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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Work vs Tuition

This is my only off day with no tuition whatsoever. It is the only off day which I can have some me-time. My favourite tuitee has just finished his exams so I’m giving him and myself a 2 weeks break. My sweet cousin tuitee is basking in the Australia sun now. My playmate tuitee’s mum is fine with me taking an off.

Yay.. I finally got time to go for my facial appointment liao. I signed up a package at Bioskin last year and got a major lecture from my mum, went for the very first time in May 2005 and never did go for the second time. I find it a waste of time to simply lie there and not do anything for 2 hours while I could have shopped, marked my worksheets, blogged, read for that 2 hours. However, I must learn to relax and not think about the amount of time wasted. Looking at the state of my face, I also think I seriously need the facial!

From this week onwards, my off days are changed to Wednesday and Sunday. No more consecutive off days. Boo Hoo! I’ve gotten so used to working weekends and having offs on weekdays. However, my superior says a Sunday is very valuable and I will soon realise the importance of it.

Right now, I’m wondering how to arrange my tuition schedule around this new work schedule. I told all my tuitees’ mums about the change in off days and how difficult it is to arrange their sessions but none of them was willing to let me go. A part of me also can’t bear to let them go coz I really enjoy giving tuition.

I like my cute C. He is so cute! I’ve been teaching him since he was in Pri 2. He is going to be Pri 5 next year but he still looks as cute as he was the first time I saw him. He is not only physically cute, he always does cute things. He loves to tell me boh liao stuff. He loves to tell me cold jokes. He loves to ask me lame riddles. He loves to spin yarns and tell tall stories which are so obviously untrue. Nevertheless, no matter how boh liao his stuff are, how cold his jokes are, how lame his riddles are and how fake his stories are, they never fail to crack me up.

He is very cheeky and mischievous and often makes me angry with his carelessness, loss of marks, undone homework and gasak gasak attitude in studies. But he always brightens up my day with all his cute antics. His family members treat me very well too. His little sister and cousin love to go into the room and “disturb” me. When his grandma know that I have not eaten, she would bring in bowls of soup, snacks, biscuits and even offer to cook instant noodles for me. His mummy once offered to share her zi char bee hoon with me. His mummy does sales on fashion merchandise and she would hand me an Abercrombie or Hollister every now and then as she knows I like those brands.

One week plus and I’m already missing that cute boy manz.

I enjoy teaching my cousin too. Nope, not that hellish and psycho cousin brother who once used a knife on me and I still tahan him for 3 years but another cousin sister. I’ve been teaching her English and Maths since she was in Pri 5.

I love going to my aunt’s condo. Tucked along Bukit Timah Road, I love the nature theme of their condo. Whenever I set foot in there, I feel very relaxed. Lush greenery, swishing waterfalls, rocks surrounding the edge of the pool… It is like a tropical paradise. I always tell myself that one day, I would just go and bask myself by the poolside and use the sauna facilities. I’ve been telling myself for 2 years but I still have not done it.

I love to eat at my aunt’s place too. She loves to stuff me with lotsa delicious home-cooked food and she always serves dinner with impeccable style. If she has prawns, she would arrange the prawns facing one direction along the side of the bowl. If she has pieces of meat, she fans them out. She knows how to arrange the various dishes on the rice bowl such that I would not have difficult eating while teaching my cousin at the same time.

My aunt is also that kind of mummy who would cut different kinds of fruits after dinner. She cuts all the fruits up into bite sized pieces and not wedges which makes munching and talking much easier.

My cousin is a joy to teach. She was very quiet and not at all like all my talkative students, but she has slowly warmed up to me. She is that kind of tuitee who does all her school homework and tuition homework religiously and scores many As. I’ve lacked the confidence to teach Maths at secondary level (check out all my F9s) but when my aunt insists on me continuing to teach her when she promoted to Sec 1, I read the textbook and practiced my Maths really well. Maths became her best subject.

For Teachers’ Day, she gave me a pink Guess watch. I didn’t open the gift in front of her but you can be sure the very next session, I went to scold her for giving such an expensive gift.

She will be Sec 2 next year. I really don’t have the confidence to continue teaching her Maths and told my aunt about it. I told her my Maths at sec level is very lousy and that for the past 1 year, I’ve been reading up her text before I teach her. My aunt said, “Read the textbook and refresh your memory. Should be no problem. She got A for your Maths.” Me thinks she got A coz she is good, not because I am good.

See how it goes…

I also enjoy teaching my “playmate”, C. Why playmate and not tuitee? Coz she’s only 3 years old this year. She is a student in my ex co but not my student. Basically, I flash cards to her, read with her, do writing and drawing and play educational games. Sounds fun eh? But it’s not relaxed. The younger the kid, the more energy I need. It was supposed to be a temporary try out thingy till I got a job at that time. However, instead of stopping, her mummy says I can come as and when I’m free.

Both my playmate and her brother would scream and jump for joy, each rushing to open the door for me whenever I ring the bell. Their grandma would beam and say in Mandarin, “See, once you come, the whole house is filled with joy.”

There was once it was raining but had since stopped by the time I reached C’s place. When she saw me, she screamed, “Jiejie Jolene are you ok? It is raining. It is raining so heavily. I scared you don’t have umbrella.” Later, her grandma told me that for the whole afternoon before I arrived, C has been asking if I had brought my umbrella and whether I’m “ok”.

On another occasion when I didn’t appear for 2 weeks, C hugged me very tightly and said “Jiejie Jolene I love you!” I was so touched. I was already planning to break the news that I was unable to continue anymore.

I really missed all the little “I love yous”. In my previous job, I would hear them almost everyday and not get tired of hearing. Now the only little kid who utters that is C.

At least thrice, I brought it up to her mummy that I feel bad not being able to commit twice or even once a week constantly and she maintained that it is not an issue. Her grandma then said that their door is always opened for me and that I’m welcome back anytime.

I hope I’ll be able to work out how to arrange my schedule soon.


  1. Just check I think there is a spelling mistake.

  2. Tuitions are enjoyable if the students respond to your teachings and have gd attitude to learn :) Hee .. can see you are blessed to have such students!

  3. khengsiong,
    Spelling mistake in? I don't really proofread my stuff on my blog. There are many grammatical and spelling mistakes. Heh.. Been proofreading stuff everyday at work. ;P

    Yes.. I really think I'm blessed with such tuitees. It really helped a lot. I don't feel tired or dread teaching them at all. Most of the people around me don't understand this and sometimes chide me for not enjoying life while I can.

  4. Jolene,
    Speeling mistakes and typos are common. But since you used this word over and over again, I decided to leave a hint.

    OK, it's 'tutee'.

  5. wah. can't b so serious mah.
    work life already so stress, blog at least can relac..

  6. khengsiong,
    My nonchalant reply would be to disregard the comment. My normal reply would be like bwilly’s. My short reply would be “point taken”. But since you seemed to be adamant in pointing out the spelling mistake, I’ll give the politically correct reply by addressing the point. I sure hope I don’t end up writing an essay.

    “Tuitee” or “tutee” is not a formal word. It is a word coined only in contemporary times possibly by “tuition teachers” or “tutors” like me. Since it is an informal word, I naturally spell it accordingly to how I contract from the word “tuition”, rather than “tutor” since I used the word “tuition” more than “tutor”. Online dictionaries contain many newly coined words and urban words which became informally “formalised”. The only exception would be OED (Oxford English Dictionary) online. We English teachers always refer to Longman Dictionary. Those which come in book form and not webpages. Since “tutee” isn’t a formal word, I would just spell it my usual way.

    Despite earning a degree in English, I make a million and one grammatical, spelling and punctuation mistakes in writing. In speech, I adopt the colloquial English; often stringing my sentences ungrammatically with slang, lingoes, Singlish and self-coined words. The only time I endeavor to adhere to the rules of language would be when I’m teaching and proofreading materials. Correspondence would have been quite unexciting if it were to be limited to the dominant paradigm, wouldn’t it?

  7. Well said, Jolene! I agree with you totally on the last sentence. ^_^


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