Don’t be too late!..

By mid-September, students will be back to school. After a long summer break –it is longer than the one in the UK–, they will return with changes both mentally, psychologically and physically. I should admit, most of them are doing a great job coping with this much of constant change. No one would survive such a pressure if it weren’t for the joy of growing up.

The school, as a concept, has changed significantly since the time when we were students ourselves. Teachers approach to students in a more flexible and positive way; they provide more guidance and assistance to support student learning. They communicate with the parents, as well as the students, more positively and give more valuable feedback about students’ progress. They perform much better in the class while delivering the subject content, using more tools including educational technology.

I have to note that this is a generalisation and there are exceptions. Especially when we consider the North Cyprus context, the exceptions are almost impossible to neglect. No offence to those teachers who are doing a great job, however there are a significant number of teachers who intentionally underperform, just because they know they won’t face any sanctions. They not only consider their students’ stress due to growing up, but they hardly help them improve academically.

Having this situation accepted, parents seek help outside school. They think a private tutor would be of use. In most cases, it does. Certainly if the tuition is really ‘private’, if the tutor not only helps with the content learned at school, but s/he also tries to fill the gaps in previous content knowledge and if s/he also helps students improve their skills of note-taking, concentration, self-studying and self-confidence.

Obviously, ‘private’ tuition where 10+ students attend a session once a week and get the same teaching and materials will not be of much help. Parents should avoid such crowded sessions, as it has little or no effect to their kids’ progress. In addition, it is not financially feasible; those private tutors charge the same price regardless of the number of students in a group, which, in my opinion, is a big ethical concern. So why not go truly ‘private’?

Last, but not least, please act on time; if you know your kid’s strengths and weaknesses, if you have concerns about his/her progress, do not wait until you get the results of the first assessment. I know it is a huge financial burden, but saving one month’s private tuition does not improve you financially anyway. With such students whose parents started private tuitions late, I almost always had to schedule extra sessions to cover up the first few months, hence there was no saving at the end of the year.

I wish all the parties involved the best in the coming academic year. Be smart and prosper!..

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