Perhaps the reason for why Singapore is the Tuition Nation

Was rather distracted after one tuition session.

XY, XY, you didn't know what you were dealing with. Please analyse this unique situation and solve it at its crux.

Lost in those troubling thoughts, I tripped when crossing the ledge separating the asphalt road from the passageway. The aunty behind me sniggered.

Had always assumed that my student was weak because he was lazy and skilled in pretending that he wasn't. After all, most lazy people won't think they're lazy. Their failures, naturally, could be attributed to others' flaws.

Then, I saw his mid term papers and changed my mind.

The Chemistry exam papers were difficult. It required me to draw on knowledge acquired from tertiary studies to solve. Chemicals - which I was unfamiliar with - were tested. All on the basis of examining deductive skills...

What kind of nonsense is this?! How can the teacher give such a significant weighting to tests of convoluted reasoning techniques?

I'm comfortable with difficult questions that inspire insights. I've no problems with challenging questions which push the frontiers of one's knowledge. What I'm not okay with are labyrinthian questions which have no apparent purpose other than to repulse students from learning.

It doesn't help that there were so many grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors. Yes, I am an old grandpapa-fusspot. But sloppy language when asking and answering Science questions can only lead to poorer linguistics.

Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to query my student about his Chem teacher.

"The whole class doesn't understand what she's saying!"

"She's highly qualified. Think she has a Masters in something."

Criticisms of teachers by students should always be taken with a pinch of salt. Perhaps, even two pinches. Students, like all other homo sapiens, tend to think they're right.

But from observing the student's poor answering techniques, messy school notes and unorthodox exam papers, I couldn't help feeling that his input - while exaggerated - contained a modicum of truth.

I really should be thankful to such teachers. It's because they're screwed up that I got more offers to tutor that I could handle :] Humour aside, I'd rather have my students enjoy their school lessons than to spend 1.5 hr/week trying to entice them into enjoying the art of learning. It is tedious uphill work.

Time to think of ways to aid this student...