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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Moments that keep me going on

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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.
If you take teens seriously, they’ll take you seriously too.

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… 🙂

Discipline Not Abuse

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I thought this is a nice short clip on disciplining children.

I want to share some useful discipline methodology which I have learned from Sunday school (My husband shared these tips with me). I find them particularly useful with my own students. 🙂
– Maintain eye contact when you are talking to the kids.
This ensure that (1) you have their attention, (2) they can “see” and “read” your face and (3) that they “know” you are not talking down at them.

– Try to squat instead of bending down to the same level during the conservation.
– When kids do not behave, do not ask them to go back to their room. ( The time-out place should not be their room or their comfort territory).
– The time-out place should be a safe place in the house where there are no toys and where the kids do not like to be in.
It can be a simple corner in the house where the kid will have to stand for a period of time.

– Let the kid know the time he will be placed in the time-out zone. (a guide can be about 1 min per year. Eg a 10 year old will have a time out period of 10 min )
– Let the kid know what is expected from him at the end of the time-out, ie an apology or participation in some activity.
– PRAISE and ENCOURAGE them for any little effort they put in. All children ( in fact, even us adults) loves to be praised ; )
Although I am all for non-violence towards children, however, I still believe in the idea of Mr Cane. (perhaps due to my Asian blood, Hee).

Mr Cane should be used in situations where all time-out and reasoning doesn’t work and should only be used on their legs or bums.  Caning should only be carried out by parents.
I remembered my dad and grandmother caning me when I was young. ( up to Primary 5. Hehe. Quite embarrassed to admit that i was quite a mischevious girl who likes to throw tantrums when being corrected).
I was probably too young to realise it was wrong or I was just being spoilt and being a nuisance.
The caning, especially from my dad, drew boundaries for me.
I have never blame them. In fact, I am pretty grateful to them for teaching me to differentiate right and wrong behaviour at an age where I am not capable in doing yet.
Thank God, they did not over-do the caning such that I do not feel their love for me.

Children will always test our limits.
They do not realise that our patience is as deep as our love for them.

My first winter in my tuition journey

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End Of Year (EOY) examinations are finally over! Whee…
It has been a tiring 2 months for me. I think i have accumulated close to 200 sessions in the past 2 months. Every student of mine was cramping last minute sessions. Haha.
I’m so thankful when the examinations ended. I celebrated by spending a relaxing week watching my favourite Pastor’s sermons, shopping in neighbourhood markets and catching up on my facials. 🙂
However, soon after that, fear starts to creep inside me. Some of my students does not want to continue tuition during the holidays and some of my students have graduated.
I began to browse on the internet for assignments. I am into a third relaxing or slack week now and i still have not found any new students. For a moment, I am expecting myself to slip back into my usual pessimistic mode any time. Monthly income is a very real issue. And having an analytical nature, i know the stress is coming from the deeper desire that i do not want my parents to worry about me or rather i want to look good in their eyes. This expectation crippled me at times.
However, i thank God for His presence and wisdom in my life.
“If God opens doors, who can close? And if God closes doors, who can open?”
“No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”
And i just decided one night, while i am laying on bed, that i will not try to look good in anyone’s eyes, except my Heavenly Father alone.
As i reflected how my Heavenly Father supply and prosper (financially, mentally, emotionally) me in the past few years, i realises that His blessings are already there, we just need to believe and humble ourselves to accept them.
Stress did not manage to get to me, even though I am still browsing for tuition assignments daily.
I know that this is just a normal winter in my tuition journey and this season will pass soon. Most importantly, God has already provided the finances/resources for this winter. I just need to walk in His plan and not try to meet my own ‘lofty’ expectations that i can show off to my parents and friends. 

I just know that i have to wait upon Him [expect, look for, and hope in Him] and we(I) shall spread my wings and soar like eagles,
we (I) run and don’t get tired,
we(I) walk and don’t lag behind. [Isaiah 40:31]