Tomorrow we begin our PSLE Intensives until December 18th. I would like to congratulate my 2019 PSLE students for their accomplishments and results – from A*s and As and to my student who worked hard to accomplish his B grade, which he believed was not possible.

Sometimes parents ask me how does one get an A*?

There is no perfect model on how to achieve and A* for English. Sometimes, students join me in Primary 6 with a total of 72% and with hard work and determination, go from a B to an A* at PSLE.

Aside from having a good foundation of English, being motivated to attend the extra lessons organised and do the extra work set by the teacher, are some of the ways to achieve this.

When Vocabulary, Editing or Phrasal verbs lists are given, it is important to learn them well.

In the same way, when feedback is given for compositions done and how to improve on them, action is taken by the student and suggestions given by the teacher are implemented in the next composition.

In other words, while having a good English teacher who provides the necessary materials, practice and guidance in the PSLE year is important, being a self-motivated and diligent student is equally as important.

Below is a Primary 6 English composition by one of my students who scored an A* for her 2019 PSLE English. The topic, A Changed Behaviour, came out for Nanyang Pri School SA1 English composition.

We worked on it during one of our Intensives lessons before the PSLE and this is her composition.

Primary 6 English Composition: A Changed Behaviour

Note to students

The model compositions in this blog are to help students generate ideas and to be used as a guide. Students are not allowed to copy the model compositions and then pass them off as their own work, especially in school. It is called plagiarism.

A Changed Behaviour

                The sound of the machine whirring in the background could be heard. The room was blinding white, awash with the bright light from the ceiling. The room was also filled with the odour of antiseptic lotion.

                I looked back down to my mother, taking in her emaciated cheeks and sunken eyes. A tube was connected from her left arm to a stand with a drip. Grasping my mother’s hand in mine, I let a lone tear roll down my cheeks as I recalled my behaviour from before.

“What would mom think if she knew my behaviour from before I had changed?” I closed my eyes as I let my mind whiz back to the past, the time before I decided to change for the better.

                I was a thief. I had stolen so many times that I had lost count. However, I was not doing it for the thrill or fun. I was doing it to get money to fund my mother’s medical bills.

                My mother had been diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer about one year ago and she had to stay in the hospital for costly treatment. My family was not well-to-do and was just getting by. When the hospital presented the bills for the monthly treatment, father struggled to make ends meet. He had to take on two jobs and the pressure made him turn to alcohol. Drinking eventually turned to gambling. Soon my father was fired from both jobs. Before I knew it, my father had left the house, never to return, leaving loan sharks to come banging on our door.

                Admist all the chaotic events in my life, I felt so alone and helpless. With my mother at the hospital, I had to stay at home alone. I decided to get a part-time job to earn some money for my mother’s medical bills. When that was not enough, I turned to stealing. It was the easiest way out.

                I would go to a playground in a rich neighbourhood. I would wait and see who would leave their bags unattended. I had stolen so many times, I did not even get nervous anymore. I had different tactics for different situations and I believed that I would get a steady stream of income from stealing.

                I reached into the glitter covered Smiggle handbag, trying to pull out the newest Iphone X, which I could just see at the bottom of the bag. I shielded the view of the bag from the children at the playground as I pretended to search through the bag for something. I managed to grab the iphone and slid it into my pocket. As I spun around, about to leave, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I flinched involuntarily. Had I been found out? Cold beads of sweat plastered my face as I turned around slowly, about to face whoever it was behind me.

“May! Why are you stealing?”

I recognised that voice. I turned around, only to confirm my suspicion. It was my class monitress, Lily. As she picked up that Smiggle bag, I realised in an instant that the bag and Iphone belonged to her.

“I..I …I didn’t steal. What are you talking about?” I stammered.

I expected Lily to tackle me to the ground and pull out her phone from my pocket and call the police like a classic “hero” in a movie. However, Lily patted me on the shoulder.

“I know you would never steal without a reason. You have been so quiet and sad at school as well. What has been going on?”

Seeing that her face was filled with genuine concern, I decided to open up to her. It was a relief to tell someone my troubles. After recounting my story, I understood that what I had been doing was wrong and I had to change my behaviour. No matter the circumstance, it was wrong to steal.

                Lily gave me a hug and promised to accompany me to speak to my school principal the next day. When my school principal found out about my troubles, she immediately contacted the necessary agencies to help me out. The school also raised finds to help pay for my mother’s medical bills. Lily even accompanied me to visit my mother in the hospital. She was a true friend.

                “Visiting hours are over,” came the announcement, whizzing me back to the present. I gazed at my mother and told myself that I would never steal again. As the saying goes “It is never too late to change.” I was determined to never go back to my old behaviour again.

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