People have all kinds of preconceptions about what tutoring is and whom it can help:
“My daughter has a bad attitude about homework and authority figures. No tutor could ever get through to her.”
“My son has too many learning differences. I can never find someone who’ll give him the encouragement he needs.”
“I want my son to learn how to get his work done. Private tutoring is just for rich kids who want someone to do their homework for them.”
The truth is tutoring is what you make of it. There’s a perfect tutor out there for every student, someone who can help your son or daughter overcome his or her mental blocks and limitations. Contrary to popular belief, there is no one-size-fits-all tutoring program and there is no single profile of a student who could benefit from tutoring. Here are three common myths about tutoring and why they aren’t true.
Myth 1: Tutors just do the homework for their students.
Wrong. A bad tutor is an answer oracle students consult so they don’t have to do the hard work of learning. A good tutor is an adaptive teacher who can identify problems in how his students process information and works to correct fundamental flaws in their thinking. This means that—although it’s a lot harder—a good tutor will never just hand out the right answer. A good tutor will help his students understand the essential concepts so they can apply those concepts flexibly in a range of environments. A student may get help with specific homework problems but a good tutor will always prioritize developing the skills and initiative so students can finish the assignments on their own.
Myth 2: Tutors are only helpful for students who are failing.
Wrong. Tutors can certainly help students who are falling behind their peers, but they can also help students who are at the head of the pack. The benefit of one-on-one instruction is that there’s the time and energy to address problems that are too hard to fix in a classroom setting. This is a common problem for high achieving students, since teachers spend so much class time helping the kids who are struggling that they never get around to their Superstar pupils. This can train kids to take a “good enough” approach to academics, which simply doesn’t fly at most colleges. Tutors can offer targeted feedback as well as study tips, organizational help and assistance preparing for big exams. And a passionate and engaged tutor can also offer his students the opportunity to explore areas of specific interest, enriching the student’s intellectual life outside of the classroom.
Myth 3: Tutors can only help their students with school assignments.
Wrong. The value of a good tutor goes far beyond just helping with homework. A good tutor may use homework as a springboard, but his goal will always be to help his students develop those tricky but foundational study skills that will serve them for their whole lives. By cultivating the ability to understand and apply a range of concepts, ultimately, a tutor is teaching the skills necessary to excel in any subject. This means that the range of subjects a tutor can help with is practically limitless, including everything from high school curriculum studying for the SAT to teaching you how to write a killer college essay. For students who are feeling overwhelmed or under pressure, a tutor can be just the thing to help relieve some stress.
If you feel lost in a specific subject, are having trouble staying organized, need help developing your writing skills, or want some tools to prepare for an exam, call a tutor. Don’t ever be afraid to get help. Successful people always know when they can benefit from someone else’s knowledge.
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