Saturday, July 28, 2012

Parental advisory

I'm been on hiatus for a while now, being ambitious by taking up 2 roles between teaching and event organising. Being I'm this company really made me learn, and despite the mess and chaos of the (dis)organisation, I'm actually happy.

I try to deceive myself that the cute guy in the office was not a huge factor to that happiness.
This job is peculiar to me in many ways. Firstly, it combines both my passions, education and events organising. Secondly, I grew up not going to any tuition centre or having intensive lessons like some if the students here. I mean I was a lazy bum in my younger days when manga and fiction had precedence over math.

I ramble.

There are some observations which I've made over the months, over the stories that my boss and colleagues share with me. Some hilarious, others quite sobering.

Recently my ever friendly centre manager was traumatised by a parent who demanded to see my boss for her son's ailing grades. My boss wasn't in the office (dodged a bullet there!) and she instead lashed out at him. I don't suppose customer service is something I take to very well, however if I were there, I would have bitch slapped her.

Okay I exaggerate. In any case, this parent was blaming the centre. I don't teach her son, but from the other tutors who do, her son is lazy and just plain…blase about his studies.

Standing on the other side of the fence, I can understand her frustrations. I speculate, but perhaps the situation went a bit like this:

She knows her son is not performing well in school and is eager for his performance to improve. So being the resourceful parent, you seek out your friends for recommendations and enrolled your son into one. After throwing in money for a few months, you hope to see improvement and yet, the same result happens. Any average consumer would be upset. After all, when you buy something from a supermarket, you expect that some sort of utility, or returns for the money you paid.

There's a catch.

If I were there, I hoped to tell her that education and learning doesn't quite work that way. Teaching is really more of an art, part performance, part technical and all round dynamic. Learning is not something that can be taught, only encouraged and inculcated. After all, even the most enthused teachers can only go so far within 1.5 hours in the lesson. Parents spend most of their time with their child, shouldn't that love for learning start at home, groomed in schools, and pursued at length at tuition centres?

I shudder and give a forlorn look at the centre manager who took the bashing. Does he know he is taking a beating for the rest of society that have allowed for such parents? Does he know that the problems lies much deeper. It seeds from a parents' insecurity, a society's competitiveness and unforgiving attitude to failure. It seeds from capitalism - that everything that can be commodified will be  - where humane values like learning and passion is assumed to have a monetary value.

My parental advisory, albeit a naive one, is that your child needs to own his/her learning. If there is no sense of ownership, then they will never work hard for it. Pouring in money into tuition will only give a false sense of entitlement for your child, that he/she deserves getting good grades because an external teacher will always be there to somehow make them score - give them the special formula to the A.

A distinction must be earned and gained, not bestowed. Money may buy you grades, but it can never buy you distinction.

No comments:

Post a Comment