Thursday, February 26, 2015

Random thoughts: choosing a primary school and choosing your investment

My son will register for his P1 this year.

The initial plan was to follow me to my school, but my wife wanted him to study somewhere nearer, and also together with my niece, so that they can keep each other company.

Today, when picking up my wife from her workplace, I give a lift to her colleague too. This was the fifth or sixth time I heard this: why did I transfer out of my previous school and not wait till my son is ready for P1 so that he could get into a "renowned" school.

During CNY, I was asked to try appealing to get my son to my previous school. 

The renowned school effect suffered from investment herd mentality too. 

I am really glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to a neighborhood school and saw the contrast.

Both schools have their strength. However, due to the profile of pupils, one would never catch up with another in terms of results, at least not in the near time. 

So, if a particular school has a very high percentage of pupils going to express, it means your son has a higher chance of going to express too? Right? WRONG.

Too many factors come into play, the neighborhood school have equally good teachers, but their pupils do not have the cultural assets of tuition and exposure. It matters. Parents involvement matter A LOT.

Pupils learn best when parents and teachers work hand in hand. What happen if pupils are left on their own, without any support beyond sending their children to school?

That is where the advantage of a neighborhood school come in terms of pedagogy. If the teaching doesn't work, it hell shows. 

I pride myself as a results producer, when I come over here, I do not yet know if my methods will produce the same results since I have not go through the rite of passage yet. What I did in my previous school which won praises and gratitude from parents, many of my current colleagues are already doing it, and some are even going beyond what I used to do. 

If I shift the current teachers back to my previous school, does it mean the results will fly even higher? 

The answer is again unclear. One, the pupils might be already at their potential, another is the culture which is vastly different might have made teachers in one particular school not do what they could in another. 

In the end, is it the parents, or the teachers, or the child that is most important?

After I answer this question, I ask myself is buying what gurus buy at same or lower prices the best or safest approach in investing?

Know your child, know yourself. Know your temperament, know your investment. It does not matter if you follow guru or not, it might or might not lead you to fortunes. 


  1. There is indeed a lot of fixation on getting children into the branded schools..

    1. Indeed, and it get on my nerve sometimes

      What is "branded"? The minority tried to get into a school knowingly, I like their sports programme, they have a wide range of Sport CCAs and I want my son to be exposed to rugged sports...

      thats great!

      But they are the minority. When I ask them why do they want to get to a certain school? They say its renowned. I probed further, they say pupils are better influence. Really?

  2. Hi SI,

    Like you, I don't quite believe in branded schools. I can't quite believe what others have to do to just get a chance to get into a prestigious school. Nah, from what I've seen, it all begins before you even go to school. When I taught sec sch, I thought it's primary school that matters. When I taught pri school, I realised that before they go into pri school, it already starts to matter.

    Prestigious school is good for contacts though, but it's more impt towards sec or JC.

    1. It is different for Secondary and JC, because they are already stream/ enrolled according to results.

      If my son gets 4 A*, says he want to go RI, i say go ahead.

      But primary school... erh.....

      Contacts start at primary school too, if you ask those renowned schools with affliation

  3. Sillyinvestor,


    It's the nature vs nurture debate ;)

    If you say nature, then does what you do matter?

    If you say nurture, then every student that comes under your tutelage will have similar results?

    If you say BOTH matters, then WHY ask this question in the first place?

    One day you maybe a principal. Will you insist your teachers follow the same results producing teaching methods you have developed? Or will you encourage your teachers to develop their own teaching methods based on their temperament (but results may be erratic)?

    1. Er.. SMOL

      I have not Nature Vs Nuture in mind.

      I have do not "bark up the wrong tree" or "do simple linear extrapolation" in mind.

      But to answer you question.

      Nuture and Nature are not mutually exclusive.

      What is Nature?

      Innate ability? Most probably you would include also passion, interest, character etc.

      Although I cannot make you taller, I can kill your passion for sports. Nuture or nature?

      Nuture, can you make a female, male?

      80% of pupils are nurtured and the 20% nature and nurture pupils will fly, and the 80% no matter how you nurture them, they can never be the same as the nurture + nature.

      I say nurture, I didn't say creating factory lines.

      Nature needs nurturing.

      But tell me man cannot be eagle, I say bullshit. He cannot be the top 1% perhaps. But with proper nurturing he can be the 99% of anything else, just that he cannot be everything at the same time.

      So yes, I believe in both, and it matters.

      It matters, because it is wrong to think its natural and so nothing can be done. Its like saying we all die, so lets stop living.

      The hypothetical scenario will not happen because I do not have both the ability and interest for it. If one day someone mistakenly think I am good for the job, I will seriously think thrice and four times before I take up the offer, once I do that, I am a administrator not a teacher anymore.

      But, there is not same results producing methods. The same results producing method is only for that teacher who did it with the right passion, right tone, right follow up..etc.

      I will ask my teachers to develop their own methods based on their temperament but stay a open mind on all methods. But they are free to find their niche.

      Factory line production does not work, you cannot take method A from teacher A to ask Teacher B to do. Teacher B can follow the lesson plan to a millimeter and the lesson will flop in teacher B is different from Teacher A. It can only work if A and B share similar temperaments and aptitude.

      I want results, not erratic results, but one method will only produce disaster, not results.

    2. Sillyinvestor,

      Thanks for elaborating on your "Know your child, know yourself. Know your temperament, know your investment. It does not matter if you follow guru or not, it might or might not lead you to fortunes."

      Just kicking the tyre ;)

    3. Hi SMOL,

      No problem for the poking, I almost want to write a whole post on nature and nurture but decide against it.

      You are really kicking a tyre. The CNy add a few rounds of tyres round my tummy

  4. SI

    which school are you teaching previously? mind to share.

    1. Yeh,

      Aihahahaa, I am not falling for that, you trying to trap me right.

      Cannot tell la

    2. hahaha, ok.
      well, if i have a child, i think i will also be a kiasu parent.

      every parent want the best for their children ma.
      but when i grow old, i understand that, study well doesn mean can find good job, can have good future.

      i agree with LP, contacts are important.

    3. Hi Yeh,

      I believed in study well to give them an option. But study well means need to go top schools? I not from top schools.

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