One of the reasons many people don’t hire a tutor until the last minute is because of the social stigma, similar to that associated with psychological therapy or counseling, that if you need help you must be “weak” or “stupid”. However, this stigma is both wrong and incorrect.
It is wrong because there should be no shame associated with getting help if you need it; this doesn’t make you less of a person or less worthy in any way. It is incorrect because kids don’t struggle in school because they are “stupid”, they struggle because school doesn’t work for them.
A tutor is a specialist, either in a particular academic area, or in providing one-on-one instruction, or both. One-size-fits-all public education is calibrated for the masses, designed to be workable for the “average student”. The problem is, average students don’t exist! Just like the average height of people in a room can be 5’6”, even though nobody in that room is actually 5’6” tall, the average student is an abstraction. Each student is an individual and benefits best from individual attention. It is no secret that any student can benefit from individual attention, this is just something that public education is inherently unable to provide.
Furthermore, the more gifted or talented a student is, the more they are able to benefit from working with a specialist. A student with a particularly strong aptitude or passion for a given subject will benefit most from the help of a specialist to help them fully reach their true potential, something an “average” education will never provide.
A cafeteria-style education fills minds the way a cafeteria fills bellies, but it can’t meet the needs of exceptional students to follow their passions and unlock their full potential. That’s why, in a public education setting, the smartest kids are really the ones that need help the most.
While the common perception is that tutoring is a last-resort solution for students who are struggling, the reality is that tutoring represents an investment that can help any student get more out of their education and enjoy life more.
While demands on students are higher than they have ever been, individual support and attention is low. Teachers are necessarily some of the best-intentioned individuals, but they themselves are constrained and overburdened and unable to provide students with the kind of inspired mentorship and individual attention they would like to.
Math is possibly the subject where the majority of students struggle the most, with damaging effects on their confidence and self esteem. Despite the fact that our innate mathematical ability is our birthright as human beings, many students associate math with stress and failure.
A large number of students face an even greater challenge in overcoming clinically-identified mental blocks (such as depression, anxiety, or so-called “learning disabilities”) related to school in general and math in particular. For these students, the feelings of stress and failure are painfully acute.
At the same time, exceptionally talented or passionate students are hurt just as much by the lack of individual attention, as they have difficulty fulfilling their full potential in the typical school environment. The talent that gets wasted in this way represents a loss to society at large as much as it does to individual students themselves.
A good tutor can help overcome all of these problems by providing individual attention and guidance:
- By helping struggling students to learn in a way that is best suited to them, revealing their innate strengths and abilities, with corresponding gains in confidence and motivation.
- By helping talented and passionate students nurture their dreams and reach their full potential.
- By helping all students save time, effort, and energy, leaving them with more freedom to spend quality time with their families and enjoy life.
In particular, a math specialist is invaluable for being able to provide expert guidance across a range of topics, and being able to adapt the approach and the material to each individual student.
The value of education means it isn’t something to take for granted, but is worth investing in. If you’re not absolutely certain that your kids are getting the best possible value from their education, contact me to find out how I can help.