Good grades is a family affair, says maths guru

Paulvin Webster with his book Just Pass Math

Are you a calculus casualty? Algebra afflicted? Bomdas bewildered? Pythagoreanly pooped? Well, there’s hope for you yet.

Paulvin Webster, a former maths tutor from Mitchell’s Plain, has written a book on how to tame a subject that strikes fear into the hearts
many.

But achieving good grades in maths, as with any subject, he says, takes a joint effort by pupils, parent and teachers.

Importantly, he says, parents can’t just drop their children off at school and hope for the best – the role they play in their child’s education is just as important as that of the teacher.

When it comes to maths, Paulvin knows what he’s talking about: he started tutoring fellow pupils at 14. And he went on to complete a degree in mathematical science and the worked for a private maths tutor company for six years.

His book, Just Pass Math – A success guide for parents and students, doesn’t just look at how to solve maths problems, it explores the psychology behind the subject.

The book stresses the importance of parents supporting their children throughout their academic journey.

“It’s not just the student’s job to do well in school but that of the teacher and the parent too,” says Paulvin.

By applying a few principles from his book which is based on his experiences as a tutor and those of his students – you will save a lot of money and future disappointments, he says.

Any responsible teacher, he says, is often more than willing to give a struggling pupil extra support but it’s also important for them to notify the parents.

And parents can play a big role by supporting their children and seeing if there aren’t problems outside of school that are hindering their academic performance.

Sometimes a difficult home environment can be behind a child’s struggles in the classroom, says Paulvin.

“I had a very young student I tutored and his parents were going through a divorce. It’s not the child’s performance that had initially changed, but his mood rather. The child was badly affected by the divorce, and I could see it.”

His advice to pupils is avoid distracting romantic entanglements when they should be studying, but, at the same time, parents shouldn’t overreact in stopping these because that can be just as disruptive to their child’s studies.

Bribery also works, he says, recalling how his father’s promise to buy him a piano worked wonders for him at school. But, and this is a big “but”, he says, hold off on handing out the goodies before the results are in. Giving your child the latest smartphone while they’re still studying is not a great idea, he says, because they will be plugged into it more than the books.