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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Tuition Tales

A conversation today with a potential employer.

Me: Hi, is that Mrs X? [name preserved for anonymity]
Mrs X: Yes.
Me: Hi, I'm the tutor, referred to by Y of Z tutors? I was asked by Y to call you about tuition for your child?
Mrs X: Yes, er, are you a full time teacher?
Me: (hedging) I'm a full time tutor.
Mrs X: Where did you graduate from?
Me: NUS(SUX) Business.
Mrs X: Ah ha... [so she's not a school teacher....] Can you teach creative writing?
Me: I've had 3 years of experience teaching English, both at PSLE and O'levels.
Mrs X: Because I need someone to go through creative writing, grammar and comprehension with my son. [son's in Pri. 2 btw] What grades did your students get?
Me: What?
Mrs X: Well, what grades did they get? I want to know if they did well in their exams after you taught them.
Me: ( Is that any of your business ) Well, er, I feel a bit funny telling you, because after all, it's their grades. ( Meaning it's none of your business )
Mrs X: After all, I don't know them, so it doesn't matter if you tell me.
Me: ( Kaypoh ) well, my PSLE students actually got As after I had taught them. ( Solid truth, swear to God. Except that one kid got C in English, but I concentrated more on Maths and Sci with him )
Mrs X: Ok...... ( Is this girl having me on? ) Are they from neighbourhood schools?
Me: ( Huh? Is there a difference? ) Yes, they are. ( truth again )
Mrs X: Because my son is from Ai Tong.
Me: Oh, that's in Sin Ming isn't it? ( Ai Tong??? That's a top school! Why the heck does she want tuition for her kid?? ) Er, may I know if your son is having any problems with his English?
Mrs X: ( Frosty tone ) Please don't have the impression that my son has problems with English. ( Exact words to me. So why are you getting tuition for your son then?) My son has been getting As in English, so I want someone to help him maintain his As and Astars, I don't want someone who would waste his time. ( Right......... I would think that tuition for an Astar student would be a waste of his time, but hey, you're paying me...... )
Me: Ok...... so you need someone to give him a bit of a push then? ( Down the long, slippery road to exam stress, unrealistic parental expectations, potential suicide and therapy all the way into adulthood )
Mrs X: Yes, that's right. I would like to meet you today, to see if you can get along with my son, before we start tuition.
Me: Ok, today is fine. ( If you think an hour with your son is enough for you to see if we can build a productive relationship together, hey, you're the boss.... at the same time, would you like to check my teeth? ) What time would be fine for you?
Mrs X: He's at Chinese now, ( Chinese tuition as well???? During the hols??? What kinda parent is this?? ) so can you call back about 3 to 330?
Me: Ok, that's fine. See you then.
Mrs X: Bye.

Let's review the points now:
Her son is in Pri 2.
He studies at one of the top primary schools in Singapore.
He's been getting As consistently in English.
She wants a tutor to push him further.

Altogether now,


Now I'm wondering...... Is this money worth earning? *Sigh* After making a quick calculation of my paltry finances, I have to conclude.... Yeah. *Faint* It's a pretty good rate for a Pri 2 boy, and if he's an A student, he won't be that hard to teach.

The hard part... Is probably gonna be getting along with the parent. Eeks.

Well, here's to me. [swigs a tequila shot] Let's see what happens after meeting Mrs X later today...

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