I think I might have a RobertA in the making (her real name is C.) in my English Enrichment class.
No... she is not one of those kids that stand out from the crowd. In school, she is in the E class. That means she is 4 classes away from the TOP class in a school that takes the class rankings pretty seriously. The lower classes are deemed incapable of stretch. When I started teaching her during one of the December compo workshops, she was not outstanding in any way.
Sometimes, there are children who sparkle at you and you begin to expect much more of them when you move them along their learning paths. You know, like at the race horse track, there are sometimes "favorites" tipped to win? They look good these favourites - lean, muscular, aggressive. Sometimes too, during the race, a skinny little horse with spindly legs, who never attracted much attention, races forth and blossoms into the lead?
This is the skinny horse with spindly legs.
Something about the things we've been doing enthused her. She first produced amusing drawings which showed that she played with her work. And to me, that is a good thing. Play, in Dr Pet's classes, is NOT a dirty word.
I love that red-faced stick figure!!
And THEN, last night, coming home from a dinner and sleepy too, I was jolted awake because she sent me a POEM. Now this wasn't just PLAY-work... this was HARD play-work. And what a poem too! I am told she was seized with inspiration after listening to Custard the Dragon HERE. I have C.'s permission to reproduce her work here.
As the soothing music filled my ears,
my eyelids drooped down low.
Before the moon shone on my face,
I drifted off to sleep.
I dreamt of sweets and chocolates,
and a wide range of food.
Lollipops, fudge cookies, candy galore,
with extra chocolate sauce.
Before I knew it,
I was drooling on my pillow.
I rode dragons, unicorns,
and raced with knights.
I could fly like fairies,
And swing on trees.
Swim like mermaids from sea to sea.
I took a bath in strawberry – milk - falls,
then visited candy cane canyon.
My friends were there,
my family were too,
but friendship hasn’t end.
Gumdrop teddy bears, candy kangaroos!
We played all day with something like football with, chocolate coated shoes.
I started getting tired,
and gave out a long slow yawn.
I laid on the cotton candy floor and grabbed a Malteser from the cold pebbled path.
Taking a bite was like a poison apple dream.
I woke up with my mind full of irresistibly delicious ideas.
I sketched out my dreamscape, and decided to create a wonderfully delectable poem
For mummy and Dr.Pet
Aiyo... I was trying to teach them writing techniques to ace their PSLE compo... and this one just went and used almost all the techniques she has learnt from me to produce POETRY. Ok... ok... there are some eensy weensy grammar errors, but the rich writing techniques I taught her are mostly there! This goes to show that you can never predict what children are capable of.
All the more why we should not label our kids. The MOE may do it but parents should never believe these labels. Parents should just believe in their kids.