My dear daughter,

I write this post for you. I afraid ... this might lead to some misinterpretations by others ... but I know you will understand and may find it document how you survive in the school system.

I have never anticipated this before. Only after you go to primary school, I realize that a child like you, who is a keen self learner ... would have difficulty in fitting in the school system ...

In school, there are house rules. We behave accordingly. Maybe there is some flexibility, but we need to find out and see how far it can be stretched. And, the same applies to questions in exercises, tests and examinations. They do have their model answers. And, iza, you always provide an answer deviates to the model answer, which in all cases, does have a slim chance to be accepted.

I remember once you did a research on internet on the Moon ... but eventually, you gained a "cross" on that particular question ... I told you that your answer went beyond the knowledge of your teacher ... you should be careful not going too far next time ...

I remember once I told you to hold back your creativity in subjects other than art ... the ultimate goal of an answer to a question is to demonstrate your understanding of the topic ... your teachers have been deceived by the abstraction and complication of your answers.

I remember once you needed to re-do a project. You have sticked 7 coins ( of the same country ) onto a worksheet, instead of ONE as requested. ... you searched all coins papa and mama have, tried to identify the place and the year they were issued ... you found this series of 7 coins, marked their individual value and sum up the total ... you used hours to finish the project instead of the 5 min. You were upset to be rejected. Here you learnt to stick strictly to the brief.

I remember once I found a question on a worksheet had been REWRITTEN. I was so happy to see your teacher eventually noticed that there was a problem with that question ... but you told me you were the one who rewrote it. When you knew the answer, you found the question not right.

I remember later in your P1 school life, you always wonder when to be more PRECISE, when to be more GENERIC ... you lose your confidence ... I know it is more than the question itself but the intention behind the question.

You always make careless mistakes, especially on Maths. You miss the easiest and bingo the most difficult ones. Situation has still not yet been resolved, even you check your papers for six times ...

And, this was peculiar ... you got stuck by this "SIMPLE" question ...

You were asked to circle the correct answer :
"The rabbit is ( in front of / behind ) the apple tree."
You were frozen like a stone for more than 5 min. I thought you forgot the meaning of " in front of / behind " ...
but you said,

" A tree does not have a front or rear side."

It sounds stupid. But it is not. This will not incite a disturbance to most of us (not only children) ... but to you ... I did not talk to your teachers on all of these, however I did communicate with them twice ... didn't know whether these were coincidences ... following with the discussions were reports on your misbehaviors ...

The more you (and I) understand the rules of the game, the better you (and I) play the game. And, you do better and better now.

Can't you do well in school (and exams) while maintaining your sense of wonder and astute perception of the world?
Yes. I believe in you.


Thanks SO MUCH to Just me, Yanyan and Yoli, your thoughts warm our hearts. You don't know how important your words to us!


Justine said...

Iza seems to be such a brillant and imaginative child and most of the time, brillant children do not fit into the educational system. I used to be a teacher and was so disappointed by this sometimes narrowminded environment that I quit and started designing clothes, my first passion. I'm sure Iza will have a great life and will do what she wants because she's a great child and the artistic gifts she has are so precious!!

Yanyan said...

alliot, you are a wonderful mum, a wonderful mum writes such a special letter. I am going to send you an email later when I am alone, so I can write and think. much love to Iza.

kenza said...

Oh! I am so so touched by this! It is wonderful of you to share it as well. You are such an amazing mother and you understand your daughter so well. One can feel it in your words.
Iza is such a lovely and gifted child. Let her be that way and encourage her. Yet I agree that it does not mean being without a certain structure.
Thank you again.

Fei An said...

I think Iza is so special and gifted, she thinks like Leonardo da Vinci:) Alliot, if I were you, I would not care so much about the School system in Hongkong, and not so much about the teachers、 impression and comments to her. You understand her better and you will learn to know which is the better way to let her grow strongly. Maybe there has an education system to this kind of gifted children, 也许你应该研究一下怎么让她的天赋发扬光大而不是觉得很struggle, 在面对普通人的教育体制和教育者面前。
最后,非常同意,you are an amazing mother:)

Evelyne said...

J'ai été confrontée au même problème avec Camille, qui était une enfant surdouée mais incomprise. Très vite elle a été rejetée du système, et au collège les professeurs ne la voulaient plus dans leur cours parce qu'elle posait toujours trop de questions...
Avec mon expérience je pense qu'il faut faire confiance au système dans lequel évolue l'enfant, même s'il n'est pas parfait. Voir le côté positif des choses, et l'habituer à se conformer aux ordres. En lui disant qu'à la maison on peut penser autrement et être créatif mais qu'en ce moment ce n'est pas ce qu'on nous demande.
Iza est encore très jeune pour se poser autant de questions.
Ses dons elle les aura toujours parce que tu es vigilante.

Yoli said...

I agree 100% with Fei An, she needs another environment to thrieve. She is brilliant, far deeper in understanding than the teacher and the material. My advice would be to speak to the teachers because you do not want to crush her spirit. If her confidence in herself and her knowledge are dismissed or given a bad grade then you will have a real problem in your hands. You do not want beautiful Iza to become depressed and discouraged. You have in your hands a unique child who one day may very well change the world. You have to be her champion, talk to the teachers, do not be afraid. Show them all the examples you have just shown us.

Much love,

joop said...

All the best to special iza and her special mom...it's a long road ahead but I know it's gonna be a great journey for both of u.

alliot / iza said...

My heartfelt thanks to you all! We try to adjust our mind and heart whenever we hit a block during this school year ... iza learns a lot of lessons (apart from the knowledge from books) and grows a LOT.
Many times, i feel like formating her mind ... and, i know this formating process is so critical ... we are now thinking of making a voice instead of staying mute.

just me said...

Without great thinkers, there will neither be progress nor innovation. Iza is very special, and her creativity and intellect need to be nourished. You must be her advocate, and not let the educational system discourage her to be her true self.

Jeanne-ming said...

A Brilliant letter Alliot from a loving Mother who really listens and understands her daughter. Maybe you were like her when you were young and you needed someone to grasp your brilliant and creative mind.

Whatever happens to Iza, no matter how her education unfolds, to read this letter and to know that her mother understands will save her and keep her from being crushed and formatted.

I have a niece, Isabelle who lives in Shanghai and is educated in a similar enviornment and her mother too, wonders and wonders...She and Iza are the same age.