Expectations about tuition and performance

A lot of A level students seek out tuition. This is because they have been constantly failing in school. As much as we try to help, I think some students also have a misinformed view of what they are seeking when looking for tuition. I hope this can help provide a little guidance/perspective.

Let me explain. Teachers from elite schools in Singapore purposely make it tough for their students expanding upon the current syllabus so wide and so deep that every one fails not because they are incapable but because they cannot possibly know everything. But their teachers capitalize on that. So as a result, many go out to seek tuition hoping to get out of the doldrums.

So when the tutors come into the picture we all try our best to help but the outcome is not always desired. Why is that? Because we are not our student’s school teachers. Some of us I dare say far exceed the capability of the school teachers (I can’t blame the school teachers because most of us who leave are very experienced and when fresh teachers take over they have not accumulated the experience as yet).

But unfortunately, we are not the ones in school marking our student’s papers or setting the questions. As a result there is a discrepancy when it comes to the grades. When the school teachers come across the answers, whilst some may be impressed the others treat it with contempt. I have got a student who got scolded by his teachers because he dared question his teacher and was asked to just follow the teacher’s suggested answer instead and no explanations given. Back in my class I systematically broke down the questions and explained why the suggested answers are not good enough and how to further improve it.

For school teachers, they hold great power over their students because they decide whether the students get the grade. And some of them will scoff at answers that did not seem to come from them. It is a hit on their ego and it takes great humility to concede that there is a better answer, way or solution. Very few of my colleagues in school have that. Because we have been up in front teaching and talking down to the students. Even I have to constantly remind myself because I want to get better and better at my craft.

So what are tutors good for then? You might ask. We are good for that last final exam. Because we spend our waking moments thinking about that final hurdle. We study the examiners. We know their quirks and their patterns. What we do all boils down to that last final exam. So we treat it with utmost respect and care. Want the proof? Just ask any of us how our students fare versus their compatriots. COMMENT.


  • On July 04, 2016