A mum shares "I'm a bag of nerves!" a day before her son's PSLE results

lead image

Anxiety levels are at an all-high as D-day looms over us. Tomorrow, my son's PSLE results will be out and all I want to do is crawl under the duvet, and never come out!

Oh no! the dreaded day is here.

I don't know who is more stressed. Me or my son.

Honestly, looking at him, you wouldn't think that his entire future was at stake. Nothing seems to worry that boy. And why should he care? He has me, his poor mother suffering through sleepless nights for the last week. I cannot eat, I cannot concentrate on work, I can't even shop with a clear mind.

I look at make-up in the stores thinking, should I splurge, or should I save because my son might need it all (and we still have his younger brother to think of)!

We have already spent a mini fortune on his tuitions. Was it an investment or is it money down the drain? I guess the results will tell.

The amount that Singaporean parents spend on tuition for their kids can add up to a crazy figure. But we all do it, because we want to give our children the best. We want to make sure they learn, understand concepts, theories and apply them in their work.

The days leading up to this 'big' exam involved my son’s tutors coming in and out of our home, with extended lesson time, sometimes even spending meal times with us- all because we needed him to be well-prepared for the exam.

My son had a hard time grasping the problem sums in his math syllabus. But looking at his textbooks, assignments, and test papers, I found that even I was scratching my head.

And that is when the guilt pangs started. Here I was scolding him for not being able to solve the sums and telling him that he was obviously not paying attention when I couldn’t even solve a single one of the sums.

Was the syllabus really this difficult when I sat for my PSLE? I doubt so!

Kids have become so frightened by this exam, that even our education minister and other officials have spoken out and said that rankings are not so important.

I applaud the intentions, but Singapore has been so academic-focussed with such a competitive ethos for so long now, that it is difficult to escape from this looming shadow. And the looming shadow is about to engulf us (probably) tomorrow!

I would like to say that I don’t care how my son scores, as long as he has tried his best. But I have to admit, a good score matters to me. More than it probably should.

But, honestly, look at the implications. This aggregate score is what will get my son into a good school, to further his education. Isn't this a make or break for him? If he ends up in a school that’s not branded, would he get the same quality of teaching as the 'elite' school kids would?

Would his peers be ‘bad seeds’? Would this make him feel inferior to his friends and relatives who have gotten into a better institution? All this plays in my mind. All the time.

And when my cousins ask me how he did, there's going to be a comparison. It's inevitable. If he doesn’t do well, this year's Christmas gathering is not going to be an enjoyable one.

Over the weekend, when the date of the release of results was announced, it finally hit my son. He has been pretty cool about the whole exam- saying "It's over, let's not talk about it."

What??? When he got home after each paper, I would call and ask, "Taj, how did it go? Were the questions tough? Could you answer? Did you spend at least 15 minutes checking the whole paper? Do you think you can score an A?"

I could barely get a word out of him. And when he did speak, his response was... "Mum, please stop asking me so many questions. I can't remember what the questions were, they were okay. Let's not talk about it. There's no point right? It's over and I can finally have some fun!"

That left me a little stunned. Are all kids taking it this easy?

PSLE mums, is this how you're feeling too? 

My niece on the other hand, is like the flip side of the coin - she came home weeping, saying the Science paper was horrifying. The niece who studies all the time. That got me even more worried. Did my son not even realise it was a tough paper? Is this the stark difference between how girls and boys deal with such things?

Okay, calm down and breathe, Pavin. There's really nothing you can do about it. Like he said, it's over. Now pray for the best. And wait....

Well, the wait is finally over - and tomorrow we go together as a family to collect his results.

At the end of the day, I know he tried his best, and so did we.

And I have to find reassurance in the fact that hey, after all, I didn't do that great in my PSLE examination and yet I turned out pretty darn good (or so I think!).

Another positive is that through his PSLE journey our family has grown -- his tutors have become so close to us, joining us for family meals and celebrations. My aunt who coached him for Punjabi (his second language), will be standing by the phone tomorrow at 11am, waiting to hear how he performed. We've all become a team, cheering him on.

I guess nothing glues you together as a family like standing behind a kid studying for his PSLE.

So mummies, give your child a tight hug before he tucks in tonight. Let him know that you're there for him, unconditionally, amidst success and failure.

All the best for tomorrow! Give your baby (and yourself) a li'l treat after this long journey together. You guys definitely deserve it!

Okay, now where’s that Panadol?

How are you feeling about the release of your child’s PSLE results? We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a note in the box below!