There’s one foolproof answer that you can guarantee most people will give when you ask why they are seeking the help of a tutor for their child: to increase their grades and help prepare them for exams, coursework and university. This is certainly the case at the start of the tutoring process, but as students move forwards, many other advantages come to the surface.
In crowded classrooms where teachers are unable to dedicate their entire attention to one student for more than a brief amount of time, it’s easy for pupils to slowly slip away, becoming more and more disengaged and distanced. This can happen regardless of the student’s academic ability: both struggling pupils and gifted pupils can lose focus when their needs aren’t being met. Similarly, students who don’t have an active interest in a subject are likely to carry on being apathetic with no one there to introduce them to the exciting side of it. Apathy quickly leads to lowered grades: why would you put the effort in if you don’t care?
With a tutor on the scene, however, all of this can change. Students are encouraged to delve deeper into a topic than what their teacher may be pushing, therefore widening the likelihood of being captivated by something. Tutors are there to point out the reasons to find their subject worth working on: passion is often contagious, and working one-on-one with an expert can renew any student’s faith in a subject. Tutors are there to make the disengaged student engaged again, to relight fires underneath topics that have faded away, and bring back a want to learn and study.
It’s no secret that many young adults in Britain have bad experiences with education. Whether it’s with teachers, subjects or fellow classmates, teenagers quickly associate these negative feelings with education, and can be put off from wanting to go to school and do well in exams. With the help of a tutor, the link between this bad experience and academia can be removed. They are there to show a student that an unsavoury relationship with a teacher or peer doesn’t have to ruin their education, and there’s a whole world of learning out there that has nothing to do with the root of their problem. A bad teacher, a bad school or a bad classmate doesn’t reflect education, and a tutor can be the one to prove this.
Being tutored gives an advanced or struggling student an outlet to relieve their embarrassment. Both sides of the academic spectrum can find it difficult to voice their true thoughts or concerns in class: some may not want to admit in front of a full class that they don’t understand something, while others may worry over answering correctly all the time, for fear of being stereotyped. These situations are incredibly detrimental to a student’s academic success and their self-confidence.
In order to avoid this situation, tutors can help struggling students to catch up with their classmates, while giving advanced students a place to discuss further ideas and find new and interesting theories or problems to work on.
Above all, a tutor is someone who’s both impartial and objective, yet sympathetic to their student. They know exactly what each of their pupils is going through, and can offer them the best advice, from a removed position – yet it’s a position that’s been there, and done that. They are the figures that show every student that no matter what they’re dealing with, that it only gets better and better.
Robert Grabiner – Founder of MyTutorWeb