Mentos breath

A teacher friend told me that it is cruel to start the PSLE 3 days after Children’s Day. I had not thought of it that way until she said so. Exams had always been a source of stress for students, but the tuition students I’m teaching did not seem stressed over the PSLE. They are still as cheerful and noisy as ever. I doubt they felt the pressure on Children’s Day.

Last night was the last tuition session for this year, and we would not be seeing each other (most likely) until the start of next year, or a get-together party on the last week of this year. The 3 students got a tube of mentos each from me halfway through the lesson. It was meant to help them take their mind off the pressure and give them something enjoyable, but I guess they were not desperately in need of the stress reliever. Perhaps P6 is still a little young to be feeling the stress. Enjoy innocence while it lasts, guys!

I have had to bribe a student with mentos previously to keep his attention while he did the exercise and I marked and pointed out his mistakes. It became such that they always asked for mentos and I would dole out 1 or two for good work or good behaviour. Not that it was a very effective bribe, but it helped a bit. I mean, they can easily afford to buy mentos of their own, but I think they enjoyed cajoling me into giving them rewards.

They have almost finished the whole tube by the time we finished our lesson. The massive amounts of mentos they chewed released a fresh minty smell into the air. The funny thing is that they would take a deep breath at the count of 3 and breathe out their mentos breath and then laugh like crazy. It’s fun being 12 years old.

Despite my initial apprehension at having to teach and guide them when I first started tuition, I find myself looking forward to Thursday nights when I get to see them. Healthy, happy kids that are full of hope and not yet embittered by the demands of a meritocratic society.


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