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Archive for April 3, 2013

Difficulties Facing Parents When Deciding To Hire A Private Tutor

Hire A Private Tutor

Different parents decide to hire a private tutor for different reasons. Some parents hire a tutor when their child is already performing well at school, and just want to do even better. Many parents however hire a tutor because their child is struggling in one or more areas, and often has been for some time.

No matter how long your child has been struggling at school, one thing has become very clear. The longer the child is left to struggle without the right support, the greater the problem becomes, and the more difficult it becomes to intervene. This is for two reasons, both of which I feel that all parents should be aware of.

The first is because of the cracks in their skills foundation. If your child has been lagging behind for many years, then trying to catch up quickly can be like trying to build a new house on a poor foundation; the new additions are not supported properly and crumble too easily under the slightest pressure. This is why any good tutor should aim to identify where those foundational weaknesses are precisely, and work on strengthening them as a priority above all else.

The second and most common reason is because of the foundational beliefs that a child develops about their own abilities. No matter what we as adults verbally explain to our children, they tend to take things very personally. When they see that their peers around them seem to be able to get it whilst they dont, it often leaves them with the feeling that Im dumb or Im just not good enough at this and I cant do it. These experiences can cause humiliation, shame and a huge gap in their confidence.

As kids get older, the last thing they want is for their parents (or anyone else for that matter) to be focusing on their weak spots. You may notice that when you try to speak to your child about their struggles, they may become shy, irritable, frustrated or even angry and do everything they can to avoid mum or dad focusing on it. This often causes mums and dads a lot of frustration as well, which only further serves to make the situation worse. In fact, in many instances, mum or dad is knowledgeable enough to be able to help their son or daughter with their schoolwork, but the irritability and frustration factor pose the biggest hurdle, and can often lead to a feeling of helplessness.

If this situation is one that you can associate with, the first thing you need to be aware of is that you are not alone. This is very common. The frustration you may experience is normal. The helplessness however is unnecessary, as now you can rest assure that youve found the right help.

You know that your son or daughter does have their particular strengths, is very capable in some areas, and is certainly not dumb. You want them to be able to see how capable they really are but you dont know how to show it to them because the reality is that their experiences at school are not painting the picture you wished they could see. You want the best for them but your attempts to help them either dont help as much as you wished they could, or, in some circumstances, may just add fuel to an already out of control fire.

A lot of parents however feel a bit reluctant to express just how much of a worry this whole situation is to them out of fear of not being understood. I cant guarantee miracles, but if you talk to me about it openly, one thing I can guarantee is that I will understand. I am an experiences school teacher with four university degrees and own a tutoring company where I train other tutors how to be the best tutors for goodness sakes, and yet I still choose independent tutors for my own son for these very reasons. When you want the best for your child, you cant always be objective and rational. Thats an unfortunate side effect of being a caring parent. It doesnt mean that youve failed to support them properly it means that youve succeeded in caring enough to want to make a positive difference. By looking for the right tutor, youve also succeeded in knowing what it will take to get that difference happening.

THE BIGGEST HURDLES WHEN STARTING TUITION

Heres the problem we face. By the time many parents decide to hire a tutor, there is a chance that their child is already well aware that they are struggling, and probably not feeling too good about that. For that reason, there is a chance they may see that getting a tutor is a representation of their failure. Theyre hearing your voice of logic and reason explaining that everything will be okay, but meanwhile their inner voice is saying youre such a disappointment now that you need a tutor. For some students, having their first session with a private tutor is almost like having to see a medical specialist for a really humiliating disease. It can be embarrassing and very disempowering for a vulnerable young mind that is at a stage in their life where the way their self-esteem develops will affect them for years to come.

For that reason, the way that your son or daughter views the idea of getting a tutor is crucially important. As Im sure youve already figured out, its important that they dont perceive the process as a punishment or an indication of inadequacy. Whilst I cant tell you a perfect formula for how to approach this, what I can tell you is based on the experiences weve had feedback from with hundreds of parents, all in very similar situations to you.

WHAT NOT TO DO

When many parents reach the point where they finally decide that getting a tutor is the right way to go, they actually take the worst possible option available to them. In fact, many of the clients who come to us do so to repair the damage that has already been done by taking this option; they took their child to a class based tutoring center.

Tutoring centers (or coaching colleges as they are often called) are typically populated by students that come from cultural backgrounds where obtaining the best possible mark is a mandatory requirement. They often come from families with unreasonably high expectations, where nothing is ever good enough. Either that, or they are gifted students themselves with very high intellectual capacities who attend coaching colleges because they need extra stimuli as they are not being challenged enough at school.

If your child is already outstandingly competent and performs better in a competitive environment, then by all means consider a tutoring center. Where the student is struggling however and may feel insecure about their weaknesses being on display to those around them; imagine the irreparable damage it has on their self esteem when they are placed in an environment where the kids around them are even more high achievers than at school, so comparatively, they feel even dumber. That is the unfortunate reality of placing a struggling child in among students who are competitive performers and high achievers. It typically does more harm than good.

The reason it is appealing to some parents however is that because of the class approach, tutoring centers can be a cheaper option. By the time that the parents come to us however, the first part of the process is to try to undo the negative view that their child has developed about tutoring thanks to the self-esteem deteriorating effect of the more competitive environment.

The other mistake that parents often make is the value they place on solving the problem. The situation described above is often obvious to many parents who realize that one-on-one in a familiar setting such as the home is the most effective option. Many well-meaning mums and dads that are struggling to keep up with the cost of living, decide to opt for someone cheap and end up with someone who simply doesnt know what theyre doing.

If the tutor has the wrong approach, the wrong personality match or does not understand the way in which your child learns best, it is also likely to have disastrous consequences. Just when the student gets their hopes up that maybe, finally, someone will be able to come along that can help them overcome their hurdles, if they end up with the wrong tutor, the only message they get is that there really is no hope for them after all.

You and I can see the more rational picture of course, which is that there is always the option to get another tutor. For a young vulnerable mind however facing a very delicate situation they take very personally, their early experiences with a private tutor can either bring them out of their shell if you get the right tutor, or bury them in it even deeper if you get the wrong one.