How do you know when it is time to call on the services of a tutor to help your student in school? If you or your student are experiencing some of the following, it might be time to seriously think about a tutor for your student.
• Failing grades. This is a given, but parents tend to watch grades fall far too long before calling a tutor or meeting with the student’s teacher. If there is a drastic decrease in the semester, a call or visit to the teacher should be immediate. Do not wait.
• Excuses for homework/ability. If a student is always making excuses why he/she cannot do their homework, it could be because they have no idea what they are doing and have fallen behind. They can also make excuses on why they are not performing up to their ability.
• Excuses due to teacher. Sometimes students will blame their poor performance on their teacher and their teaching style. The student just may need some extra help with concepts that they are not getting in class.
• Notes from teacher. If you are receiving notes from their teacher about behavior, that is a sign that there is a lack of concentration and/or frustration for the student.
• Develops low self esteem. When a student cannot grasp concepts and grades fall, the result can be lowered self esteem and confidence. Students want to succeed and when that bad report card is finally seen by the student their confidence can be affected. Parents can try to lend a hand, but the decreased confidence can result in frustrating evenings that end up in arguments and unfinished homework.
A tutor can be effective in all of these situations because of what they are not. They are not their teacher, and they are not their parent. Usually someone who is neither of these can relate more with the student and come in with a clean slate and find the underlying problem and take care of it.
Tutors can do what teachers usually cannot do (due to time constraints), which is focus on the individual student for an extended period of time. A tutor can also help with fundamental concepts that may be slightly confusing to the student. Concepts build on one another (especially in math at all levels), so having a review of these concepts can never hurt (especially after a long summer break). These concepts will come up again on standardized tests such as the PSAT, SAT and ACT later in high school.
A few months of tutoring could not only keep your child from declining low self-esteem and confidence, but it could also save them from repeating a class or even an entire year. It never hurts to bring up the subject of a tutor to their teacher and to get their advice.
Take action as soon as you see one of the above signs of decreased grades or confidence in school. Do not wait until it is too late, and never leave the decision of tutoring up to the student. A few months of tutoring can be one of the best investments you can make in your student’s academic future.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michael Bond is the owner of Ahwatukee-based 1st Place Tutoring. His company assists students in grades K-12 with math, reading and science, and has SAT/ACT test preparation classes for high school students. Reach him at (602) 751-3594, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.1stplacetutoringaz.com.