He’s sick again.
Flu. And I think he’s got a headache as well. I think it’s the homework. He had to stay up the other night, you see, Social Studies essay. He stayed up almost an hour past midnight, so he’s not feeling too well.
Oh, don’t worry. I’ve got it under control. He should be back tomorrow, but, you see, I don’t want him to overexert himself. He tells me he doesn’t learn anything when he isn’t feeling well, so I told him, you be good and stay at home, so you can go to school the next day feeling refreshed! He doesn’t want to skip school, you see. Exams coming up and all that and he says the teachers give very helpful hints in class, but I say health is more important. If you ace your tests but fall ill, what’s the point? I’ve already talked to some of the other teachers, actually. They’ll be glad to give him some remedial tomorrow.
I don’t think he has any problems with coping with his academics! He told me he scored full marks in the – was it English? Yes, English, comprehension test. I think the teacher is not allowed to return them the test papers? But yes, no real problem for academics, he is a bright boy, always ahead of his classmates in primary school.
Well, yes, he tells me sometimes he has problems understanding the things in class, he says sometimes he falls ill and misses classes and the teacher is already on the next topic. But don’t worry. I go through his work every evening. We spend one hour together going through his notes. Sometimes my wife joins us if she comes back early. She’s a doctor, you know, so she’s better with all the science stuff. I am better with the languages, so if he needs help I’ll try to help him in those. There was the time my wife and I signed him up for tuition classes, but he said it was too easy for him! You know how those tuition classes work, they’re just for the neighborhood school students who don’t listen in class, so I said, rather than wasting the money to send him for these classes, we should just spend some time with him at home, find out what doubts he has. He has no problems. He always tells me he always figures out the answers before his classmates get the answers. He’s always been a very fast learner.
What, glum? No… I don’t think he’s feeling glum in school, he never told me anything about feeling glum. Oh, yah, he says he doesn’t like to speak up in class, he knows the answers already and he’ll just write it down on his worksheet, and sometimes his throat doesn’t feel too good. No, I don’t think it’s a problem. He talks a lot at home, he seems perfectly fine at home. He tells me about his two good friends, how they eat together every recess and how they always form the same team in PE. I always say, it’s okay to have good friends, just don’t make the wrong friends and go do nonsense together!
Hmm? Uh, yeah, I am aware that he doesn’t go for CCA. To be honest, I really don’t see a need for CCA, especially when the system forced him to join a CCA he doesn’t like. In Sec One he told me he wanted to join softball, and I said, good. He’s always liked sports, sometimes we go out to the Botanic Gardens and we play some catch together, he’s quite enthusiastic about sports. Oh, every weekend we also sit down together and watch soccer. He likes soccer a lot, his favorite team is Arsenal. He knows the whole squad by name and jersey number! But on the softball tryout day my son fell sick, you see. Fever, if I remember correctly. 38 degrees, or 39. I was so worried that day. But he wanted to go to school, he says there were softball tryouts. He had already changed into uniform even though his forehead was burning. I told him flatly, you can’t go, people have died playing sports with a fever. Which was true, I read in the papers some time ago. So he didn’t go for tryouts, he didn’t get into softball, and the school put him into Chinese Orchestra. I mean, my son doesn’t like music, and I don’t blame him, I myself don’t really fancy Chinese music. So I told him, might as well not go for CCA if it’s such a tortuous affair. Actually I wanted to try appealing for softball on his behalf, but he says, he doesn’t want to appeal, so I said, it’s okay, you can join softball when you get over to junior college!
And frankly, I feel it’s better that for secondary school he just concentrates on his studies, no CCA or any other distractions. Anyway, only in JC will the CCA record matter – you know, in case he wants to apply for scholarships – so it’s not too late. He likes it this way. He says there’s a lot more time now for him to study. Every day I get to send him home during my lunch break, and he straightaway opens his file and does his homework.
Yes, he’s a very mature boy. He knows that in school, it’s studies first. At home he’s always staying up till midnight or even later, doing his work. I know he’s always feeling tired nowadays, but what to do? I tell him, that’s the price of getting into the top school in Singapore! Projects and assignments and tests, everyone has to manage them well! At first I didn’t understand. At eleven p.m. I would ask him to go off and sleep, but then he said all his friends were also staying up to do project, and I checked with his two buddies, they said that they were also staying up late every night. So now I understand. Always good to check with the other friends, you know. You never know when your son’s lying to you or not. But it’s tough on him. He used to sleep at nine p.m., after finishing his homework. Now, he rarely gets to sleep before eleven p.m.! It’s a tough life, I understand, but he never complains. He’s hardworking, this boy.
Of course I’m worried about him. Some mornings I walk into his room to wake him up and he says he has a headache and he seems to be running a temperature. I always tell him, what to do? That’s what happens when you don’t take care of your body, getting less than 8 full hours of rest every night is bound to lead to illness in the future. But he says, no choice, need to complete the assignment. Well, I try to help him where possible, sometimes he says he needs to cut up some paper to paste onto the poster – I think for his RE project or some other project – so I just help him. Not much hassle, and anyway it’s not like I’m helping him do the work. If I don’t help him he’ll have to sleep even later, and really, it’s bad enough that he’s sleeping at 12-something. Ah, I guess there really is no choice, being in a school like this.
Oh, look at the time! It’s lunch now, I’ll need to go back and cook porridge. Benedict doesn’t like oily food when he’s not feeling well.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, teacher. Hope you understand now.