Move over, tutors. These days, academically-weaker students are performing better when they are taken under the wings of a mentor instead of a regular tutor.
In April 2008, a group of scholastic youths started a mentorship program in partnership with Raffles Institution catering to Secondary 3 and 4 students who need an extra dose of confidence in their studies.
Armed with a fiery passion to help and the ability to deconstruct complicated concepts, the mentoring team has seen the number of students helped by the program grow from eight to 45 in just six months. Each has tangible results to show.
“I was two weeks away from expulsion when I met my mentor,” shares Tan Yong Liang, one of the students in the programme. “Prior to that, I had failed my Sec 3 exams and was going to be retained. However, through regular coaching and the friendship my mentor built with me, I managed to regain my footing. He helped me see that I could have a great future.”
Yong Liang scored 22 out of 30 marks in his latest Mathematics test. It was a considerable achievement, given that he had failed every math test he took in 2008.
Charles Chen, an alumnus of Raffles Institution, believes it is the creative coaching and friendship that make this mentorship programme different from regular tuition. He said, “The mentors know they have to be different from a tuition agency; they have to lead by example. This is a select group who have been chosen based on their proven character and academic ability.”
Forging friendships through mentoring causes these students to look forward to studying. The aim of this programme is to help change these youths’ attitude towards their studies. The group believe this will yield dividends in the long term — dry remedials can never sustain such change.