Tutoring has to be one of the oldest and most esteemed professions in the world. You might think we're exaggerating, but private tutoring goes back to the time of Ancient Greece, where aristocrats sent their children to be educated by masters!
In many ways, tutoring has evolved from basic babysitting with the introduction of systemic, graded education.
For a long time, private tutoring was seen as a matter of prestige, especially when education was not a luxury afforded to everyone.
However, what used to be the domain of wealthy, privileged students has now become accessible to everyone thanks to many affordable tutoring programs and services.
Whether it's SAT or GRE prep or high school math and physics lessons, you can find private tutors for just about every subject and discipline.
But don't just look for "tutoring near me" on Google; you must address what exactly you're looking for before you seriously consider hiring a tutor.
Moreover, if you're contemplating taking tutoring jobs, make sure you go through a reliable and easy-to-use platform.
Let's delve further into the duties of a tutor:
What Makes A Good Tutor?
Going by the dictionary: a tutor is a person who provides some form of education to a student or a group of students. Now that is a pretty basic definition, which doesn't quite give the full picture.
In essence, the purpose of tutoring is to guide students and help them become independent learners.
A good tutor should help their students think for themselves instead of spoon-feeding them. The goal should be to acquire critical thinking skills and solve problems on their own.
For example, if a student is taking math tuitions, the teacher should not merely show them how to solve individual problems but teach them the concept and the workings behind the solution.
It's imperative that the tutor includes the student in every part of the learning process and discuss every step to ensure information retention.
Furthermore, a tutor should never have an ends-justify-the-means attitude, where they only focus on getting to the right answer.
Not paying heed to the process and workings will leave complicated topics unclear; therefore, a good tutor should employ unique methods to achieve their goal.
For example, some tutors like to take Socrates' approach to learn, eponymously known as the Socratic question, where they answer a student's question with a question, leading to a continuous process where the student discovers the solution to the problem on their own.
Socratic questioning encourages the tutor to function as a guide, helping them understand the process that leads to the answer.
A good tutor must always take a procedure-oriented approach to learning rather than an answer-oriented approach.
A committed tutor will know when to slow down or speed up the learning process in order to meet the student's pace.
Therefore, before starting with lessons, it's important to determine the level where students stand and where they seem to struggle.
One must approach problems from the student's level of understanding and work up from there, rather than bombarding them with formulas and jargon.
Many students struggle with their studies due to a weak understanding of tough concepts and a shaky foundation of basic topics. Until tutors get to the root of the problem, all their efforts would be in vain.
Unfulfilling lessons can even lead to friction with the students or their parents, who expect the tutor to provide value for their spending.
Before starting any tutoring jobs, tutors should make sure they're on the same page with the students and their parents.
Choosing The Right Tutor
With endless tutoring services and agencies available these days, it can be nerve-wracking to look for the right tutor.
Obviously, one must check for their qualifications and experience. Still, when we get down to the nitty-gritty, it's also important to assess their personality traits alongside their educational experience and background.
Everyone expects a tutor to be knowledgeable, which can be assessed by looking at their academic records and qualifications. But these qualities alone do not determine their teaching prowess.
Remember, no matter how qualified an individual may be in a subject, they won't be an effective tutor if they don't like interacting with students and cannot share their knowledge with others.
Tutoring requires teachers to have an open mind and accept and see things from their students' perspectives. They should match your child's learning curve and attune the learning process accordingly.
In short, they must be emphatic and sensitive to their student's needs.
When assessing any tutor, look for an even disposition. Make sure you get answers to some important questions:
- Are they gentle and willing to accommodate students?
- How patient are they with their students?
- Do they show a willingness to change their teaching methods according to their students, and how proactive are they in their tutoring?
These are some questions that can help you gauge how well they can cope with different students.
Lastly, the tutor must help their students gain a positive outlook towards the subject, their self-esteem, and their character development.
There are tons of tutorials, academic resources, and workbooks, which can help students learn, but it's hard to substitute the personalized education that a tutor can offer them.
A good tutor enjoys teaching because of the love of helping others, not because they're being paid.
Tutors Are Not Homework Machines
It's a common misunderstanding to assume that tutoring jobs entail helping students with homework, revision, and exam prep.
Some parents even confuse tutoring with babysitting jobs. While that's something you might find tutors doing, it's not in their job description and certainly not what you should expect of them.
As we mentioned earlier, a tutor's job is to encourage students to think for themselves and make them independent thinkers.
Parents enroll their children in tutoring classes to help them get by with homework and spend their time productively. In that case, they should be searching for "babysitters near me" rather than tutors because they're doing a huge disservice to their child by delegating homework duties to tutors.
All this does is make them dependent on their tutors, rendering them incapable of solving any learning problems or tasks independently. A tutor is not someone you delegate your practice questions to, and neither are they the ticket to good grades.
Think of a tutor as a swimming coach or a workout trainer. They can assist you with exercises, teach you the techniques, and even act as a crutch for you initially.
But ultimately, it's you that has to do the heavy lifting. Like no one else can swim for you, no one else can solve math or science problems for you.
A good tutor will never solve problems for the student but rather show them the steps. The student can solve problems by mimicking the techniques they learned from the tutor.
Tutoring lessons should be spent on reviewing concepts rather than completing homework or supervising revising students.
These are things the students can do on their own once they've got a steady understanding of the core topics at hand.
Rather, they should be encouraged to do their homework and practice questions on their own to develop independent thinking.
They can, however, go through the practice questions they attempted with their tutors to review where they're lacking.
Keep in mind that learning is not just cramming but a long process, which includes recall, comprehension, analysis, and evaluation.
A tutor's job doesn't end when their students arrive at the correct answer. Rather, they should ask them how they came to the conclusion and why?
Taking Up Tutoring As A Profession
These days, tutoring has become more of a fad, with students opting for private lessons because it's the cool thing to do.
Parents are happy because their child gets to spend a few hours every day doing something productive, and tutors get paid handsomely to supervise. But that's a great disservice to tutoring, which is much more than just glorified babysitting.
Tutoring should never be seen as training wheels for a student. Bad tutoring can stop students from thinking for themselves and potentially throw a spanner in their learning for life.
Tutors should know that when they're signing up for this profession, they're teaching a student how to learn, study, and think critically and analytically.
It's quite easy to think that just because you scored a high GPA and have been a gifted math student all your life, you can qualify as a math tutor. However, it is not that easy.
If you feel you have what it takes to become a tutor, have the expertise in the subject you wish to teach, and have a genuine love for teaching, why not consider taking this up as a profession? If not a full-time job, why not a part-time one?
Find Tutors Or Students To Teach From Superprof
Many tutors teach on the side as a personal hobby because they love interacting with young minds and passing on their knowledge.
There's nothing quite like tutoring another individual and watching them win laurels and excel at what you taught them.
So, if you're looking to take up tutoring, there's no need to scourge newspapers for "tutors near me" jobs anymore! Sign up with Superprof, make a profile, and connect with students near you right away!
And if you're on the other side of the exchange, looking for a qualified tutor for just about anything, visit Superprof and search away.