Why is tutoring such a big deal with some people?

(302 Posts)
APMF Sun 02-Dec-12 23:05:14

We downloaded some past papers. We 'tutored' our DCs in standard test taking techniques ie watch the clock, skip a question if you are stuck and return to it later, recheck your maths answers if you have the time and so on. Now, if parents want to pay someone to tutor their DCs in such obvious exam techniques then my rates are quite reasonable smile

After listening to so many presumably working class parents harp on about middle class parents buying a GS place for their dim? DCs, I wonder if the said parents realise how stupid they sound.

I mean, there is no secret technique that is known only to the Secret Brotherhood of Tutors. Some parents haven't the inclination to do the above and so they hire someone to do it for them. This hardly gives their kids an advantage over yours.

I get it that some of your DCs didn't pass the 11+ but why blame others for the fact that you didn't do your part as a parent or that your DC wasn't clever enough to pass?

Arisbottle Sun 02-Dec-12 23:15:00

I would and have refused to tutor my children , they spend enough time doing homework as it is. They also need time for their hobbies which make them rounded individuals and time to be children.

APMF Sun 02-Dec-12 23:39:04

Mine study hard AND they have the time and the energy to be 'rounded individuals'.

Kind of silly to rant about GS kids and then confess that your kids can't handle a bit of tutoring without their social lives coming to halt.

The parents got their places, not because they bought the GS place, but because they don't have your attitude.

Elsewhere I see that you mentioned that you are a state school teacher. Given your attitude towards pushing your own children, are you surprised that some parents want an academic environment for their DCs where the teacher doesn't think that teaching exam technique is worth his/her time?

Some posters complain about whatever, not realising that THEY are the problem. Teachers with YOUR attitude is why I got mine to take the 11+.

Arisbottle Mon 03-Dec-12 00:15:39

Gosh , not sure there is any need to be quite that personal.

My older children already do 1-2 hours a night of homework, my eldest son has a commute to and from the grammar and he has extra curricular activities a couple of nights a week too, he has no time for any kind of tutoring. My second daughter does homework every night for a similar number of hours and does sport a few evenings a week. My three eldest children all sail for at least one full day every weekend from spring time until the winter.

My third child is in year 6, she does about 30-45 minutes of homework every other night. She reads every evening ferociously . She dances three times a week for between one and three hours and sails at the weekend in the summer.

I have to work long hours during term time and therefore we are very protective of family time.

My eldest three also come to the gym with me a few times a week. The older two also do voluntary with my husband and I . My third child is something of a business geek and is forever dreaming up businesses, some of which work.

We also have a pony share, so that also takes time.

I didn't say they could not handle tutoring, I said I did not want it for them. I also have a child in a grammar school, who was not tutored, so it would be daft for me to feel bitter about other parents who have their children in grammar schools. However if I had been given a free choice I would have made a different choice.

I do create/ facilitate an academic environment for the children I teach. I am part of our school Oxbridge team which works with sixth formers getting them ready for the process. Where have I said that teaching exam technique is not important? There has to be more to teaching than exam skills but itis vital. For the past three years a student from one of my ALevel classes has gone on to Oxford or Cambridge, many go on to top universities. I als run special sessions for our gifted and talented students . You could not be more wrong . Not your fault, that is the drawback of an Internet forum.

Silibilimili Mon 03-Dec-12 00:28:53

It really is the grades grades that employers look at first.

Arisbottle Mon 03-Dec-12 08:00:39

They are not doing activities to make them more employable. I expect my son will get straight As and A* to be honest anyway. My second child , not quite as well.

cory Mon 03-Dec-12 08:25:05

"I get it that some of your DCs didn't pass the 11+ but why blame others for the fact that you didn't do your part as a parent or that your DC wasn't clever enough to pass?"

Isn't that a bit mean towards parents that haven't got the means to pay for a tutor?

No personal axe here, I don't even live in a grammar school area, but the one objection that I think can reasonably be made against tutoring is that it divides children not into the bright and not-so-bright, but into the Bright Enough To Cope On My Own and Not Bright Enough But With Well Off Parents. In other words, if Child A and Child B are on exactly the same level of moderate brightness, and Child B's parents are poor, grammar school will only be on offer for Child A. Then again, if Child A's parents are also poor but well educated, the same unfairness would prevail and you can't stop people from being educated.

But I do think it's nasty to suggest that parents who can't afford to pay for tutors are failing as parents. One more reason I am glad I don't live in a grammar school area.

mam29 Mon 03-Dec-12 08:55:14

APMF-feel bit harsh on some of your response to Arisbottle, I dont know how she manages it fulltime job, lots kids, some kids can make it without tutoring the very bright guess depends how superselective the grammer is. I do agree in the sense that kids need a rounded education with extra curricular and academic work sometimes hard to strike the balance but I agree with some of ops comments but her frustration was vented at wrong poster never see arisbottle on grammer school posts moaning her dd dident get in .

Most areas dont have grammer schools my nearest one is hour away few counties over. we dont have mujc real choice here its sink/comp academy, private or faith so sometimes envy people having something to work for.

I only have 1 school age primary child who does afterschool activities a week old school used to give hours homework a week keystage 1 new school only reading.

I have 3kids so know juggling all their homework be a challenge as see freinds who do. But will do my best to ensure help them any way I can.

I have done what some people would call extra help.

enrolled dd on maths programme online in summer as she was struggling.

Try to do lots reading

Try to get her writing.

We do education day trips, mini projects/arts/crafts at home.

I dont know if that would be considered tutoring.

As for what job market wants well thats a tricky one.

with grade depreciation and so many getting a and bs?
how does an employer decide?

extra curricular?
experince.

Also one of sucess of private education can be the networking with inflential people or parents of - so xs daddy can get boy b an internship at his city office that kind of thing.

Some activities by their very nature can be limited due to costs and whats needed hence why can network with wider variety of people. Private schools themselves can ofer much wider variety of sports

sailing/horseriding included in that -of course there be exceptions but both are expensive hobbies.

When applying for uni lots people do extra to diffentiate themselves from others with same grades.

Having never been through 11+or with kids I must say if I chose to enter child then yes I would tutor as know most are unless child was very bright as think the dissapointment of failing something they could have passed would upset me and the child.

I forsee me doing a lot with eldest she can do it but needs to ork at it, responds better one to one, shes behind so recently moved schools but shes year 2 so not too confident will get great sats-not end of world I know just dident wnat her playing cathcup every year, want her to start juniors leveled with everyone else . Did worry old school may have already labelled her at slow kid therefore her not achiving level 5/6s in yera 6 sats.

As for middle dd shes very differnt personality. shes just missed school cut off so maybe do more academic stuff with her next year as she loves reading books, shes good with numbers/shapes and colours.

Hope for all mine to have good education and hobbies and hope its possible to balance them both.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 09:02:13

I think that people who don't understand why tutoring, or selective schools generally, are a bad idea will never understand.

This is because they have the "Look after Number One-Devil take the hindmost" attitude that does not care about inequality or unfairness just so long as they and theirs are OK.

Sad, and dispiriting, but true.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 09:03:50

@Cory - I downloaded some past papers and I got my kids to familiarise themselves with the different types of questions. We then spent the summer working on basic exam techniques like checking answers and not getting bogged down with questions that they are struggling with. Hardly rocket science.

If, after this, my kids failed then I would accept that they were better off at an non selective school. I certainly wouldn't be going on how some well off parents are buying a place for their DCs by employing professional tutors.

And if I didn't even bother to do something as basic as familiarizing my kids with the 11+ because it interferred with their social lives then I would see myself as having failed them.

mercibucket Mon 03-Dec-12 09:08:58

We don't live in a grammar school area. I went to grammar school so used to do the bond papers etc. You do need a bit of exam practice and a tutor can make the difference for 'tim nice but dim' types. That's why grammar schools end up crammed with mc types: either they tutor the kids themselves (as I would) or they pay someone else to do it.
People object to the unfairness of a grammar school being really a 'middle class' school by default. That is a political objection not a personal objection.
I have never liked the grammar system as I hated the secondary modern system - seen too many people's lives destroyed by the second-rate education on offer there for it to be balanced out by good grades for those at the grammar.

mercibucket Mon 03-Dec-12 09:08:58

We don't live in a grammar school area. I went to grammar school so used to do the bond papers etc. You do need a bit of exam practice and a tutor can make the difference for 'tim nice but dim' types. That's why grammar schools end up crammed with mc types: either they tutor the kids themselves (as I would) or they pay someone else to do it.
People object to the unfairness of a grammar school being really a 'middle class' school by default. That is a political objection not a personal objection.
I have never liked the grammar system as I hated the secondary modern system - seen too many people's lives destroyed by the second-rate education on offer there for it to be balanced out by good grades for those at the grammar.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 09:12:40

@Arisbottle - I am receiving conflicting information from you. You don't believe in tutoring your own children even though you are a teacher. The fact that your eldest is at a GS without tutoring kind of proves that professional/home tutoring is a bit irrelevant.

So why are you on a thread going on about how the well off are buying a place oft their DCs through tutoring? Yours got in with no tutoring but others are not getting in because they don't have access to professional tutors?????

LettyAshton Mon 03-Dec-12 09:18:56

I never understand it either. People say they're too poor, well, how much are Bond papers? We don't live in a grammar school area, but I bought some 11+ papers just to see if ds could do them. Unless you are extremely badly off then I think you could find £10 from somewhere, especially if you feel the result is so important.

And some of the questions you could never tutor for. I remember one question where you had to make a word out of others and the answer was "dace" as in the fish. I'm sure that even the most comprehensive of tutoring could not hope to impart a full knowledge of British wildlife. This must have been the tie-breaker question!

BeckAndCall Mon 03-Dec-12 09:22:15

I think the rest of us may have missed something here.

OP posts her post and Arisbottle replies with a short reply with a different view. OP responds with very personal comments far more detailed and presumptive than anything in the original reply could warrant. Aris comes back with a full explanation, very calm in the circumstances, IMO.

Next morning OP is back laying into Aris again. What on earth did we miss - what is the back story here? Second thoughts I don't want to know.

Would just say APMF that you appear to have a personal axe to grind here with Arisbottle and you look like you're giving her a hard time for no reason.

APMF, you might want to make your comments less personal in Orr to get your point across, because I, for one,have lost sight of what exactly your point is.

BeckAndCall Mon 03-Dec-12 09:26:12

Ah, there's another thread. And the OP is having the same personal debate wtih Arisbottle on there too.

I'd ask for the thread to be pulled, Aris, if I were you before it gets silly here.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 09:27:34

Seems to me the homework's the problem for middle class, state educated children at primary level, then!... Without that, they would have time for lots of hobbies AND parental home tutoring in 11 plus exam technique... grin

mam29 Mon 03-Dec-12 09:28:36

Seeker im aware of you veiws but even you who disagreed decided to enter an exam you despise.

As I explained we have no grammers/selctive schools here so I dont have the choice that some counties do thats hardly fair is it, I know you like idea of comprehensives but ones in my city are some of worst in uk.

Dd does to state primary. she started off rc and now smaller coe.
so selction by faith seems far more unfair than ability.
catchment is who can afford the house prices near the best schools.

What im saying is there are oads of inequalities within the uk education sytem . grammer\11+ just small minority

think 3%grammers
7%private

which leaves 90%in state educational system.

Even with state schols there are good ones and bad ones.

Most of the really clever ones go private here as we have so many thriving independant schools.

we are i guess middle class in terms gross income.
But always feel skint.
we looked ta explore and kumon but just sheer cost.

I dot think it just needs money parents can tutor.

I see nothing wrong with familierising self with formats.techniques surly schools do that when it comes to gcses/alevels.
Its about increasing childs confidence settling their nerves so they can succeed,

Who doesnt want the best for child?
you wanted a grammer school.
doesnt make people selfish.

I ill continue to support my dds where and when they need it as the worlds competative priciples will only hurt my child.

look at labour mps sending their kids private even diane abbot.

When I was in secondry bog standard quite crap comp predicted e gcse french had free totoring from cousins wife french teacher got c my teacher was shocked she had written me offsmile

I met one lady recently child in junior state but quite academic school 97%sats pass rate who used tutor as said as the cohort class/year he was in they worked at higher level so he wasent confident and needed extra help. She agrees if he was in lesser schol be be considered very bright wheres hes just average its raised him higher then he may have done otherwise.

I guess grammer schools are perceived to be like that.

When I was in comp the groups and sets rarly changed.

if you were top you stayed top
if you middle you had occasional chance
if at bottom you stayed at the bottom

in 2subjects I put my failure down to

teaching
disruptive class rarly learn anything, wasent cool to learn
I

I so dont want that for my dds.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 09:28:41

@merci - a tutor cannot make a middle class nice but dim DC past the 11+. The expression about silk and some creature's ear springs to mind smile

Sometimes parents can't accept that their child, while possibly the smartest in his/her Year 6 class, may not be among the smartest kids taking 11+. So when the kid fails they look for someone to blame.

Bonsoir Mon 03-Dec-12 09:29:54

Life isn't fair. It won't actually become fairer by preventing people who want to get on in life from doing so.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 09:30:59

It's not a matter of being well off. It's a matter of being from a middle class/professional/educated family who understqnd how the system works and how to get what they want.

I remember a mother coming up to me in the playground and asking about how to get the practice books. Her son was very bright, but the mother concerned had very little education and the family circumstances were very difficult. I said that a bookshop in town had them. I asked her a week or so later whether she had got them and she admitted that she had gone into the shop, not seen them and had been too intimidated by the staff to ask. She had never been in a bookshop before. So think about that, all you, oh, it's easy, anyone can tutor their child brigade. I suspect women like her are so far below your radar that you don't even notice them! But that's OK, because I suspect most of you wouldn't want her kid in your kid's school anyway!

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 09:32:38

"Life isn't fair. It won't actually become fairer by preventing people who want to get on in life from doing so."

No it won't. It's a good thing nobody is talking about doing that, then isn't it?

wordfactory Mon 03-Dec-12 09:37:48

I think the internet has democratised information to a certain point.

Any parent can now access a heap of help if they go looking for it. Tutoring is probably unnecessary these days.

However, there are DC who have parents who will not access and use this information. They are the ones who have the rough end of the deal IMVHO.

Whether the system should be changed to protect those DC is a different matter.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 09:40:39

Life's not fair and everyone is selfish, so let's not try to change that, shall we? Who wants to work for any kind of greater good when they don't believe in it? We shouldn't really have moved away from an inherited aristocracy.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 09:41:21

@seeker - You want to deny people a choice in which school their kids go to because some mum doesn't know how to download free past papers from the Internet? Is that really the crux of your argument?

Also, as some other poster has pointed out, if your DC had passed the 11+ would you still be here today going on about how bad the GS system is?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now