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The World Has Changed

The world is changing and moving every second, though you may not notice or want to admit it. Until one day, you notice that you have one or two strands of grey hair, you start complaining about the young generation, you start taking care of your health, etc.

Things are changing but nothing changes…

Thus far, from my more than 10 years of teaching experience, I have noticed the following:

1. The use of technology to assist in teaching

(More than) 10 years ago, I used books and dictionaries to teach. Students sat there obediently, listening to your teaching. The teacher could ask the students to do a lot of homework without getting complaint from the parents. The reason behind is, the students do not have smart phones to play with, thus they could spend the whole day doing homework.

2. The children start questioning

Because of internet and technology, the students now are exposed to more knowledge than the students 10 years ago. They are overloaded with information. Even with the technology to assist in teaching, they are bored, their attention span has become shorter and shorter. The old method of teaching is not suitable anymore. The teacher has to be able to answer all types of questions from the students, ranging from academic to non-academic.

3. The parents also start questioning

The core family is getting smaller; my grandfather had eight children, my father had three children and me, zero (correct at the time of publishing). The consequence is that the parents put (very) high hope on the only child, they want the best for their child and hope their child excels in life. They keep looking for the “best” tutor, without realizing that sometimes the child is the root cause.

I must admit that I am old. I keep up with the latest technology, not only to assist me in teaching, also to have the same wavelength with my students. Nonetheless, I do not grow up in their environment and they do not grow up in mine. The generation gap is still there. Thankfully, there are still a lot of students out there who have the interests to learn and I will keep teaching them.

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?

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.