The following is a real life PSLE success story of one of our students. Every year, we will encounter a few of such PSLE success stories. For the year 2014, her story was the one we found most inspirational. Do read on and we hope that you can learnt something from this story and coach your child to do well for PSLE too!
I started teaching Eileen when she was in P4. I found her to be a very hardworking and obedient girl. She would do her work without complain, ask questions and participate actively during discussions in class. However, her grades were far from good , which was strange, because she always seemed to do rather well for her work in my tuition classes. Closer toward her exam period, I would give her past year exam papers to do. The standard of the papers were rather high. She managed to do quite well for the papers, scoring around 65-75, depending on how blur she was that day. I taught her English while the other tutors taught her math and science.
“This time, confirm she will do well!” I told her grandmother confidently.
The exams came. She barely passed her English and Science. She failed her Math. Her grandmother, of course, was disappointed. I thought it was a fluke. Her school has a knack for setting tough papers that caused 50% of their students to fail.
Very soon, Eileen was in P5. Just like most students, she found it a big struggle. She continued doing relatively well in my tuition classes. Soon, exams came again.
“This time, confirm 100% plus-chop- stamp- guarantee she will do well!” I told her grandmother again. The exams came and went, she got back her grades.
She failed … all her subjects.
Her grandmother was heartbroken. Her grand daughter came to her crying her eyes out. From that day on, I dared not make lofty promises anymore. Her grandmother and I tried to rationalise what went wrong:
– She is too blur (Always making careless mistakes.)
– She has a slower pace of learning ( She requires countless nagging and reminders not to make the same mistakes – but will forget everything after a few weeks.)
– She has no confidence (When she goes for oral exams, she will freeze and not know what to say.)
Her grandmother said that Elly does not do anything but STUDY EVERYDAY. She even earned the nickname “Little Professor”, in Chinese, from her family members. Deep down inside, I had a feeling that all her weaknesses still do not justify how she could give me good quality work during our tuition classes. Of course, the grandmother would probably think I am just trying to protect my image when I say that she does well in my class. I can’t blame her! Haha!
Confused, and questioning my own abilities as a tutor, I went to consult Angelina Phillips, a much more experienced tutor at my centre. She told me she suspects Eileen has exam anxiety, as her own daughter showed the same symptoms in the past as well. This was just a hunch, albeit a very strong one. I related my suspicions to her grandmother, who surprisingly, voiced those concerns as well. Her grandmother trusted me, and continued letting her study at Intellicat till the end of PSLE 2014.
I took a different approach. A rather radical one. I would nag at all the other students to study, but when I turn to Eileen, I would jokingly tell her to go to a spa the day before her exams, or go play some computer games. I also encouraged her to relax as I noticed whenever I mentioned the words “EXAMS” or “PSLE”, her body would suddenly tense up, and her face would turn grim.
P6 2014 was even tougher than P5. Eileen continued failing or barely passing (- barely passing makes no difference, to me it’s still a fail,) throughout her P6. The exams got closer, her grandmother and me got more worried. I have never seen such a hardworking student do so badly in my life. Instead of lamenting on her inability to do well, I simply told her to learn from her mistakes, persevere, and move on.
Never, ever, give up as I have seen miracles happen throughout my years of tutoring. Suck it up, chin up, stay tough! What more can you do?
PSLE came and went. Within a blink of an eye, it was results release date. I mentally prepared myself to do more Auntie Counselling that day.
Upon receiving her results, Eileen cried, ran to her grandmother and hugged her. She got 220, highest in her class. She whatsapped me:
Please ignore my heartless comments about letting children cry! LOL.
How could I have doubted Eileen’s abilities? How could I not believe that she could score 220 for her PSLE? Even though I encouraged her when she was down, deep down inside I was uncertain about her future. Her grandmother later revealed that she had brought Eileen to a chalet to enjoy and relax few days before her PSLE. She had also been encouraging Eileen to do her best, and never put any pressure on her.
This post here is not to brag about how good I am at teaching or how awesome Intellicat Tuition School is, (it is SUPER AWESOME by the way). This post is here to demonstrate some lessons:
1. Success comes with consistent hard work
2. Never give up, no matter how dire the situation may be.
3. Know your child’s character. Every child is different. Most children need to be nagged but Eileen needed to be told to RELAX and not study so much.
4. Believe in your child, do not lose hope.
As adults reading this, I hope everyone has managed to learn something from a little girl…
who never gave up.
By Jerry Lee
Intellicat Tuition School
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