Last month, Bhuvenraj Ganesh, 18, scored an impressive 9A+s in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination. Now, the Penangite is offering free online Mathematics and Additional Mathematics tuition for students preparing for their upcoming SPM.
The former Penang Free School science stream student is determined to share his passion for Mathematics and debunk the misconception that the subject is meant only for nerds.
"During my own preparation for SPM, I noticed that many students struggled with Maths and Add Maths. Some even expressed immense hate for these subjects. It made me feel a little disturbed because I kept asking myself, 'How could people hate a beautiful subject like Maths?'
"I wanted to (let students know) that you can be super cool and still love Mathematics," said Bhuvenraj in a Zoom interview from George Town.
Bhuvenraj was an avid contributor to Starchild, a weekly column that caters to young readers aged between four and 12. He started writing in to the column when he was just three and had sent over 400 letters.
Since April, Bhuvenraj has been dedicating three hours each week to giving e-tuition lessons to about 100 students. He views his efforts as a way of helping other students.
"My parents have always advised me from young that it is important to give back to society. I am very thankful for my upbringing and for all the help given to me to make me who I am today. Thus I would also like to help others excel in the things that they never believed they could.
"This is like my part-time job after my SPM. Now that I have started A-Levels, I may need to reduce the hours or reschedule but I still plan to continue helping my students," shared Bhuvenraj, who is studying at a private college in Penang.
He stresses he isn’t a substitute for a teacher or tuition teacher, but rather, more like a mentor.
"First of all, I am not a school teacher. Thus, I would not be able to create comprehensive lessons like school teachers do. I also do live sessions twice a week where I discuss past year questions and any other questions students may have. I send the material to be discussed in each lesson a few days before the class. This provides time for the students to attempt a few questions before entering the class.
"In my live class, I also try to relate mathematical concepts to daily life situations and analogies that could enhance the love for learning Mathematics. On top of that, I also teach them to not memorise formulas but make them understand every component of it. I always give freedom to my students to utilise the group chat and interact with other students, which builds a strong bond between everyone."
So far, he has uploaded 70 videos on YouTube, covering various Maths topics (logarithms, composite functions and inverse functions) to ensure students have access to the study materials in advance.
Currently, he has a WhatsApp group comprising over 800 students from Form Four and Form Five.
"I also help students personally through this group. They come from every state in Malaysia. I also do a poll in the group asking the students which topics they want to be taught, and this gives me valuable feedback," said Bhuvenraj, who is the only child in his family.
Since he started this effort, he has witnessed some success stories and achievements among his students.
"I have helped students who had poor basics in Mathematics become confident in sitting for their first-term exams.
In addition, I have also witnessed a few people scoring A+ for both Maths and Additional Maths after attending my classes regularly. This has assured me that my methods were effective for them," he proudly shared.
When asked why teenagers should take an active role in helping others, Bhuvenraj said: "When you help others, they are obviously happy and contented. The next question that normally arises in many people’s minds is 'What about me?' Be rest assured that when you help others, grace will always be upon you. I find contentment seeing the students do well. Apart from that, I learned to be more eloquent when speaking in impromptu situations because students throw questions randomly."
For aspiring students, Bhuvenraj advises consistency and dedication in their pursuit of academic excellence.
"There is nothing that is difficult, you only need practice. There is no substitute for consistency and dedication. Also, I don’t work hard, I work joyfully. I enjoy the journey of learning and don’t think about the results.
"If you have love and passion towards what you are doing, your results will be fantastic anyway. In the pursuit of knowledge, do not discount your mental and physical well-being. You need a healthy body and a healthy mind to face the challenges of a major examination," said Bhuvenraj who is a big fan of South Korean pop band Black Pink.
Looking ahead, Bhuvenraj envisions himself becoming successful and accomplished in the field of Mathematics.
"When I reach a certain level in my studies and later, my career, I will be able to reach out to more people to help them love Mathematics. I also have a vision to become a philanthropist in the field of education, particularly in funding research and studies in Mathematics. That may be a far-fetched dream, but not an impossible one!"