Tết, (Lunar New Year) holiday is coming, the biggest and longest festive period of the year in Việt Nam.
Everybody is busy completing their work and preparing to welcome a new year filled with new opportunities.
Schools nationwide also sum up the first term of this school year and hold parents’ meetings before breaking for Tết.
During these parents’ meetings, teachers usually announce students’ results and outline the school's plans for the rest of the academic year.
Everything is peaceful for students who did well, but for those who struggled, parents' meetings are a living nightmare.
Nguyễn Thành Trung, student of a junior high school in Hà Nội, said his parents always expected better results from him, so they scold him after parents’ meetings ended.
“I was really nervous from when my father left home for the meeting until he returned when it finished,” he said.
Many other students feel how Trung does, or even worse.
A recent study of the Mai Hương Daycare Psychiatric Hospital conducted on more than 1,200 students in primary and junior secondary schools in Hà Nội showed nearly 19.4 per cent of them had psychological problems, with studying pressure often cited as a contributing factor.
Experts from the hospital said parents’ expectations put a great burden on students.
Trần Hồng Hạnh, a lecturer of the Psychology Faculty under the Hà Nội University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said the best way to improve the situation was for parents to listen to their children, discover their problems and work with their children to overcome them.
Recently, Ban Mai Primary School in Hà Đông District in Hà Nội impressed parents after changing how it approaches parents’ meeting.
Instead of only teachers and parents attending the meeting like before, students themselves also went and were heavily involved in the action.
The students were divided into different groups to discuss their studying results and goals with their parents, as well as how they succeeded in the term gone by and how they could improve going forward.
Teachers spent time to come to every group, listen and give proposals to parents and students about their obstacles.
After that, the students acted out a short play to declare what they’ve achieved and what they’ve not done, as well as their hopes going forward.
Nguyễn Thị Hương, the mother of a fourth grader of the school, said the meeting was welcomed by both parents and children.
“The children were happy when they talked about their studying whereas parents were happy to listen to them and then understand their development,” she said.
Hương added that when she was small, she was very afraid whenever a parents’ meeting was approaching over fears her results would not satisfy her parents.
But now, to her surprise, Hương’s son looked forward to the meeting.
“He told me that I and other parents would receive special gifts from the students, so I couldn't help but feel curious, and also hope that the meeting would come soon,” she said.
Many of the parents were impressed to see their children confident enough to talk with adults, to present and to act in a play.
After the meeting, teachers delivered paper flowers to parents to write down their feelings about the meeting. Like Hương, most parents said they were fans of the new type of meeting.
Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nương, deputy principal of the school, told Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper that the school changed the format of the meeting to get family members to listen to their children and then work with teachers on their child's development.
Nương added that it was not only good for parents, but also for students.
“They can improve their skills for organising, communicating and be more confident,” she said.
Everyone knows education is very important. It’s related to future of each family and of society, and investing time into children is the most important factor for educating them.
So instead of putting pressure on students, parents should sit down with their children and set suitable targets together. Understanding children’s strengths and weaknesses is the best way to improve their results, and to ensuring they and their families can be happy. — VNS