the portfolio and assessment folder. Please follow me!" He pulled my hand, dragging me into the adjacent classroom to the one he just rushed out of.
He had in his hands a clipboard with a booklet and pencil on it. Looked very professional.
He got me to take a seat, and went through his portfolio with me, then a folder that had his teacher's assessment remarks on it. He explained all the things within. I observed with my other eye (yes one eye on ds1, one eye on the rest of the moms) that different kids were given a different order of things to show their moms, so that we won't be crowded in the same area. So we moms will be ushered from station to station by our kids, cool!
I also observed that 2 kids were still sitting on the mat at the corner of the room, waiting forlornly for their moms to arrive so they can start their "exhibition". I saw them looking at all the parent-kid pairs moving around the room. And my heart goes out to them. I made a mental note to never be late for such events.
I have to do this, because I can be late on many occasions, but I must remember to rush, because to have my excitable child sit in a corner to wait for me... I understand just how excruciating the wait can be... It's like you are bursting to tell something but have to keep it within yourself for a long time.
A poor girl was left alone when her partner who was waiting with her had his mom arrive shortly. The teachers frantically called the girl's mom. I overheard the teacher tell the teaching assistant the mom might not be coming. I noticed the looks on their faces. Then the teacher assigned the girl to present her stuff to S's mom. S was the boy I took care of in the museum, whose dad is a teacher of the school and whose mom is very familiar with the teacher. So S's mom looked at both S's and the girl's exhibits. The girl's happy now, and somehow I felt happy too. Good for the teachers.
Ok, lest you think I wasn't paying attention to ds1's presentation. I was. I have 2 ears and 2 eyes, you see. 1 eye and 1 ear were trained on ds1 the whole time.
After we were done with that, I saw ds1 read off his checklist, ticking the box for the 1st station, and then reading the 2nd exhibit, and bringing me to the correct station. Somehow, I felt very proud of him. My boy has grown!
This went on until we were done with 2 classroom's worth of exhibits. The picture below shows a tank of terrapins, and some posters showing classification of animals according to different features.
This pic shows ds1 checking his clipboard for the next exhibit to show me. The armchair was where we last sat. He was supposed to pick a book from the class library shelf (which was al stocked with books on animals that day), and read it to me. We were seated so cosily, the teacher took a pic of us together and placed that pic in the class book!
This part of the exhibition was in the other classroom. There were many plastic animals in the center of the table, and the kids were supposed to classify the animals under reptile, amphibian, bird etc and explain to us moms why they classified them the way they did.
I overheard Matt telling N that spiders are not insects because ..... N was real proud of him.
After the exhibition, we moms had some lovely cakes and cookies baked by the teachers themselves. The kids? They were ushered off to a music class or something, haha.15 SeptWed
I went to school again the next morning, to attend this meeting for all parents who are interested in sub-teaching in the school. It is like relief teaching in Spore.
I am still strictly on leave from my previous teaching job, so I am not allowed to hold on any full time job while on leave from my school. But once or twice in a long period of time is ok. This will occur only when a teacher in school has to be away on conference or is sick, and needs a substitute.
The school does not require the moms to have any teaching qualifications, so a lot of other moms signed up too.
So far, I haven't been called up, so I know the pool of moms is pretty large. Cos Gab's mom is often called up to sub for PE and so on. I saw her in school many times already, and she has also shared her experience with me. Most times, the wives of teachers in the school are called up.
But since I am curious, I signed up as well.
The Director of the school met with us and told us the school policies, the behaviour expected of the kids, some protocol... Then we filled in a form indicating our free times, the subjects and levels we are comfortable subbing for... That's it. They'll call us if they need our help.
I know S's mom and Gab's mom ticked everything, cos they've been subbing every level, every subject. I was pretty conservative, only ticked those I am confident in. I didn't tick PE or Art of course. And I only ticked the higher levels, because seriously I think the younger kids require a lot more energy to teach. haha.
(With the older teens, a lot more deep thinking and discussion is required, but at least I don't have to change my voice into a girly high pitched tone, or into a deep growl many times a day... And I don't have to keep doing many funny actions and prance about the room. I don't have to do a lot of singing or clapping, or crawl on the floor with the kids... And I don't have to have kids running up to show me their work every second and having to respond with a excited and energetic tone "that's fantastic, well done! i love the way you drew the tree, you make it come alive!") [Somehow, doing that with my sons a couple of hours a day leaves me exhausted already. I cannot imagine doing that from 8.10am to 3.10pm]
The Director encouraged me to tick Chinese, since I know Chinese. I was initially very taken aback. Ok, I am not known to be particularly strong in Chinese back home in Spore, but I guess I should be ok in the intl school. hehe.
The Director says it's fine. Relief teachers are there to just take care of the kids, they do very little teaching. Oh yes, man, how can I forget. The permanent teachers back in Spore always complain about relief teachers, how they are too lenient with the kids and how it is so difficult to reteach the students after they have a stint with relief teachers.17 SepFriday
8.10am - 9.20am
Library Week Assembly andTeddy Bear Picnic
I was in school again on Friday morning. This time, kind of by mistake.
On Thursday night, ds1 insisted he was performing in school the next morning for assembly and wanted me to go to watch him. I wasn't sure because there was no note from the school, or teacher, and I think they would inform me if ds1 was performing? It was too late to call the teacher to check on this...
But ds1 was very very insistent, so I decided to just go, in any case, for fun.
Parents are always welcome at assemblies cos there is always something on. And I know of moms who go every single week, whether or not their children are doing anything.
ds1's class happened to be having a Teddy Bear Picnic that day too. Every child can bring his/ her favorite teddy bear to school to join in the picnic.
This pic shows the kids sitting in front of the stage, during assembly. It happened to be Library Week so the Library teachers had some presentations and performances lined up.
It was very informative and useful for me. I got to know a couple of good sites for the kids to read online books using the school's account. They subscribe to a couple of very good sites, and I wouldn't know about them if I didn't attend, since I didn't see any info published in the school newsletter or wherever else. The older kids can remember and return home to try it themselves, but my kids are too young to be able to get to the sites and key in the passwords to access them at home. Hence I don't think it was a wasted trip.
But for ds1, it was a different story. He waved excitedly to me once he saw me seated in the audience, and he even called out to ds2 seated with his class, shouting that "mommy is here! look, mommy is here!" I could hear it from where I was.
As the Library presentations wore on, I could tell ds1 was definitely not going to perform. He probably felt that too. At the end of assembly, as the classes were filing back to their rooms, I saw his look as he waved good bye to me. It didn't look right.
So i thought I would go to his class to tell him it was alright, that I enjoyed assembly, and i would definitely come again if he was performing, and it's ok that's he's not performing this week!
When I reached his classroom, his teacher told me he was performing the next Friday instead! Ah... I asked to talk to ds1. The moment he saw me, he started crying! I hugged him and told him it was alright! The poor boy.
Anyway he calmed down within a minute, and the teacher distracted him by asking him to choose a teddy bear from her own collection. She was going to lend a bear to him since he didn't have any for the picnic. (His Build-a-Bear-Workshop bear is in the boxes which we haven't received yet). He went off with her, waving goodbye to me.
Such heartache to see them cry over such a reason.
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow