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  • Nathira Salim

Light at the end

I planned my son's PSLE almost 2 years ago when he was just in Primary 4. I got him a maths tutor so that he can score in his maths in time for PSLE. Why would I wait till PSLE to get a tutor?


But the tutor left him hanging when he was in P5 and I was none the wiser. When he was in mid P5 I realised I may not be doing as much as I can. He was still failing his Maths along with his MT. His Science and English was ok at that time. So I got him revision books, and. I revised along with him. Frankly speaking, the maths is tough and I had no idea kids were being taught algebra at P6. I learnt my first set of algebra in Sec 1!! I realised it was tough for him, but he managed to pass his finals without ending up in Foundation class.


Looking at his P5 end results, I realised we needed to start revision earlier. So I got him another Maths tutor last year November as soon as the holiday started so that he will have a headstart in math. Along with that I enrolled him in Sinda Maths class. By Feb 2020 things were ok. His Maths was improving, his Science and English was still strong. We got a friend to teach him MT at her place. So there I was, happy and satisfied that I got him help earlier than usual. I even sent him for DSA class to help him qualify for DSA. I was so sure my son would ace his Maths.


March came along with Covid and CB. All schools were shut down and HBL was quickly enforced. So that means no more face to face tuitions as well. I was sort of happy that my son was stuck at home which meant I was around to help him out a bit. But I found out during the online lessons that my son was not focusing on the lessons at all. In fact, he would switch between browsers, check out YouTube or other web content and no one gets to know. The friend who was teaching him, decided not to help him if I am not around during the lesson. I was working, how could I be there? So that was the end of the MT lesson.


And because of Covid there was no mid year paper to show his improvements and all sports activities were shut down as well - which meant that he will not be able to try to go to DSA for his chess. He selected Chess as his sport and was trying to get into ACS, but because his P5 maths results were a disappointment, I decided not to try that at all.


In June, I signed him up for an online class where he has to try out topical questions online and the system will mark his papers. I paid a huge amount for that software. I had a strategy in place for him 150 days before his PSLE starts. He was to focus on P3 and P4 maths to strengthen his foundation for 2 months. And the P5 and P6 maths the next 2 months. We didn't get around to finish the P6 Maths because his school started sending him home with lots of home work to do.


And then I got the cancer and my surgery was scheduled a day before the start of his prelims. By then, I already gave up. He was still weak.


I did everything I could. I coached him and at the time of him doing his PSLE, he was going to a group maths tuition, a private tutor as well as a customised online maths programme for him to revise. And yet - its sad and disappointing that he's still weak.


Another friend of mine took over teaching MT for him while I was convalescing. Family didn't want me stressed over it. Thankfully because of Sumathi - I was not that stressed.


In the end, by the time this post is published, my son would have completed writing his PSLE papers. I will be packing all his assessment and revision books as well as papers and throw it away because I have had enough of it. I was worried for the past 2 years that the pressure would lead my son to do something untoward like running away or killing himself or something. I was so worried about that, I internalised the stress. I didn't want to stress or pressure him, but I was also worried. I was spending so much money on his maths alone and he was still not getting the ball. All that stress evolved into my tumor.


I will pack all the remnants of his PSLE and throw them far and away. If he does not do well enough to go to a Secondary School, I think I will home school him instead. I don't know, let see.


But for now - I want so deperately to see the light at the end of this tunnel. It is high time I am freed from the stress of PSLE.


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