My children don't have to be top students

He doesn't give two hoots about the grades his kids get on their report cards.

For Mr Gerard Danker, 50, what he cares about more are the life lessons his kids pick up.

Despite that, he sends his 10-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter for Malay tuition once a week. And his sister, who works as a tutor, coaches the children in English, maths and science.

Mr Danker, who works in the education industry, spends about $175 on tuition while his sister doesn't charge him.

He says the tuition is there because of his own failings: "There have been times I've been caught when the kids have a Science question, for example, that I couldn't help them with.

"It's not like before, where the child can go to school the next day and ask the teacher how to answer it.

"These days, the kids are more concerned with getting their homework done before they get into trouble the next day. The tutors are there to help give them the structured answers that schools expect from the children.

"I don't ask for my children to be top students, although I try to instil in them that they should always put in effort to be the best they can be."


Mr Dankeris more concerned with having his children develop skills that they can apply throughout their lives.

He reasons: "I'd rather make sure my kids have logical and analytical skills, and are capable of making the right decisions in life.

"I'm not interested in my kids' grades compared to their peers. I don't even compare them to each other. If my child comes back disappointed in a grade he or she has been awarded, I would tell him or her, 'it's on you to put in the work to be able to push that grade up'."

Despite sending the children for tuition, Mr Danker believes "it is not a necessity".

"Our schools are doing a lot of work to help the children academically. But it is our own personal fears that make us think that they are not doing well enough compared with other students," he says.

"For me, as long as there are some improvements, slight or drastic, that's all that matters."

Mr Danker, who is also a field hockey coach, does not deny that his parenting style allows room for academic disasters but to him, that comes with a lesson.

"You have to let academic disasters happen for you to realise that only you can decide your fate," he says. "The more effort and work you put in, the chances of succeeding are much higher.

"The kids must know that so if they want to do better, they know exactly what needs to be done to get there."

It is our own personal fears that make us think that they are not doing well enough compared with other students.

- Mr Gerard Danker