'What? Did I say that?'
Parents' evening involves joining all the other mums or dads for a few speeches and fee payments in their child's classroom. I sat at Edie's desk though, interestingly, her deskmate's parent was nowhere to be seen. Ali headed to Freda's classroom and sat at the back with Lao Yang's mum, nodding his head at intervals to look like he understood. He was handed back Freda's mid-term maths paper and otherwise kept his head down. He got off lightly. Meantime, back in Edie's classroom, my early term actions were already catching up with me.

Mid-way through a speech about learning strategies from Miss Zhou, (Edie's Chinese and Form teacher), which I was generally following, she piped up, "Edie de mama....." [Edie's mum...]. She began telling the parents that she was using a different method to correct their children's homework and this was as a result of me speaking to her a month or so ago. "Edie de mama [rough translation follows] told me that children don't really like getting big red crosses on their homework and that it's discouraging." From now on she'll be circling difficulties and mistakes, and asked that the parents take time to go through these with their child, helping them understand what's wrong and correct it. "I know this is a bit more bother for you", she added, "but it's a better way......we are all our children's teachers, not only me." Well, I was hiding under the desk by this time, but there was more to come. As a result of our home-schooling routine, Teacher Zhou is handing out a survey to all parents, to find out just how much they do with their children at home - homework, projects, indoor and outdoor activities, etc, etc. She circulated the Home School booklet we made last week and encouraged the parents to think of ways to incorporate their child's learning into daily life. They were really looking at me by this point.

What's more, Teacher Zhou wants to collaborate and do some of our home school projects at school. She remarked that Freda and Edie are excellent students, despite only being at school half-time, so she assumes we're doing something right. When I expressed my embarrassment at what had happened to Hou Wanxia she said I needn't worry. It's likely that most parents feel the same. Although parents give in to the pressure to get high scores, most children suffer under this system. Who likes getting big ready crosses and points deducted? Most parents will be delighted if their child has the chance to thrive in a more encouraging system. We are documenting all home school activities and are going to give Freda and Edie's Form Teachers weekly updates. Any suggestions for good projects? Send them our way....

17/11/2009 11:54:41 pm

Fabulous! Result!! Next a coup to unseat the headteacher... hurrah!


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