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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.

Joneses, can you keep away from me?

You often hear this from your mum: Jenny (the girl next door) is getting the first in the class again, and her Chinese scores 95%! Did you hear me? 95%! And you are only getting 46%, blah, blah, blah…

You may hear this from your wife: Mr. Tan has bought a new car last week, it’s a BMW. When are we getting our old car changed?

You may hear this from your relative: Your cousin is getting married next month. Are you still single? Quickly find someone to marry, you are already old. Don’t be so picky, blah, blah, blah…

You may hear this from your friend: Barbara has given birth to her third child. I can’t imagine that… Wait, you have married for a few years already, right? Still no good news? You should go and see this gynae, I heard he is a good doctor, blah, blah, blah…

You may hear this from your colleague: You remember Mr. Wong? Last time he was just a technician in our factory. Now promoted to director in the new company, damn fast man. Hey, you are still a supervisor? I think you better go and take course, upgrade yourself, then promote faster, blah, blah, blah…

The list goes on…

First things first, why do I need to keep up with people who have a different life from mine? Everyone has his or her own life path that he or she needs to go through. If everyone goes through the same life path, isn’t it a bit dull and boring?

Secondly, if you keep comparing yourself with the Joneses, in the long run, you will find yourself feeling miserable, discouraged and depressed. Unless, you are better than the Joneses; still, you will make other people feeling miserable, discouraged and depressed. It is not a win-win situation either way.

Nonetheless, we are surrounded by all the “kind-hearted” people who will keep comparing us with other people and they will say it is for our own good. We cannot run away from those people, but we can keep ourselves sane by comparing only with ourselves.

If you are a student, keep track on one number, your total marks, your average mark, your Chinese Language mark (If you are poor in Chinese Language and you want to improve it) or any other mark that you like.

If you are an adult, you have more choices, your weight, your bank account balance, how many books you have read in a week? how many calories you have eaten today? etc. It is all up to you. For me, it is how many likes I have collected in a week (Please give me more likes, thanks!)

It is just that simple. The catch is, keep track only one number at a time. By keeping track on only one number, you focus on the one and only thing that you want to improve. Nobody’s perfect, as long as you are improving, even on one single thing, you are on the right track. 

On the other hand, if you think that keeping up with the Joneses will make you have a sense to work harder and a life goal to look forward to, then, it is highly recommended that you keep keeping up with the Joneses 🙂