A lot of students turn to private tutoring when they need help outside of the classroom.
Perhaps your teen is one of them?
A lot of the ideas we share with you don’t just come from our own studying experiences at school and university, but from our experiences as high school tutors.
Well today we’re going to set the record straight and tell you which students will benefit from tutoring, and which are simply wasting their parents’ time and money.
What aren’t tutors for?
1. Tutors aren’t there to ‘study’ with
The most frustrating thing for us is when a student thinks of their one or two hours of tutoring a week as study time.
These students do no work outside of the classroom apart from our time together. When we see them again a week later their understanding hasn’t progressed at all.
They think, “Sweet I’ve done an hour of math study – surely that’s enough?!”
Unfortunately for them, it’s really not.
2. Tutors aren’t there to complete homework
Students often ask our advice on school projects, or how we think they’re going with their set homework.
And that’s totally fine.
But it certainly isn’t fine for your teen to get a tutor to do their homework with (or rather for) them.
Homework is set by their teacher so your teen can cement ideas from the classroom in their heads and practice what they’ve been taught.
If a tutor was to take your teen through a homework sheet point by point, then your teen hasn’t done any work themselves. They would really need to do another (similar) sheet to cement the ideas that they have just practiced with the tutor – in their own time.
3. Tutor’s aren’t there to replace classroom learning
Apart from certain special cases (such as missing large chunks of school), tutors should not take the place of a teacher.
We firmly believe that a tutor’s role is to enhance classroom learning, not replace it.
Your teen needs to make an effort in class to understand what’s going on. They need to do their homework and spend a few hours studying each week to make sure they’ve understood their lessons.
So what are tutors for?
A tutor’s job is to go over concepts that your teen doesn’t entirely understand.
Or to explain concepts in a way that makes sense to your teen.
Or to slightly elaborate on points (where appropriate) to give your teen a full understanding of a concept.
They are there to show your teen where their knowledge gaps are, to show them where they need to spend a bit of time studying, and then to check that things have made sense the next week.
The final word
It’s not our intention at all to put you off the idea of getting a tutor for your teen.
Our only intention is to make sure that you don’t waste your money when it may be that all your teen needs is to put in a bit of extra effort during the week. If they are already putting in an effort outside of the classroom and are still dazed and confused, then a tutor would probably be a big help.
Maybe incentives would work for your teen, rather than paying for a tutor?
Incentives should be given based on input (work done), and not purely output (grades).
We suggest having a conversation with your teen about how they’re doing in each of their subjects, how they want to be doing, and what they think they need to bridge the gap.
If you are considering tutoring for your teeen make sure you check out our article on Thursday – we’re going to talk about what your teen can do to make sure they get the most of their tutoring sessions.
Image Credit: San Jose Library on Flickr