Saturday, September 05, 2009

Xu Lao Shi

Brian started Chinese tuition in K2, with Xu Lao Shi, a wonderfully patient teacher recommended by an old uni friend of mine, Elyn. Elyn's niece, under Xu Lao Shi, had gone from hating Chinese and refusing to speak it to winning Hokkien Huay Kuan schools' essay-writing competitions within a year or so.

Xu Lao Shi taught Brian till the middle of P1 (once a week, 1.5 hours each lesson), and by then, he was doing P2/P3 work, nothing that I understood at all. After we left Singapore, he had tuition teachers in Frankfurt, London and Moscow, on and off, but none of them were ever as good as Xu Lao Shi, not even close. His Chinese is probably stuck at P4 level at best...and if there's one regret I have about going overseas, this would be it.

I've not seen Xu Lao Shi since we left Singapore in 2004. She continues to tutor the children I recommended her to, including Monica's through Monica, I got in touch with her, and she kindly came to give tuition to both Brian and Sean, despite her SUPER BUSY schedule. It started with thrice weekly at the start, then twice weekly and now once a week.

Xu Lao Shi was so happy to see Brian again. She even showed him a photo of them together that I had taken in 2004. She said she keeps the picture in her purse :) sweet.

2004: Brian and Xu Lao Shi.

2009: Brian and Xu Lao Shi.

She colours her hair now, and drives to classes; in 2004, she cycled to the train station from her house and took buses and trains everywhere. She is really doing very well for herself.

2009: Brian, Sean and Xu Lao Shi

For Brian, it's more of a refresher, not for PSLE, as he is exempt from Chinese; I was half-afraid he was gonna resist tuition since he wasn't taking Chinese for PSLE, but he was cooperative. Sean went from knowing Zero chinese to speaking a little now (very little but still), reading well in HYPY and writing without tears.

Really grateful to Xu Lao Shi, she didn't need to do this so I'm very thankful.


Clarabella said...

Hello there :)
I'm a new reader of your blog. I was just surfing around reading blogs when lo and behold, I saw a picture of a tutor who used to teach my cousins! Have been trying to look for her for a while to tutor my kids. If you don't mind, and if she doesn't mind, can you pm her contact details to me? Sorry, I know it's very forward of me given that I don't know you at all, but I am just so thrilled I finally found her after years! (Can you tell I'm a bit desperate...)

Btw, would your younger boy be exempted from doing Chinese in school as well? I have a friend who got both his kids exempted from CL even though they've been overseas for less than three years. The younger kid is only in P2, I think.

P.S. Your sons are soooo good looking!

Lilian said...

Hey Clarabella, I empathise with the desperation! Maybe you could leave me your email address and I'll email you soon, probably tomorrow.

Anyway, what a coincidence and aiyoh small world again! I posted this barely an hour ago LOL!

I think if you've been away 2 years in a non-Chinese speaking country, should be able to get exemption. Fingers' crossed we stay out till after P2! Otherwise, my younger boy really jialat, he has no foundation at all.

Lilian said...

Have to warn you not to get your hopes up cos her schedule is super tight. My friend's sister called Xu Lao Shi for her P1 boy and she couldn't fit him in :(

Lilian said...

Moo Han: Just to let you know I've got your comment, but won't publish it since there's your email address there.

I'll compile all your email addresses/contact numbers and email them to Xu Lao Shi by the end of next week, will leave it to her to contact you guys okay?

Good luck

Lilian said...

Clarabella: Got your email :)

Lilian said...

Elektra, got your email address. I've emailed her, hope you guys hear from her then. Good luck!

breve1970 said...

Am happy for you, Lilian! Its really not easy to get a dedicated and resourceful Chinese tutor.

We might resort to going to Busy Bees for Chinese Enrichment next year as I am not able to help the girls with their Chinese Composition nor Comprehension.

monlim said...

You're gonna cause a stampede to Xu lao shi!! She's really great although I still feel she's more suited to teach certain types of kids.

So funny, looking at the photo, both Brian and Xu lao shi look hipper now! :D

Lilian said...

LOL! Okay, I've already warned everyone, 99% chance she won't be able to fit anyone in. My friend already tried recently. She's doing me a big favour by fitting us into her schedule, and we are super flexi about it too, we take any 2-hour slot she has.

Yep, agree her style may be better suited for some (Brian's sort) than others (Sean's sort). Sean tries to pull lots of stunt with her, moans and groans too. As I said, she's super patient, maybe a bit too patient to tackle kids like Sean!

Lilian said...

Ann: I've not heard of Busy Bees, only Berries. Is BB any good?

monlim said...

Same here, her style suits L-A fine cos L-A is hardworking and conscientious. Andre is like Sean, moans and groans, complains that he has to do her hw on weekends, exclaims "I hate Chinese!" at the top of his voice. Not that it's getting him out of tuition :P

breve1970 said...

Hi Lilian

Heard good reviews from most mums but I am still seriously thinking of whether to send the girls there.

BB has a branch at Rail Mall and another at Balmoral Plaza. Heard they focus a lot on Chinese Composition and Comprehension but I don't think its a good idea to memorize all the model essays and regurgitate them during the exam.

Anonymous said...

Lilian, I told you Brian has his charm, even tution teacher also can't bear to turn down your request to teach him again. LOL

Brian without glasses look so much like you. He is so good looking.

Chinese, I give up hope on J doing well in this subject. :-P


Lilian said...

J is such an achiever, I can't imagine her not doing well in anything!

Brian's Thai friend says he looks weird without glasses :) I think Moscow schoolmates will think the same when we go back.

Anonymous said...

No lah, Brian where got look weird. His smile is just like you, so pleasant.

Thanks for the compliment on J ^_^ . She & chinese is like fire & water, can't come together.


Lilian said...

Who ask you marry jiak gantang husband? :P

breve1970 said...

Hmmm... why are No 2s always the rebellious and cheeky ones ah? The same goes for us... Hay is the more challenging one.

Electra said...

Hi there, many thanks for your help in emailing Xu lao shi!

Sharon Lee said...

Hi there

I am honestly happy for any mom to find the 'right' tutor with the 'right' connection with her kids. I am likewise , one of those hoping to find one b4 its too late for PSLE. Thy will be done....If Xu Lao Shi lives in the west or has a slot for P3/4 maybe she will take my dear son Leonard. I appreciate your blog and help :D