After being used to acting cool and matured during my teenage years, I had kind of forgotten what it is like to be child-like. To dance walking down the stairs, play with bubbles when i feel like it, imagining funny movements i can do when i am bored. All forgotten until I started full-time tutoring again. 🙂
Hanging out with children is really a cool experience for me. I not only know what is FYI and TBC, I also now know what is CMI and ROFL. Haha.
They are imaginative and full of talents. They are not afraid to make mistakes and that is why some of them (I feel) are being seen as rebellious, when they do not do what other people expect them to do.
It often surprises me how much kids are willing to self-disclose and share their ideas too. One of the most important factors in attracting teens, or in fact anyone, is making them feel respected.
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I have a 13 year-old tuition boy who is pretty intelligent but not exactly wise (yet). He has some strange habits of rushing through his paper and thus he makes A LOT of careless mistakes. Also, he likes to feel the thrill of completing his homework in the shortest time possible before his lesson. Hence, most of the time in our first few tuitions, he will end up handing up a lot of slipshod work or un-attempted questions to me.
I am quite frustrated by these actions of course. Angry especially because i know this child got so much potential but due to his bad attitude towards work, his life (as a student) is so average and full of failures. 🙁
I did try explaining to him but he has a bag full of excuses. So we wrote down rules for each other regarding tuition. Each time, he left an question un-attempted and simply draw some workings for any question, he will get a hard “kiss” on his palm by a plastic ruler. I got his parents’ permission for this and they are so happy that there is someone helping to discipline their child for them. I don’t understand why. But i thank God that they trust me.
Definitely, i do not use this method on all my kids. Some kids are rebellious and beyond the age of using force to draw boundaries for them. This child is not rebellious and each time, after he is punished, i told him i do not want to see Mr Ruler again. I told him he is still a very lovable person but I hate this attitude of his. Of course i never scold him if he fails to understand certain concepts after numerous times of explanation. I encourage him when he show the slightest effort of improving the quality of his work.
It seems that he understands. He achieved distinctions in both his Mathematics and Science after half a year of tuition. He told me something that touched me greatly. “Cher… i only pass my Mathematics once in primary school ( during p2) and i never know i can pass it again.”
I encouraged him further, ” You did not only pass, you ace it.” His face is so flattered, yet so full of confidence. I am so glad. I hope he can continuing to taste the joy of passing/ace-ing his examinations from now on.
Academic aside, now I’m trying to build some good habits in him like sending me to the door after tuition. He will forget sometimes and rush to his PC straight after tuition, expecting his mum to open the door for me. Another journey with great harvest awaits… 🙂