Tutoring is an industry unique to Singapore. Never will you see the same situation in any other country because here is where parents hire tutors for every single subject their children take. You wouldn’t believe me if you weren’t local but I’ve got a student who’s got a tutor for English and Science (yours truly), Chinese (ni how ma?), Mathematics (1+1=2…no, no, not 3!!! Why? Errrrr…) and last but not least, art (Draw ze pig proparly now.) Alright, maybe the last subject isn’t so much tuition than to learn something from ze teacher, but you catch my drift. Some parents hire tutors for the most absurd of reasons.
When I first begun as a tutor back in the year….let’s see now…2000, I wasn’t prepared for the politics of the career. (No, I am not making this a career. Not for very long anyway.) I thought all I had to do was to teach the kids 1+1=2 and that was it. No sweat.
Boy, was I wrong.
I met all kinds of moms. You name it, I’ve met it. I’ve even got moms demanding to see my education certificates! Now, that was a little too much. I never went for that assignment.
Luckily for me, I met moms who were genuinely sweet. They made me delicious meals as I wrestled with teaching their kids that 1+1 is really 2. No, no, I was just kidding. The kids are not that stupid. I’m just exaggerating.
And then, there are the moms who think it’s my fault when their kids don’t do well in school.
“How come my children result like thiiis???”
“I’m sorry, Mrs. X. I really don’t know what happened to your child. She might have…”
“What do you mean you dunno? You are the teacher!!”
I can’t very well say that their kid was so weighted down by studies and homework that it’s amazing that they’re still alive, can I? The parents are so concerned over their kid’s ranking in school that they’ll do anything humanly (perhaps even inhumanly) possible to get their kid onto the pedestal. I feel so sorry for the kids.
Granted, there are parents who just want to help their kid, but these are far and few.
But of course, all is not grim when I’m giving tuition because since I always meet humorous kids and I myself enjoy a joke or two, I almost love my job. Almost.
“Teacher, why are you always wearing T-shirts with pictures?”
“Because I like wearing them.”
“It makes you look funny.”
“Thanks, I’ve always aspired to look funny.”
See what I mean?
And then there are the times when you meet cute tutors teaching my student’s sibling at the same time.
“What are you looking at?”
“You are supposed to be doing your work instead of ogling that handsome tutor across the room.”
“I’m not!…Besides, you’re doing it too! And…what’s ogling?”
“Well, I supposed you can’t help it. Ah…the wonders of liking someone…”
“I remember I used to have crushes too…still do actually…”
Man, I love teasing the kids.