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JOHN B.'s Resources


That Sinking Feeling - "Top Performance"

A wise man once told me: "You can continue to beat your head against that rock, but you will not chip the rock, your head (on the other hand) will be deformed." I guess I should have seen it coming, my being summarily fired from a tutoring job - The parent (in this case the mother) demanding extra "busy-work" for her son between sessions, the lack of discipline, on the student's... read more


You Can Be Replaced By An Egg Timer

Yesterday at the doughnut shop, I met my good friend, Aristotle (Tut) Jones. As usual, Tut was complaining about his latest tutoring session. It seems he was spending most of the hour doing “timed SAT practice tests” with his student and the student was showing no progress in getting the right answers. According to Tut, the student was beginning to get more and more anxious with each “failed... read more


Talking Points

One of my esteemed colleagues was bloviating how she, “Never talks during tutoring and lets the student do all the talking…” My question to her was, really? In all my dozens of years of dealing with adolescents, I have known many to be – silent. (Especially when it comes time to participate in schoolwork.) Silence is often a sign of shyness, embarrassment, anger, or anxiety. It usually occurs... read more


Starting the school year

My top three tips for starting the school year are guaranteed to work for students of ALL ages: Number 3: Take care of your mind and body! This means eating right, getting enough sleep, outdoor exercising and "quiet time" reading. Reduce the TV/Video/Music time to a bare minimum. If you MUST watch TV, watch the news everyday to keep yourself informed. (Even grade schoolers should... read more


Got any Worksheets?

Occasionally, parents demand “worksheets”. I have a tepid reaction to that request. First, I personally believe that a tutor is not meant to be a “worksheet provider”. Sometimes parents want their child to be “drilled” into learning. Those parents may feel that the only way to acquire skills and/or knowledge is to force it into their child’s psyche by repetitious action – worksheets. Most parents... read more


Learning the Computer

There is still a segment of the population that has difficulty with computers or “How to Use”: a software program, the computer as a tool, or taming the beast they see on their desk at work. The first thing I say to comfort my students is that they are not going to break their computer by doing something “silly”. They may get a garbage (or unexpected) response from the program, but that is... read more


The 100 Percent Totally CORRECT ANSWER

At some time or other, all tutors find themselves faced with difficult situations in a tutoring session. There are no magic answers and no "one technique fits all" strategies. As a tutor I am often asked “...Do you swear to give me the correct answer, the whole answer, and nothing but the answer, so help you God?"… Well, not exactly, I will not swear to that. I am a firm believer... read more


The First Meeting

Good tutors asks questions as well as answers questions. Every student is different and every student faces unique learning challenges. That means that students require me to approach their learning in ways that best suit their needs. I must adapt my lessons and study materials to meet their requirements. The first time I meet a student I want to spend some of the time getting to know the circumstances... read more


The art of test-taking

Students give many excuses for failing tests. Most excuses however, involve the generic, "I don't test well." This is not a specific enough reason, and is usually impossible to “fix”. (This is a case of asking a tutor for help and you have no idea of what type of help you need.) Most of the time students blame the test, or the practice tests they were given, were not given, or did... read more


Learning to Forget

Just today, I happened to be reviewing an old textbook for a course I took in college about learning styles. (Yes, tutors DO read). One chapter of the book intrigued me more than usual, it concerned the: Four Major Theories on Forgetting. Retrieval. According to the Retrieval Theory, a forgotten fact has not faded; it has been misplaced in the "file cabinets" of our mind. Whether... read more


what is the value of the other 2anglesif a trapezoid has 2 right angles? (answer)

A trapezoid is a quadrilateral. All quadrilaterals have four angles whose sum is 360 degrees. If two of the angles are right angles, that accounts for 180 degrees of the total. Therefore, the other two angles must total 180 degrees as well. Any combination of angles/degrees that equals 180 would...


Quick! The test is this Saturday!

Sometimes, I answer a request for tutoring and I arrive at the student's home with the best intentions when I am greeted with: "Are we glad to see you, the SAT is Saturday and our child needs to know everything about SAT Math!" (Actually you could substitute ACT Math, or reading, or Science, get the picture). I realize then I am about to fall into the "One Star"... read more