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A Teacher with a Blue Highlight on Her Hair!

I saw this girl on a TV programme, which the interview was focusing on her father, a hawker stall owner. She has blue highlight on her hair, and her occupation is teacher. Maybe she is an arts teacher, I do not know. But I feel that there is something not right about the hair.

I have nothing against teachers having highlight. It is a personal choice whether you want to have highlight on your hair or not. I am just wondering, if you are a parent, and the tutor you have just hired has obvious highlight on his / her hair, would you continue to engage him / her as your child’s tutor?

Maybe I am the conservative type. I have always wanted a highlight on my hair, especially during festive seasons when other people are  changing a new image by changing hair styles. But, the first thing that comes into my mind is the reaction of parents and students that I am teaching. Because of that, I have been delaying the plan to change my hair style.

Parents, may I have your opinion?

Read Aloud with Children

This is a good post for parents on reading together with children. Parents can do the same for Chinese Language too.


Recently I have been working with my son on reading aloud, because his reading test at school shows his reading speed is below average. I am not too concerned about his reading speed, since I know he can read fast when he doesn’t have to read aloud. But I do want to work with him on reading aloud as a way to improve his self-expression and story telling skills.

To do a good job in reading aloud, kids have to learn to coordinate multiple tasks into a smooth process: “read by eyes”, “process information by brain”, and “read out aloud”. My son is good at each single task, but is not so good at putting all tasks together.

What I have been doing is to find short stories for us to read to each other. One book my son has enjoyed is the FREE Aesop for Children from Libray of…

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How Can I Help My Children?

Singapore is a very competitive country to live in. You compete almost for everything. As parents, you want your children to be best of the best, you want to help your children to excel in school. Yes, everything is for your own good, you always tell your children. But do the children think the same too? If the parents “overdo”, it may have inverse effect on the children.

Nonetheless, as parents, you can still do something to help your children:

  1. Be a role model — Referring to post What We Can Learn From Cats, children learn from their parents. Thus, setting a good example will help the children to have good habits since young.
  2. Give children freedom — Freedom does not mean the children can do anything they want, instead, it means giving respect to the children to choose what they want to do, with “terms and conditions”. Even young children can understand simple explanation why they can or cannot do something. Thus, train them to think on what is right and what is wrong since young will lead to responsible adults.
  3. Use the language — If you want your children to improve in Chinese Language, speak Chinese Language with them. Vice versa, if you want your children to improve in English Language, speak English Language with them. What happens if you want them to be effectively bilingual? My suggestion is, the father speaks English Language and the mother speaks Chinese Language (or vice versa, depending on which language is dominant for the parent) to the children. In that way, children learn two languages at the same time.
  4. Shower children with love, not toys (or hand-held electronics) — This goes without saying, children need attention and time. No matter how busy your schedule is, spend some time with your children and communicate with them. Having dinner together is a good start, even if you have to dine out.
  5. Pay attention to your children’s health — Similarly to item 4, when you are spending time with your children, check out anything unusual about your children. Eyesight, hearing, behaviour, progress of life (eg. one-year-old children should be at least able to stand and walk with support), etc, all these are important to the development of children. Early detection on any unusual about the child is essential to give the child the necessary (medical) treatment or make the necessary adjustment.

All of the above are simple steps that you can take as parents to help your children, without giving them extra pressure on studies. Studies are important, but they are not the whole world for the children. A child with good character and has the resilience to face life challenges will grow into an adult who can succeed in anything he or she wants to do.

My Two Cents to Parents

From my experience of tutoring, I have met different types of parents and students. I have always wanted to share my views on tuition. If you are a parent, please feel free to share your views too.

Below are a few reasons when parents start looking for tutor(s) for their child(ren):

  1. When a child with good results suddenly regresses in his / her study
  2. When a child starts a new school year, for example, getting into Primary 1 or Sec 1
  3. The parents want the child to improve further, even his / her results are good
  4. The child has not-so-good results

I would like to highlight reason (1) When a child with good results suddenly regresses in his / her study. As a parent, before you start panicking and looking for tutors, please find out the reason(s) why the child regresses in his / her study. Most of the time, the child just wants to get your attention, maybe due to the addition of younger sibling. Thus, having tuition may not helps if the mystery is not solved.

For reason (2) and (3), I can understand that the parents want the best for the child. But, please give your child and yourself some time. If the child is doing good in school and he / she already has a lot of homework, there is no need to get extra tuition. The child needs time to rest and play. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. For the child who just starts a new school year, let him / her cope first. If after a few months or after the first exam, and you find that the child cannot cope, then you start looking for a tutor, it is still not too late.

For reason (4), it is obvious that the child needs help. Similarly, the parents need to do some homework before engaging a tutor. Some aspects to consider when you are finding the suitable tutor:

  • Is it one subject or more subjects?
  • Is your child more comfortable with group tuition or one-to-one tuition?
  • For group tuition: Is travelling needed? How much time will be spent on travelling?
  • What is the teaching style of the tutor?
  • How long should the tuition be? For lower primary, please restrict to one hour at most for one subject. It is because young children have shorter attention span.

Finding a tutor is like finding a suitor — Your child does not need a trophy tutor, your child needs a suitable tutor. Instead of asking “How do you charge?” or “What is your highest qualification?”, you can ask “What is your teaching experience?”, “What is your teaching style?” and provide some information about your child to the tutor. It is a two-way communication, you want to understand the tutor, the tutor also needs to understand what your child needs.

Final and the most important aspect to consider, does your child want to go for tuition? I have met with parents who always change the tutor after one or two sessions, just because the child does not “like” the tutor. I believe sometimes it is because the tutor and the child do not click. But if this is repeating for a few tutors, be warned, stop finding tutors immediately. If your child does not want to go for tuition, stop wasting time, effort and money.

For all the tutors out there, I know this post is a controversy. This post is not meant to discourage parents from finding tutor for children, this post is asking the parents to stop and think before finding a suitable tutor. I believe it is a win-win situation for parents and tutors because the tutor and the child can develop a bond that lasts for a long time and the parents also save the worries and troubles to keep finding the right tutor.