Tutors in City Harvest Church’s tuition ministry show what it takes to influence lives beyond the classroom lecture.
Contributed By Jamie Lim
Some may be undergraduates, some may command high salaries at their work place; others could earn a higher remuneration if they gave private tuition outside—but the volunteer tutors of the City Harvest Church’s tuition ministry dedicate more than two hours of their time each week to help the youth church members in their school work. Apart from this, the tutors also prepare course materials to ensure that their students are both up to date with the latest curriculum and receive the best help they need.
The tuition ministry, headed by Kenny Low, began with small group tuitions to help N- and O-level private candidates in CHC. As the pool of students increased, they began to recruit more volunteer tutors to cope with the rising demand. Along the way, the ministry also introduced new classes and new subjects to reach a wider group of students.
A NEW SPACE TO LEARN
As the ministry grew, so did the need for classroom space. In the past, lessons were held at the church office or at the church’s worship premises, but larger rooms were soon required. Today, the tuition ministry utilizes classroom spaces located at City College—a private school—and also borrows some of their teaching resources from time to time.
Sandy Pek, 21, who recently graduated from the School Of Theology, is one who benefited from the tuition program. She decided to retake one of her O-level subjects, Elementary Mathematics, after failing the first attempt. She signed up for the tuition class and leaped to a C grade on her second attempt. This was a marked improvement as she had been failing that subject throughout her school years.
“My tuition teacher, Dennis, was very helpful and kind. He would break down each topic carefully and made sure I understood the concepts. He prepared me sufficiently for the paper, going through possible sums and questions before the examination,” Pek recalled.
IMPARTING MORE THAN JUST HEAD KNOWLEDGE
To date, the ministry has 35 active tutors who provide academic help to students mainly from CHC. While some are professional teachers and lecturers, others simply come with a heart to teach and serve. Of course, these tutors are also qualified in their field of study.
Alvyn Yee, 32, is an accountant by profession. He teaches Elementary Mathematics and Accounts and has been in the tuition ministry since 2002. Sharing how he came to be a part of this life-changing experience, he said, “I’ve always wanted to become a teacher and I’ve always found joy in teaching smaller groups, so I joined this ministry when they started recruitment.
“As as time went by, I built relationships with the students. The greatest joy is to know that you have made an impact, because it makes everything I do worthwhile.”
A DEEP PASSION FOR TEACHING
The tuition ministry conducts recruitment drives at the start of each new year, holding intensive training sessions to train new volunteers and equip them with skills that will help them communicate better with potential students. New tutors are paired with experienced ones, and current professional teachers share tips and advice on improving the curriculum and how to engage students more effectively.
“Students who come to the ministry for help with their school work are very much different from those in mainstream schools; they have greater and more diversified needs. Teaching them serves as a constant reminder that there is always another spectrum of students apart from those I face in my daily job. It gives me a reality check,” expressed Lim Cher Chuan, 35, a full-time teacher.
In addition to being at least an undergraduate, prospective tutors have to be proficient in English, Mathematics or Science and possess the desire to impart academic knowledge. But more importantly, volunteers in this ministry have to be passionate in helping young people build up their confidence.
Thomas Tan, 33, a consultant, explained, “Students here need more than just academic help. They need our assurance and attention. In fact, they are more willing to attend your classes and pay attention when they know that you are paying attention to them first. I believe that the O-levels are the milestone examination for students. It determines their next major step in life, whether is it to work, go on to A-levels, pursue a diploma or other tertiary education. I think we in the ministry do more than just impart knowledge; we play a major influence in forming the mentality and attitude of our students.”
O-LEVEL CRASH COURSES ON NOW!
Apart from conducting weekly weekday evening tuition classes, the ministry also holds its annual O-level Crash Courses (also known as OCC), which are open to all O-level candidates. They begin in the month of September after the schools’ preliminary examinations. The crash courses include subjects like English, Elementary Mathematics, Combined Science and Science practical sessions.
These courses, which are open to the public and are conducted in the evenings, are priced between S$20 and S$25 per lesson. They are especially popular among students at CHC and they serve as a timely refresher for them before the major examinations.
For O-level Crash Courses enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.