Through my teaching years, there have been a large percentage of parents who have personally approached me to help their teenagers who are spending too much time on video gaming, not participating enough in class, not performing academically or all three. Almost all these parents ask if I can counsel their children or be the mentor these students have never had. When I agree to take on a student, I always choose the latter approach.
From my experience, students are perceptive and they learn much more from a trusting relationship than thinking that they are needing to be “fixed”. I hence practice a form of acceptance, structured teaching and loving expectation. In other words, my class teaching and private sessions both involve in-depth discussions. In every case, I first teach the fundamentals according to the students’ level and then disseminate knowledge that is often one level higher than the grade they are in.
This supportive pushing is challenging, but it is done with patience and direction. This is very much from my own experience with certain professors and teachers who inspired me not by their public lectures but by their constant open door policy where I was invited and encouraged to have intellectual dialogues that often went above and beyond the curriculum level. This has been the method I have used with a wide span of students, some who have gone on to major in medicine or psychology, others who have pursued their love for architecture, environmental science or journalism. Whether they aspired to study at UBC, Harvard, Stanford or Wharton, many have worked with me privately since Grade 9.
I am therefore not a proponent of students being force-fed or dictated to. But I do teach study methods that will help students fulfill the prerequisites of the major exams. I also guide them in their portfolio preparation and give supportive vocational advice. I see every child and teenager as a special being, as someone who is meant to walk a journey that is unique, according to his or her own gifts and personality. My journey is to provide nurturing support and show them possibilities not contemplated before.
Thank you, Michele Wong