is tutoring right for me?
What it is - What it isn't - How it can help
Do I really need a tutor?
Maybe, but this isn't necessarily the first question you need to answer. Hopefully before you've landed here you've asked "Does my child need help?" Unfortunately the answer to this question is often a resounding 'yes'. I was there. I struggled with math growing up. I know what it's like for a teacher to make it all sound so easy, and watch as my classmates got it no sweat. I remember studying late at night, anxious about an upcoming test, and then getting a bad grade despite really trying hard.
There are many resources out there for students to get extra help that do not require another person to interact with. Study books, YouTube videos, and mobile apps can sometimes provide all the help a student needs to get that last little nugget of knowledge that tips the scale from uncertainty to understanding.
But sometimes those resources don't do the trick. Sometimes it's not even about understanding material, but developing a habit and discipline of study. It's in these types of cases that working with a private tutor can be highly beneficial.
What is tutoring, anyway? Isn't it just an glorified homework helper?
This is an major oversimplification. While there are many instances during a tutoring session where help with homework might become the predominant activity, this should not be the primary goal.
Meeting for an hour every week to watch you do your homework would be a poor use of time for both of us. I am here to help you overcome your challenges. The most effective use of time is for you to have made an attempt, do your best to identify those types of tasks that are challenging, and I will do my best to give you some help in those targeted areas.
Can't I just use YouTube or Khan Academy?
Of course! Those are both fantastic resources. In fact I link to them (and a bunch more) over on my Math Resources page. Please use them. They're all proven to be highly effective. Plus they're super convenient.
But I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't believe tutoring was a highly beneficial activity for you or your student. Nothing can really compare to having the ability to speak with, make eye contact with, and interact with a live human being. Some students can thrive in a self-paced environment such as Khan Accademy, but it isn't for everyone.
So why go through the trouble of hiring a tutor?
Having a tutor provides a few benefits that online resources can't.
- It's personal. A youtube video can't keep track of your progress, or make recommendations directly to you, immediately. A tutor will be able to identify common mistakes and be able to anticipate them ahead of time, allowing for students to better develop the habit of anticipating likely mistakes, and also fixing mistakes that have already been made before I have a chance to tell them myself.
- It's habit forming. Having an event on your calendar establishes a routine. A lot of students struggle in school because the only motivation they have to succeed is "don't get a bad grade". With a tutor, you'll have a routine meeting time, in a predicable location. Having this tangible event coming up on regular basis provides an extra layer of responsibility. Even if a student hasn't quite come around to the idea of succeeding at math for success's sake, at least they'll know that mom and dad are paying for something and they won't want that time to go to waste. Kids need more regimented expectations sometimes. Once progress improves, so will the motivation to continue and improve even more.
- It's reassuring. A tutor's presence while working through problems provides a direct and immediate opportunity to validate a students skills (good, bad, or indifferent). Lack of confidence can be killer on a grade. Your child very well might know literally everything there is to know about a certain topic. But paradoxically they might not know they know it. I've seen it many times. A little confidence boost can go a long way.
Will you guarantee better grades?
No. I wish I could, but that's unfortunately not how it works. Tutoring is only as effective as the work the student is willing to put into it. You should do as much homework as possible prior to a session, and you will have to remember to use any tips, tricks, or study tactics I give you.
I will guarantee, though, that I will be there to help guide and assist in every area that I believe is necessary to improve success.
What if I hire you, meet for a few weeks, and it's just not helping?
I certainly hope it would not happen. But it could if we don't stay pro-active.
Lack of progress could be due to any number of reasons. Do I talk too fast? Do we meet too late in the day? Or too early? Do I not spend enough time on example problems? Do I interject with feedback too often? Or not enough? Do I need to relate obscure or seemingly "useless" topics to real-world examples more often? etc...
Your feedback is crucial. I'm pretty good at changing the way I conduct sessions as I get to know your child better, but I won't be able to spot every red flag. The most effective way you can help is by talking to your child about me shortly after our session, after we've parted ways for the day. Afterwards, give me a call and we'll chat. I'll adapt to your feedback as best as I can.
I don't expect it after every session, but we should make time on a regular basis to spend 5-10 minutes discussing what is and is not working with our sessions to ensure that we are both getting the most out of them as possible.
Ok, I think I'm convinced. Now what?
Great! The next thing we should do is chat. I'd love to know more about you and what your needs are. If we're a good fit, I'll work with you to schedule our first session! :)
Please feel free to give me a call, an email, or connect with me on any of my social media outlets. I look forward to working with your child (or you!) to bring some confidence and to help start seeing some better results.