At least not right away. Not because a kid got low grades in school he already needs a tutor. Just no.
As a tutor myself, I know this is like killing the profession that’s feeding me. And maybe my fellow tutors would love to kill me in return. But hear me out first.
I’m not saying you should never send your kids to tutor. What I’m saying is, you have to think first if it’s really a tutor he needs.
I’ve seen a lot. Indeed, most of our tutees fared well when they started having tutorials. But there are cases where there seems to be no improvement no matter what we do. Not once have we handled students who we tried giving to different tutors. Teacher N even gave them the best teachers. She thought they just needed another approach. No avail. Eventually, the parents pulled them out. However, I knew that wherever tutorial center they put their kids into, the results would just be the same.
Every now and then, a student would tell me, “You have to give me high grades.”
Huh? Am I the one taking the exam?
Parents, manage your expectations. Tutors are not magicians — that when you send your kids to us, their grades would automatically shoot up.
I’m not washing my hands clean. But reviewing for exams is a team work of both the student and the teacher. During reviews, I give my best effort to prepare my tutees for exams. One mistake in the worksheet would earn them additional 5 questions to answer. Thus, I have a love-hate relationship with the kids. They like me as me, but they complain that I torture them during reviews. They couldn’t go unless I’m satisfied they’re ready. But at the end of it all, that’s just 50% work done. The rest is up to them.
It happens too often that no matter how good their performance has been during review, they could still get failing results. When I check their answer sheets, it frustrates me to see incorrect answers to questions that were basically the same as the ones we reviewed. They got them right during review but not in the actual exam.
Taking exams does not only require mental preparedness. It also has a physical aspect to it. (How can you concentrate if you’re not feeling well?) More than that, it requires emotional preparedness — of having the attitude of not giving up, of the ability to handle pressure. And this is the part where parents could help.
We cannot expect tutors to be able to impart these traits to the students in a short span of time. It’s a cumulation of all the values they have imbibed since birth. Teachers teach them good values too but they need your help. WE need your help.
Every now and then I encounter students who are so challenging to teach. Hours would pass and lots of energy would be spent reviewing not because they’re dumb but because of their attitude towards studies. There are students who are so smart but get low grades because of mediocrity. They’re used to, “Pwede na yan!” They do not give their best. Then there are students who always try to hide their homeworks from us just because they want to play or are just lazy to do it.
Attitude means a lot. If they have only learned the importance of obedience, responsibility, initiative, discipline or hard work early on, parents would save a lot on tutoring fees. They wouldn’t have to pay on tutorial sessions that were half spent on learning and half spent on policing the kids. They may even not need tutors at all. Kids like that can study on their own.
This is not an exhaustive list of reasons why kids don’t do well in school. There can also be other factors affecting them — school bullies, boring teachers, tiring sked, relationship, family or money problems. But at least think about these things before hiring a tutor.
And of course, I’m not discounting the fact that the quality of tutor you hire has an impact on your kid’s academics. You might chance on a tutor who may be underqualified or is just not right for your kid. But that’s another story worthy of another post. 😉
Given that I love tutoring and I need tutees to earn a living, I don’t accept tutorial requests right away. I’m still an advocate of independence. Fellow tutors might hate me for saying this, but parents, please don’t send your kids to tutors just because you can… but because you need to.
1st: see watermark; 2nd: haaretz.com