Are there two kinds of math students?
I once heard the following remark from an acquaintance: “There are two kinds of math students: those who get it the first time, and those who never do.”
I will never forget how this comment silenced us, a small group of friends who were all hanging out and discussing what careers we wanted to pursue. What silenced us was not just the cruelty of the remark, but that the speaker was an aspiring math teacher who was working as a tutor while completing his undergraduate math degree. I had just asked him what it was like to tutor math. Apparently, his answer constituted his entire teaching philosophy.
What I have observed throughout my experience as a tutor is the complete opposite of his claim. Every mind is different and requires a different key to unlocking understanding. It is a matter of the student putting in the time, trying different approaches to problems, and finding what way his/her own mind learns. If the student makes unsatisfactory progress with a certain tutor, then the tutor may not be a good match for the student, but it doesn’t mean that the student is incapable of learning the material! Every student deserves a tutor who believes in the student's ability to learn.
To me, if there are two kinds of math students, then they would be those who want to learn math, and those who don’t. To the former, I will do all I can to help you along your journey. To the latter, I will do all I can to inspire you to take the first step.