Why Tutorial Centers Are Now Everywhere (And Why You Had Higher Grades Than Your Kids)

Photo: anorexiarecovery1.blogspot

Do you know the different types of teeth — the incisors, canines, premolars and molars? How about the different parts of a microscope, can you enumerate them or identify each part given a picture? Can you EXPLAIN their uses? 

Yes? Congratulations!!! You are qualified to tutor grade 3 pupils! 

Nope. That’s not a typo error. That’s really 3. As in T… H… R… E… E… 

You answered no? Okay, let’s try a grade 2 lesson…

Do you know the 3 branches of the government — executive, legislative and judiciary? Do you know their functions? Do you know how many senators, congressmen and justices we have?

Still no? Okay, preschool

Do you know the 7 continents and what countries belong to each? The different oceans, do you know their names? 

Ridiculous, eh? I had the same thoughts when I saw that in my students’ handouts. I was like, “Huh! Microscope for grade 3? I learned this in high school!” The lessons nowadays are already so advance!

Also, the implementation of the K to 12 curriculum posed additional challenges not only to the students but to the educators as well. Unlike before where you only had to learn biology in second year high school, chemistry in third year and physics in fourth year — now, students have to learn chunks of all these subjects (aside from general science) in their freshman year.**

Lastly… parents, never compare your grades to your kids’ not unless the grades you’re bragging*** about were after the implementation of the zero-based policy. The what??? Well, in 2003, DepEd released an order changing the computation of grades into simply “score ÷ number of items” whereas during our time (at least a decade ago 😉 ), I remember it was “(score ÷ number of items) x 50 + 50.” Wow, nosebleed.

What’s the difference?  Let’s just say that if you get 7 correct answers in a 10-item quiz, your rating will just be 70%; whereas before — drum rolls please — that was equivalent to 85%!!! Now, if you’re grade-conscious and allergic to line of 8 and below, you should only get one mistake to get even just a 90. See how difficult it is now to get grades 90 and above? (Note: I’ve heard of the new grading system with letter grades but I haven’t actually seen any of it. School teachers, what’s the latest update about this?)

Given the increasing difficulty of lessons and school challenges the students have to deal with nowadays, there has also been an increasing demand for the assistance of specialists. If before it was easy to self-study or have your parents teach you, well, not anymore. And I must add the fact that due to economic reasons, the number of housewives (who used to teach the kids) have fallen in favor of the number of careerwomen.

So don’t wonder why tutorials sprouted like mushrooms. 

And don’t look down on kids who go to tutors. It’s not that they do so because they are dumbos (the common misconception), but because school is just… hard.

Aim high,

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* DISCLAIMER: These are lessons from exclusive private schools. I’m not familiar/updated with public school lessons. Please educate me by posting your comments below.
** Now called Grade 7 under the K to 12 curriculum
*** Personally, I disagree with the practice of comparing your kids’ achievement to yours. Actually, I disagree with any kind of comparison.

Photo Credit: anorexiarecovery1.blogspot


Why Being Intelligent Does Not Automatically Make You a Good Teacher

© Teguh Mujiono

I used to work in a tutorial center. One day, my boss told me that I was to teach accounting to a college student. This actually freaked me out. You see, it was just the little ones I was handling. We agreed prior to my employment that I would not teach high school students because as a newbie, I didn’t think I could handle them. True enough, no high school… pero binigyan naman ako ng college! 😥

Before my first session with the accounting tutee, I was thinking of backing out. I turned to teaching because accounting is really stressful for me — but the latter seems like something I can’t escape. I could almost hear it sing, “I will follow you… Follow you where ever you may go…” 😥

Unfortunately, I was fated to teach accounting. My tutee, let’s just call him MS, studies in DLSU. Though a Marketing major, their accounting subject was really hard given that their school is a topnotch in the CPA boards. Worse, their prof is a fresh grad. Why worse? This may not be true in general, but most older teachers are more considerate than the new ones. From experience, they already know what to expect from the students, they know the latter’s capacities and thus have realistic expectations. Meanwhile, most new profs (again I’m not saying all), have quite idealistic expectations and are yet to learn the thinking capacities of the students. Even I, when I was a new auditor, was so strict but eventually became less strict. As I gained experience, it became easier for me to know if something wasn’t right. If I felt nothing, I would quite relax my procedures (just enough as not to compromise the audit process). They say it’s intuition gained through experience. What do you think? I leave the judgment to you.

Anyway, stalkers that we are, MS and I also found out that his prof was top 8 in the CPA board. Honestly, I felt a bit intimidated. Told you, I was so chillax during my schooling that I barely passed the CPA board.

Am I qualified to even tutor accounting?

I prayed to God about it. And I felt Him telling me that I need not worry. Though I may not be a board topnotcher nor a laude, He has given me the gift of having the ability to excellently impart the lessons to my students. Isn’t it that as an accountant not only once was I asked the question, “Ang galing mong mag-explain. Bakit di ka mag-teacher?” God’s answer was later confirmed when MS said the same exact thing a few days later, “Iba ang matalino sa guro.” Apparently, he told his dad about his prof and that’s what his dad said.

My professor in Principles of Teaching also have the same observation. Being intelligent does not automatically make you a good teacher. Don’t we all know a teacher or two who we wish we could kill when he teaches? Those profs who could weave magic and make you doze off (because you don’t get them you’d rather sleep)? Those profs who seem to come from an alien planet because when they start speaking, you would surely say “Huwaaat???!!!” Only to get the biggest surprise of your life when one day you find out they are summa cum laude or are double or triple PHD holders? How come?!!!


Really, it’s mostly the smart ones who can’t teach well (not all, okay?). Since they are quick to pick up new lessons, they usually teach fast thinking that students would understand just as quickly as they do. They usually make shortcuts (most math teachers do this) when teaching — expecting the students would follow. On the contrary, if you were not so smart, you would understand the thought processes of a common student and would therefore adjust the pacing of the lessons. It takes one to know one, right? ***

I think, more than high IQ or astounding scholastic records, being a good teacher requires one to have high EQ — the talent to intuitively understand the students and step into their shoes — so as to adjust and present the lessons in a language they understand.

How about you? What do you think? Share your thoughts below.

Aim high,

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*** I acknowledge the fact that there are many other factors affecting the quality of one’s teaching. However, this is an interesting aspect we could also look into.

Photo Credits:

1st: © Teguh Mujiono; 2nd: rankopedia.com; 3rd: © Corbis

I Told My Students I Cheated in High School

Photo  Credit: Tono Balaguer

“Yes, I cheated.”

That was my brave answer when my two long-time tutees asked me if I ever cheated in school. It could have cost me their respect but I admitted it anyway. Their eyes grew wide in disbelief, “Really?!!!”

I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I don’t gamble. I don’t even curse. I have high grades in the prestigious state university where I am taking up my MA. And they know all these things. They call me “Miss Perfect.” They believe I can do no wrong. Well, akala lang nila yon! 

I was just in grade 1 when I was first caught copying my classmate’s answers (just because I didn’t hear the dictated question). In grade 2, my adviser used to sit me beside her during exams because I was such a “loud” test-taker that the whole class would hear my answers. In high school, I didn’t attend P.E. classes because I didn’t want my crush (from a higher batch) to see me doing “stupid” things. In other subjects, I wasn’t paying attention as I was staring out the doors, waiting for that crush to pass by. Malandi!!! Also, I was always late for school that there was a grading quarter when I had no grade for the first subject. There were times I slept in class. And the one I was talking about: my teacher in algebra caught me copying my friend’s answers. I was a math contestant but I was tamad to think and it was so fun copying. The risk of being caught! (Imagine that teacher finding out I was elected Math Club president the following year. Haha.) Most of all, I never reviewed for exams. Ang tunay na matalino hindi nag-aaral, stock knowledge lang! (Yabang! I realized now how wrong I was.)

Photo: http://onlinedatahub.com

When I became a teacher, I learned through my experiences how easily kids pick up adults’ behavior — especially the ones they look up to — so I tried (and is trying) hard to become a good role model to my students. I stopped cursing and I became mindful of my behavior around them. I sit straight, I keep my things organized, I say “Thank you” and “Excuse”, et cetera. And since I push my students to get stellar grades, I make sure I practice what I preach. The once tamad student started listening and reviewing hard for her exams. Little by little, I became their “Miss Perfect (in their eyes only, of course).

But why risk my reputation?

Because I want them to know that I haven’t always been the “Miss Perfect” that I seem to be. That I am human. That I also had my ups and downs as a student. That I was tamad and irresponsible. That I made a lot of mistakes which I now regret (I could have gotten higher honors for example). And by doing so, they would know that although they “suck” now, they, too, can change like me. Why, they are way better than me when I was their age!

I know most of us try our best to be a good example to our kids. We usually tell them how great we were during our student days. “When I was a student I always had honors.” Or, “When I was a student I always won during contests.” Or, “I never engaged in fights!” However, we often miss telling them our failures when telling them these things is just as important. Isn’t it more inspiring when we hear rags to riches stories than the success stories of people who were born with a silver spoon? Just the same, if we tell the kids about the hardships we hurdled in school and how we bounced back higher to become who we are today, they would think they can do the same. That failing a quiz is normal and they can always do better next time.

My friends, don’t be afraid to show your kids the human side of you.

Aim high,

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Photo Credits:

1st: © Tono Balaguer; 2nd: onlinedatahub.com