The Resident Chai-nese Expert In Our Home

Guess who?

Sorry ah, a bit "kwa zhang" - I didn't put him up to it, Rockstar pushed the stool in to rest his file on because I wouldn't let him bring that on to the bed with the baby (she'll eat it and it's grubby with pencil and playdoh etc)

Sorry ah, a bit "kwa zhang" - I didn't put him up to it, Rockstar pushed the stool in to rest his file on because I wouldn't let him bring that on to the bed with the baby (she'll eat it and it's grubby with pencil and playdoh etc)

It was either that, or this post would've been titled Another Putonghua Tutor Bites The Dust. We came this close ok. About 2 weeks ago, when Rockstar walks in the door upon returning from a tuition class...

Me: How was chinese, darling?

Rockstar: It was ok.

Me: What did you learn?

Rockstar: Nothing.

Me: What d'you mean nothing, tell me one word you guys were learning today.

Rockstar: I don't have anything to tell you. I didn't learn anything today.

Me: How can you spend a whole hour with 3 other kids learning nothing?

Rockstar: I guess we learnt something, but I've forgotten what it was. So I told you I learnt "nothing".

I proceed to ban him from laptop/Youtube time until he's willing to tell me one thing he learned in his class. Because I don't believe he can't remember a single thing when he just ended his class 20 mins ago.

As the evening wears on, Rockstar begins to fret - but regardless of all else he says to Kings and me, still insists he "learnt nothing". Finally, close to bedtime after umpteen wrangle attempts, Rockstar tearfully comes to me for a cuddle and to say he learned the word "dog" in Chai-nese.

Relieved (it's hard saying no to your kids!), I let him disappear with my laptop and forget about it until the school weekly email that mentions they have just learnt the word "dog" in school.

Me: You learnt "dog" in Chinese from school, didn't you, not your tuition class.

Rockstar: Yeah.


Rockstar: Because I really wanted the laptop. 

Me: But you didn't learn that word in tuition class.

Rockstar: No, at school. I told you I can't remember what I learnt in Chai-nese class.

(You see you see this stubborn guy)

Me: You can't expect me to believe that - how can you walk in the door and forget 20 minutes later what you learnt, and then still remember what you learnt in school for 20 minutes, goodness knows how long ago??

Rockstar: Don't know. I just can't. But see I know the word "dog" (from school).

Me: Are you trying to make me change your tuition class again?

Rockstar: Noo. But I just don't remember anything from the class. <Shakes head in bafflement. Looks up at ceiling.>

Me: You know you have to have a class right, if it's not this one you're going to have to adjust to another one.

Rockstar: Yeah. I don't need to change classes. I just don't remember anything. <Looks up at ceiling again>    

This is when I call the tuition center to complain. Every once in awhile they don't believe me and do things like change tutors without informing me, or for that matter the sub/new tutor re Rockstar's fusspot-ness, (or else the person I was dealing with who schedules tutors leaves, which has also happened before) and then I have to give them The Call. Because truth be told, I don't know if it's a culture thing, but Rockstar has had various Chinese tutors who will always attempt kill and drill no matter what we tell the center (probably thinking I am an over-protective parent who spoils) and then this'll happen....

"Yes, I know I can find out what he learnt from his tuition books. My point is he is insisting he learns nothing. And I don't believe in a class of 30 at school for 6+ hours he can remember what he learnt there the previous week and here he walks in the door straight from a class of 3 or 4 and remembers nothing." 

And so the latest is, Rockstar is now the Resident Chinese Expert in our home, charged with teaching all of us Chinese. We should've done this ages ago. Works out great, except for a teeny tiny thing.


IMG_8274 IMG_8275

(Also, we're having feeding issues. These are still a little sweet and cute. Wait'll I cave and put up the really scary ones. A thing with Future Boyfriends comes to mind...)

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About Aileen

I blog about living and raising my son in Hong Kong - where toddlers have entrance interviews, parents keep test score spreadsheets, private school debentures can trade for more than half a million USD. Raising Rockstar's the most important thing I'll ever do. We show our true colors by the choices we make in bringing up our children. My blog is a message to my toddler son, about what the world and his parents are like today - for when he becomes a teenager and knows everything.
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  • CA

    In defence of some good tutors and tutoring centres that do exist, Rockstar may have just had a lesson where he didn’t learn anything new and that the class was spent going over past things, so to Rockstar he didn’t learn anything. However, I have seen the other side where the tutors are rubbish and the kids learn nothing really.

    Regarding the drilling – although I don’t particularly push this a lot, I do still believe that it can and should play a tiny part in helping a person acquire a new language. When I do use this, I try to limit the amount of time spent on this as it does get boring and repetitive very quickly. A good educator should be able to balance this.

  • mun

    Yay, so Rockstar takes his new role as the chinese teacher seriously. Now mommy and the Miss will know how to speak chinese fluently very soon. 🙂

    Has the Miss been crying in the photos above? Her eyes looked all red and puffy.

    • Aileen

      Oh sorry actually I thought it was very obvious she had “so poor thing” face and had been crying and crying… I’m yet to put up the full-out bawling ones…

      The chinese is very very hard going on me. I keep wondering when Rockstar notices I have mental block to learning chim words…

      • mun

        Doh! my bad. Are all the cryings due to the Miss teething again?

        Aha, will teacher Rockstar be giving mommy a written Chinese test anytime soon? If it is all conversation chinese, then I don’t think Rockstar will notice. 🙂

      • Aileen

        No, I think in this case I’m getting bullied bigtime 🙁 Problem is I didn’t realize at first. She “spoils” real fast and I hadn’t realized initially that she was especially doing that to ME – which is a little embarrassing because I really didn’t think I was the one who would get bullied, I thought I was the “tough” one. Apparently not to her……!

        It’s specific words at the moment that I might also get caught in, like “sausage” or “umbrella,” not the conversational sentences (where I “cheat” in say, a day to day conversation, by slipping english or other words in) – I can’t remember the specific words easily either.

        I also feel the limitation when he revises and isn’t sure – I can’t reinforce his knowledge because he already knows more than me. So if he forgets something, it’s forgotten all the way til the next lesson if at all it’s revised then. And, another silly thing – the tutor writes any comments about what his performance IN CHINESE!! I told them before that I’m unable to support at home and I CANT READ ANY OF THEIR COMMENTS 😀 This at one point elicited raised eyebrows, can you imagine :D:D