By San Ying (11 years old)
Tuition is a word most children dread but for me, it depends. Tuition of course, is beneficial and educational but it sometimes becomes a torturous chore for students who have to attend two or more tuition classes in a week for a subject and yet still flunk their grades.
My enjoyment, co-operation and performance in a subject depends on what kinds of teachers I get. Are the instructors good at communication and impartation? Do they know the subject matter well and knowledgeable about things in general? Are they fair and have a sense of humour? I definitely put high expectations on a private tutor when my parents are paying good money for her services.
I recall when I was a little girl of four, my mother engaged an English tutor for me. I threw a gigantic tantrum but that did not deter the lady teacher. She was real patient and gave me a sweet to pacify my crankiness.
Before long, I began to enjoy the lessons. My tutor used flash cards which kindled my interest to learn. I could easily relate the words to the picture and took to learning English like a duckling to water. Folks were praising me left, right and centre for my cleverness but just when I was doing really well, the lady teacher migrated to England. How I hated saying goodbye to her then.
Within a month, my mother sourced another tutor for me. I thought lessons would be as enjoyable as the previous tuition class but it was a living hell. The she-dragon made me memorise 100 words within 10 minutes. Who on earth does that? Why would a seven-year-old need to work so hard anyway? The words could barely sink into my head, what more to say of committing them to memory?
When I did not perform well in a test, the she-dragon punished me harshly by dishing out a harsh scolding and spanking my palms with an 18-inch wooden ruler while I stood petrified, imagining actual fire coming out from her big ugly nostrils. I complained to my mother about my horrible teacher and asked her if I could quit. It took much pleading to obtain her consent though.
Mother engaged another tutor in a matter of two weeks. I liked the teacher immediately and my English improved by leaps and bounds. Today, I am staring proudly at my English test paper which has an A+ written on it. Whenever someone asks me, “Why are you so good at English?” My answer is, “It’s thanks to tuition classes but it has to depend on who the tutor is.”