The past two weeks had taught me many things on dealing with 7 to 12 year-old kids. There were two sessions which I was involved in. The main part was the Tutoring Session which was for Standard 6 students only and was focused on Mathematics and English. The second part was the General Teaching Session involving students from Standard 1 to 5. During Tutoring Session, I had been assigned to teach the high-performing students for Mathematics and low-performing students for English. My Mathematics group consisted of 4 kids of different personalities who were Ayiem, Mushaar, Aiman and Vincent.
My first thought was that it would be an easy task to mentor the high-performing students since they are cleverer compared to other kids. Shockingly, it was harder than what I had thought. In the beginning of the session, it was difficult to attract their attention on the materials they needed to learn for their upcoming examination.
Ayiem, ‘Mr Know-it-all’ was always eager to answer and ask questions, which was good for him, but bad for the others since the other kids tend to stay in their comfort zone and to keep quiet the whole time. For Ayiem, I tend to give him very hard questions in order to entertain him. Next was Vincent, ‘The Tokyo Drifter’. He did not care about others at all. Normally, he would sit at his table while his mind drifts away about things other than his studies. I was having a really hard time encouraging him to study since he really did not give a damn about anything. For Vincent, I managed to catch his attention by playing short games during the 10-minute break.
The game was Sudoku. I gave all my four students the same Sudoku challenge and asked them to solve it. I was shocked that Vincent managed to solve it correctly within seconds whereas Ayiem struggled through the entire 10 minutes to solve it. From that moment on, I learnt that kids have their own specialties and abilities, but from different perspectives. In order to polish and make the best out of their gems, the people surrounding them, especially their teachers and family need to identify and support the kids’ interests. Due to living in underprivileged conditions, the kids do not receive enough support from their parents to expand their potential in their studies.