First Day at Primary School


There must be some weird soul out there who could remember their first day at school. I am one of them. I started schooling too early at the age of four years old. I think it was out of convenience than a necessity for my mother to send me to kindergarten because she could then have me around her all the time. The school was just a distance walk from her office. My sister was not able to walk yet. She eventually was not able to walk at all. Only during the time when I was studying in Australia, I learned that she actually suffers from a birth-related sickness called cerebral palsy. I will write a story about her at some other time. We then had a caregiver who tended her while my mother was working. I was probably bored playing alone at home, so then they decided to send me to kindergarten. Two years passed and I was just around six years old when they decided to send me to elementary school.

My father told me during the registration day that all his peers did not find any difficulty at all to enrol their children. My father had to plead the headmaster; his name was Pak Thene, to approve my enrollment. The headmaster was reluctant because I was too young. The required age to start schooling back then was seven years old. I was barely six years old. My posture wasn’t helping my case as I was always the smallest kid among the group. My father then made a pact with the headmaster to ‘trial’ my schooling for just three months reasoning that I’d be sad if I wouldn’t be able to go to school while all my friends had started schooling. The headmaster finally agreed.

Wearing a new white shirt and red uniform, my father took me to school. I was nervous because I couldn’t remember anyone familiar in the same class, all the new faces I saw everywhere. The first lesson was Math. I remember my teacher’s name was ibu Moses. Math was quite easy because my father had started teaching me those simple numbers before. The second lesson was reading and memorising alphabets. I was amazed, I thought schooling was elementary because back then I was already able to read before starting school. So I enjoyed my time, and I gained confidence. Ibu Moses was quite impressed, my father said to me as I grew up.

After the first break, the class resumed. I then found the first challenge. It was handwriting class. I could read but wasn’t able to write yet. My father helped me to be able to read well, but he never taught me how to do cursive writing style. I struggled a lot. I was sweating and all, I couldn’t make the pencil to curve and connect the letters I wrote. I can’t remember if I actually cried in the classroom, maybe not, but I remember clearly coming home crying telling my dad how difficult it was. Several days after that, he then spent a lot of his time helping me learn how to write.


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