Sunday, February 20, 2011

TK1Nite - A look at Tanjong Katong Sec School

Had the opportunity to visit my alma mater yesterday. Called TK1Nite, it was an event organised by the Parent Support Group as an introduction to the school as well as an opportunity for parents and teachers to meet so as to gather information on how their wards have been performing and how parents can play a part in the child's progress.

The event kicked off at 4pm with a guided tour around the school by a student leader. I'm impressed by the outgoing nature of all these student leaders. I know of adults their age who cannot relate as well to peers, not to mention a 15-16 year old who must leader a group of parents as well as answer questions. Ok our guide was not perfect but who said everything must be perfect?

Facilities in the school are top-notch. Being an autonomous school does help in some ways. Projector screens in every classroom, vending machines selling sandwiches, well-maintained soccer pitch and clean environment. I was impressed with what I saw.
After the tour and a short visit of the classroom, we were led to the auditorium. I played my part during the donation drive for money to build this auditorium although I never had the opportunity to study in this new campus or use any of the facilities. But I'm proud that it's in such tip-top condition some 15 years on. The fact that D is a student there and maybe baby J later makes me more proud that I did my part.

The popular TK Band came on and played a few numbers for the parent crowd. I've never heard them other than the outdoor band competition in '96. They were good. I guess the present batch would have kicked my cohort's butt big time. I guess thats were all the edusave money went to. And I think its all worth it.

Next up was the principal and a few other teachers who described to us the activities prepared for our ward, the core values to be taught and how as parents we can help achieve this goal. I loved the fact that as much as the school places emphasis on academic performance, it places much focus on character building.

One particular difference. N is in Mayflower Secondary School and for her foreign exchange programme she went to Japan for a tour. I didn't see much value in that tour except a girl who came back wanting to visit Japan more, eat the nice food there and lamenting there's no snow in Singapore. And she flew on Singapore Airlines. And as parents we forked out nearly SGD2k? Anyway Tanjong Katong will have a trip in year 3 or 4 where they will fly to places like Cambodia, India or Vietnam to learn about the culture and lifestyle of the local people. According to the Program Head, one parent actually called to ask them why they are flying JetStar instead of other airlines. I like the fact that they are flying JetStar. It's less of a burden on parents and what's wrong with flying on JetStar?

After the auditorium it was the fully air-conditioned school hall for the buffet dinner. Prior to the food there was a video montage and tributes to some of the parents who have played their part over the past 4 years. Many more parents from each class (average of 6 in each of the 8 classes) volunteered to put up this event. The video montage was well done, the tribute fitting and the food was good. And many of the teachers, parents and volunteers we met were very friendly and outgoing.

What surprised me most was the attitude of the teachers. Mostly overheard it seems like every teacher was trying hard to assure parents that the jump to secondary one is a big one for students and not to go into a seizure... yet. One of them gave the best example when he/she said that to get an A* in primary school was >=85 whereas its now >=75 for an A1.

There's a greater emphasis on oral examination starting from 2012 and D's not really opening his mouth when it comes to speaking Chinese. When we approached D's Chinese teacher, he also assured us that there's more than enough time to get him up to speed. He sounded confident. I think they have a plan. I like what I saw and heard~

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