I made a child cry.

I left the school, feeling all shitty.

It was my second time and today, the teacher, Ms H gave them a test to evaluate the students’ understanding of what they have learnt for Math. Then she passed me one sheet, “Pls help P with the reading of the questions.”

So, there we were, outside the classroom. I was to read the questions to P and she would attempt the questions. I knew it would be difficult but I was NOT prepared to deal with discipline issues (as a volunteer, I was not to do the work of the teacher in terms of discipline).

P didn’t know her counting well enough. She would either double count or miss a number. She interpreted the two questions on each page as one and got frustrated when I told her about that. After attempting two questions (which took a mighty long time and yet not accurate), she became fidgety. I tried to ask her to explain her thoughts. She did but I was lost. I couldn’t make out her understanding, going back and forth about addition and counting backwards. What was she really thinking about?

In school, we were all trained to comprehend why our students did the various methods and with P, I was baffled for a while. I couldn’t understand where she’s coming from but there was one thing I was certain – she treated each question as an addition question and she used whatever number she could see and try to make her own sense of it.

With her restlessness came poor sitting posture and behavioural problems. I told her off nicely at first but decided that being firm was the way to go. Besides, I shouldn’t differ from what Ms H preached in the classroom. My rules should more or less parallel hers.

When she lay on the chair, that was the last straw. I gave her warning before standing up and walking back to the classroom, “You can continue to do that but I’m going back to the classroom.” She teared.

I suspect there were a few issues with P but I didn’t have her background and couldn’t come to any conclusion. During reading, there were also some problems with the behaviour of the pupils but none too serious that would warrant any disciplinary action.

I left the school, feeling really bad. A lot of questions lingered in my mind. 
Was I too harsh? Was I doing things that were not right in their culture? Would the students only be learning those topics for Math for the whole year? Those ONLY?  Is their language ability at that level? Serious?

I think I am having culture shock. If I were Ms H, I would be panicking. I wish I wouldn’t make comparison but inevitably, I did.

I am thinking of making more trips down to the school. My current frequency may not be helpful enough. Oh, I need to weigh the pros and cons.

And on the way home, a man passed by me, with his pants unzipped, showing off his THANG to all. Oh, my goodness! I don’t really appreciate it, thank you very much.

Now I wanna cry. =p

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