How to Coach your Child towards Excellence
Parents, what does the term “excellence” mean to you? Does it comprise of only academic excellence or does it connote something more? Speaking from experience, academic excellence appears to be the sole defining factor of success – until your child reaches their university years. They will then come to realise that there are many other factors that determine their future employability, such as the leadership positions they hold in their clubs, internship experience in various sectors, awards won at competitions and participation in projects. The ones with great resumes may not necessarily be on the Deans’ List, but yet stand a chance at being offered jobs at prestigious corporations. This is because companies are increasingly favouring those with on the ground experience, rather than those with a stellar report card, and nothing more. That said, stellar grades are a feat of their own and will not be overlooked. This article merely proposes that there are other factors besides academic excellence that will increase your child’s future employability, which is the ultimate goal. It should be recognised that success in life is not a given even if your child gets into the university course of his choice. There is so much more for them to work towards and by and large, parents should encourage their children to learn beyond the book.
It is never too late to begin to coach your child towards excellence. Parents with children in Junior College can incite their children to start thinking about their future career aspirations and then from there, reach out to family friends in various sectors for their views on their jobs and advice on how to succeed. Having a goal will enable your child to direct his focus to the subjects he needs to excel in most in order to get into the course of his choosing. For example, the Faculty of Engineering requires applicants to perform well in Mathematics and Physics. With this knowledge, aspiring students should focus on scoring decently in these subjects by spending more time on revision for these subjects or even signing up for JC Math Tuition and JC Physics Tuition in order to increase their exposure to more question types. Since students are competing against the entire nation in the ‘A’ Levels Examinations and not only fellow students from the same Junior College, increasing one’s exposure to questions set by other schools will certainly prove advantageous for them when they sit for their ‘A’ Level Paper.
With the right mindset, new opportunities for growth are everywhere. One such example is networking, which is an essential skill. Outside of your child’s Junior College, tuition is the perfect place for your child to begin networking. To elaborate, your child may obtain new perspectives from interacting with others in her JC Math tuition class. Students usually come from a range of Junior Colleges, with very different cultures so speaking to others in their JC Math tuition class may serve to broaden your child’s horizons. Encourage your child to converse with her tuition mates before and after class. Get to know their classmates’ motivations in life as well as their future goals. Some students may wish to pursue a degree in an overseas university and may have seniors or siblings who have done so. If it is your child’s goal to study overseas, gaining insight from someone who applied successfully would be extremely beneficial. Alternatively, having someone to apply alongside your child may make the whole process less tedious and stressful for him as he will have someone to confirm the application steps with. Your child’s tuition mates may even turn out to be their future course mates in university!
The environment in tuition classes, as compared to your child’s Junior College, may be worlds apart since students feel less of a pressure to perform, and hence, the friendly environment facilitates personal conversations. It may seem daunting to strike a conversation with a stranger, but encourage your child to make the first move and JC Math Tuition classes (and tuition in general) will be less dreadful to attend. Having friends will undoubtedly make classes much more enjoyable!
Another option that your child can explore is to take up a short internship stint in their interested industry during the June Holidays or the December Holidays. It may be hard for your child to apply successfully since most companies usually take in undergraduates with some degree of industry knowledge, but there will always be some companies willing to hire Junior College students. Encourage your child to apply to a list of companies, both small and large, so that they can get a sense of how working in the industry will be like, and they will also be able to obtain valuable advice from experts in the field. Your child may be reluctant to sacrifice their break, but if they are open to the idea, taking one or two weeks of their time to do a short internship may be the motivation they need to work hard towards their goal, or give them greater clarity on their decision to pursue a certain course of study.
All that has been recommended thus far will be futile if your child has little interest in self-growth. However, parents should not see a lack of interest as bad per se. Your child may have different priorities and wants at this juncture of their life, and making the effort to understand them may turn out to be the key for your child’s growth. Do note that forcing your expectations and desires for them on them may risk a burnout if your child has too much on his plate, or if he feels unheard and misunderstood. Parents should be aware that a burnout can affect your child’s physical, mental and emotional state, and can cause your child to underperform and in worst cases, even suffer a mental breakdown.
Know that many go on to succeed even if they were not straight A students at ‘A’ levels. Moreover, research has shown that happiness leads to greater success in life. Thus, perhaps what your child needs the most to succeed in this season is to lead a happy life. Help your child to find joy in everything he does, including studies so that he sees studies as less of a chore and more of a hobby. Engage in conversations with your child on what he has learnt in school and also delve deeper by talking about how the concepts he has learnt may have application in real life. You may have been trained in a certain discipline yourself and can consider sharing tidbits of extra information with your child that may stimulate their interest in the subject. If you are working, you can share about your experiences with your child and also explain how the concepts taught in Junior College are built upon later for the various disciplines. For example, the issues raised in General Paper may be real issues tackled by politicians, social workers and researchers. As for Mathematics, vectors are used in engineering and probability and statistics are used by economists. By helping your child think outside of the box and also understanding real world application of concepts taught, it may foster your child’s interest in the subjects taught and your child will regard studies as more than mere grades he has to secure in the ‘A’ Levels examination. He will retain the knowledge gained for the rest of his education journey instead of forgetting it after his ‘A’ Levels examinations are over.
So parents, do encourage your child to make the most out of his Junior College journey and also his JC Math Tuition (or other tuition) classes!