“Is it too late?”
Lately, I have reprised my role as Chief Auntie Counsellor as the students get back their mid-term results. Funny thing is – the parents all seem more stressed out than their kids. This PSLE Success Story happened few years back, but I will always remember it because this student of mine displayed the characteristics that led to his success.
Dillon, joined Intellicat Tuition School in late May, after getting back his SA1 results which consisted of weak B’s and C’s. His mother was actually reluctant to sign him up for tuition, but Dillon was the one who insisted.
“Is it too late?” his mother asked me.
Of course I said, ” It’s never too late!”
Actually, asking me that question is like asking the tax man whether you should pay taxes, or asking an insurance agent if you should buy insurance. (Hahaha! Sorry, please forgive me for being direct!)
Jokes aside, I honestly believe there is no such thing as too late. I have seen many miracles throughout my years of tutoring, and they happen more often than you think.
Back to the story. Dillon was unlike any other student. He could sit still, with proper posture and was always attentive and asking questions. He would also participate and give answers. While the more playful students enjoy sitting at the back of the class, the hard working ones usually sit in front. David sat in front.
What struck me unqiue about Dillon was, whenever we had a break, the other students would rush out of the class to stretch their legs and get a breather, but David would stay back to clarify all his doubts. He would always bring his homework to do during the break and he would be asking me how to tackle certain questions.
These simple actions showed that Dillon had discipline. To me, discipline is not just about cutting your hair short or tucking in your shirt, it is the ability to do things that you don’t really want to do, because you know you have to do it. David exhibited self-control and the ability to delay gratification, because he adhered to a strict conduct he set for himself.
Dillon also displayed grit. He does not complain or whine when his teachers pile up his schedule with homework, tests or assignments. He just takes it stoically and treats it as a job that he must complete. I think his parents brought him up with this good mindset.
Sure enough, these 2 characteristics of discipline and grit paid off. Dillon got top in the entire school for Science and got A for all his subjects for the preliminary exams. He was overjoyed but at the same time, worried that he would not be able to pull off the same miracle for PSLE. He consulted me, asking me what he should do to ensure that this success continues. I gave him a reassuring pat on his back, looked him straight in the eye, and told him what I tell all my students who ask me for advice just before exams:
“Don’t screw up.”
Dillon repeated his success and scored all A’s again for PSLE. He got into Xinmin, the school of his choice. His parents said that his confidence has improved greatly. They thanked us profusely for all that we did for him. I told them that we don’t deserve much credit. Dillon succeeded because he was brought up with the right values from young. All we did as tutors was to help him with his revision and preparation.
Key points to take note from this true story:
– There is no such thing as too late
– If you want your child to do well for studies, make sure he/she is disciplined
– Make sure he/she has grit.
( Dillon is now in Sec 3 and has recently returned for English tuition because he is struggling with the syllabus changes. It’s weird to see how much your students have grown within a span of a few years! Once again, I am confident he will soon overcome this hurdle and do well for his exams.)