The first thing Ms T said to us the moment we sat in front of her was 'wow, Marcus is highly intelligent'.
I smiled politely and whispered a quiet 'thank you'. I wonder why I had felt a little uncomfortable when she exclaimed like that.
A quick glance across both pages of his report book for Semester 1 and all I saw was ticks under the Exemplary column in all categories of assessment. There are no scores, ABC gradings or stars. Instead, I saw four columns - Exemplary, Accomplished, Improving and Below Expectations.
Her next few comments were something like 'Marcus is really an excellent student in all areas! There isn't any area of concern at all. He reads so well!' etc...
We were told M is definitely top 3 of his class based on academic results. We asked loads of questions, such as M's performance compared to the rest of the class and his cohort, his behaviour in and outside classroom, the types of activities kids were involved in, how children are picked for various roles, how teachers stretched kids etc ....
In the end, she didn't tell us anything new about M's strengths and weaknesses that we didn't already know of, though it was useful and very assuring to hear some concrete examples from her.
In group work, M will confidently and enthusiastically assume the leadership role, unlike most peers who simply cruise along or are clueless on how to approach the tasks. As he has lots of ideas and is creative at problem solving, he tends to contribute a lot more than his peers. This had intimidated some of his group mates and one of them even told Ms T that he didn't want to sit next to M because he has all the answers.
It's interesting that E's reaction to the above was so different from mine. He asked if M could be seated with the brighter ones in class so that they could continue to spur each other on. Understandably, Ms T didn't commit.
But I think it is alright that M remains with some of the weaker children because it is equally important to learn to work with kids of different abilities. In his current group, it means M has the chance to hone his interpersonal skills, be persuasive to 'sell' his ideas and manage his peers, so that he can lead the group towards the goals.
I must admit I love that E is like me, constantly looking out for ways to stretch M further.
One area of concern we have is if M shows any signs of boredom. Ms T assured us it is not an issue at all. He is always attentive and even attempts to help the others along. He is never disrespectful or insensitive and doesn't complain about the lessons being boring or refuse to participate in certain activities. In her words, M is such a sweet and obliging boy and is more mature than most kids his age.
Ms T suggested we consider signing M up for Odyssey of the Mind next year, given his strengths in creative problem-solving. I'm aware of this programme and had considered signing him up for it this year. But we missed the deadline due to the haphazard nature in which the registration information was disseminated. I may still consider it for next year before his workload picks up, but it seems like a LOT of WORK on the parents' part and I wonder if I will be up to it next year, with the new baby, routine change and all. But the exposure and experience alone will be such an eye-opener for M. For that reason, maybe I should make it a priority.
Other than the above, there wasn't much more to report. M's school isn't those academically pushy ones, at least not at lower primary levels. So he has a lot of slack currently and can afford to smell the roses and just enjoy school.
He tells us he loves his school and enjoys going to and being in school. I know he likes his tennis lessons and he has friends not just from his class, but also from other P1 and P2 classes because of his participation in this CCA. Already, he has developed a sense of loyalty and pride of being part of his school and its big family. I'm relieved and really proud of my baby, who is certainly growing up fast into a responsible and sensible little man.