A Tutor is a Solid Academic Investment
A recent news headline read as such: “The New High School Diploma is the College Degree”. Yes, competition in today’s job market makes it more challenging to be accepted to a university of one’s choice as well as secure future satisfactory employment with sufficient opportunities to pursue a fulfilling career in any part of the globe. Preparation for a career today demands careful planning, and part of that planning might involve contracting a professional tutor to ensure academic success leading to that optimum career choice. Investing now is the right time so that later, one can reap all the benefits of a satisfying career. There are several key reasons why a tutor is a solid investment.
Hartzog states that research overwhelmingly proves that private tutoring helps students improve grades, study skills, and confidence (as cited in Bloom, 1984; Slavin et al., 1991; Slavin, Karweit, & Madden, 1989; Wasik & Slavin, 1990; McArthur, Stasz, & Zmuidzinas, 1990; Hock, Schumaker, & Deshler, 1995; Lepper et al., 1997; Merrill et al., 1995; Simmons, Fuchs, Fuchs, Mathes & Hodge,1995; Vadasy, Jenkins, Antil, Wayne, & O’Connor, 1997). A parent often will hire a tutor when his/her child’s grades decline. One important aspect of academics that students sometimes need to focus on more is developing study skills to become more competent students. Tutors can provide specific strategies to help students study effectively. Learning proper study habits would seem to naturally contribute to improved scores. In addition, many students need the guidance of a tutor to encourage and instill added confidence in that student’s abilities. At times, a student is highly competent in core subject areas but just requires structured interaction with a tutor who can reinforce skills and elicit critical thinking in students. How does a tutor consider a student who is not challenged enough for one reason or another?
Private tutoring can assist a student with remaining challenged at school because it offers an individualized education plan which caters to the abilities and specific needs of an individual student. Because it is customized, one-to-one instruction, private tutoring can go at the accelerated pace necessary for such students (as reported by Dr. Charlton in “The Story of My Life” in Charlton, Marolf, & Stanley, 2002). Opportunities such as finishing secondary school early, taking extra courses at school, and improving writing skills necessary for future academic study are readily available with the use of a private tutor. Accelerated students can benefit just as much as a student who may struggle in school.
Hartzog says that private tutors are almost a necessity for students who may show learning differences, and these students will need additional time outside school to master core subjects and improve study skills (as cited by Vadasy, Jenkins, & Pool, 2000). Tutors employ specific strategies to make sure students with education plans make progress according to schedule and follow guidelines prescribed by their respective schools. As well, building confidence in special needs students is an important concern. My experience as an educator has shown me that motivating students along with proper instruction can improve performance significantly. These students, as well as all other students can be prepared for taking and passing standardized assessments which will help them further educational goals.
Finally, Hartzog points out that investing in a private tutor is a solid decision because tutors can facilitate effective study for assessments such as SAT, ACT, GED, and TOEFL whereby students can maximize scores (as cited by Matson 2003). It is tempting to sign up to take these types of tests without doing prior preparation; However, as a professional educator, I would not suggest this method to a student. These tests require not only basic subject knowledge but also the mastery of specific test and study strategies as well as extensive study of vocabulary and writing strategies. A tutor who has coached students for tests is an excellent resource and can point students to other techniques which can aid them in improving scores dramatically.
These are valid reasons why tutors are a great investment for students. Please note that in most cases, a student must make consistent and committed effort with a tutor to show improvements, to increase a test score, or to become more confident about his/her study skills. Tutoring takes time and should not be approached as a “band aid” to a student’s challenge. Tutors need time to assess an individual student’s needs, to employ strategies, and then to test them to ensure they are working. Consider what struggles your child may have, what type of instruction will engage him/her most, and in what amount of time that student may have to improve. Then, choose a well qualified tutor who fits necessary criteria for your child and begin study. The right tutor can make all the difference in your student’s performance.
Hartzog, Sally Gail. “What You Should Know—and Questions You Should Ask—Before You Hire a Tutor or Tutoring Company“, retrieved from http://www.honorrolltutoring.com (n.d.)