Just to share my experience so that parents can take note also.
I currently have a few P6 students whom I’m giving private tuition to and this incident is about another tutor whom the parents of one student hired as additional help to the child.
From what the parents and student tell me, this tutor is a young tutor who is doing her diploma currently. She claims that she is very good in Maths and can teach the student ‘shortcuts’ to answering questions. She goes to their place on weekends to help the child with work that he does not understand.
I was very happy for this student as I know they have limited budget and the parents managed to get more help as I personally feel that the student really need alot of help. I did offer free lessons at my home for him (my place is a few bus stops away from theirs) but the parents refused as they do not want him to travel just for tuition (I can understand because travelling can cause the child to be quite tired).
I really thought that this tutor is a blessing to the student until I marked this student’s assignments (worksheets that were given by me), and I got a shock! The questions were all answered using simultaneous equations (not suitable for primary school and definitely a longer way to answer the questions I gave). And when I asked my student if he understood the method she taught him, he said that the tutor told him the questions I gave are for secondary school, not primary school!
The maths syllabus has changed and now they use calculators at P5 and P6 and they also learn more topics in depth (area of circle, algebra). I was shocked that the teacher said that to him as the questions I gave are definitely P6 maths questions which my ex-colleagues (current P6 teachers in top schools) told me that such questions may come out at PSLE.
And due to her comments, this student now thinks that all questions are too difficult for him and he is not able to understand. Those are basic speed and distance questions which I have taught him before. He managed to solve the question correctly the first time with the method I taught him but the tutor told him it’s wrong and taught him simultaneous equations (but the final answer is the same). Using simultaneous equation can be accepted but based on this student’s level of understanding, he cannot comprehend how simultaneous equations work!
And this tutor also taught him a few other questions on area of hexagons in which she even got the method wrong. The worst part was her teaching him percentage and she simply deducted the percentages although they were percentages of different items!
I was quite upset that the tutor taught the student the wrong methods as it now means that he is very confused. I did feedback to the parents and they were not aware that the other tutor taught him differently and even told him that those were secondary school questions and he should not be doing them.
As a tutor, I will advise all parents to screen your tutors carefully. Check on your child’s progress and work done during tuition. Do not leave it 100% to the tutor. If there are questions that the tutor claims cannot be done using techniques which are taught to P6 students, get your child to bring the question to school to ask the school teachers.
Do check carefully and hire a competent tutor for your child. Else, it’ll be a waste of money, time and effort for your child to learn the wrong techniques.