How Elementary And Middle School Students Are Getting Ahead (And Staying There)


When you look around today’s elementary or middle school classrooms, or glance through one of your child’s textbooks, it quickly becomes clear that students today are not only learning about core subjects in new ways, but that they are also learning about a broader spectrum of subjects than previous generations. In many ways, it’s an exciting time to be in the classroom!

However, as many parents and teachers can attest, there are also increased expectations placed on students to excel in all subjects—and to do so right from the start of their education. In this new scholastic landscape, parents are increasingly looking to private tutors as a way to help their children stay up to speed, learn effective study habits, and gain confidence. With Wyzant, they can find the ideal tutor for their child at an affordable price.

Is private tutoring something your child could benefit from? We break down what you should be on the lookout for to help you decide if private tutoring is something you should consider for the upcoming school year.


Lack of Confidence

It’s easy to forget how much pressure students put on themselves, let alone teachers or parents. Every child starts wanting to succeed, whether to make parents proud or get the positive feedback of teachers. Those forms of positive feedback are confidence boosters that create a cycle of positive, productive behavior.

But when the scales tip the other way, it can lead to subtle changes that snowball if uncaught. It’s not easy to notice the initial shift outside of the classroom, but before long frustrations are verbalized, often in children making hurtful remarks about their own intelligence.

Newfound Learning Issues

An increase in the diagnosis of learning differences has actually positively affected children being diagnosed—more cases means more resources to help parents and children. A wealth of information is now available on how to handle the challenges of everything from ADHD to dyscalculia.

Many parents also find it invaluable to have an experienced professional to shine the light of their experience onto their child’s new path. A private tutor is often that person, and can help you and your child self-advocate, as well as being the defacto expert on how your child learns best.

Decreases in Curiosity

A desire to ask questions is considered a predictor of long-term success. The curious mind is a healthy mind, and those who continually strive to learn, continually improve.

If your child has put a clamp to their questioning at home, it could be just as likely their inquiries have dried up in class as well. Many factors are in play, but the subtle differences usually spread over a longer period of time.

How does a tutor help with this? Working one-on-one offers students the chance to learn about topics they enjoy—encouraging them to ask questions while providing the skills to uncover knowledge themselves.


Below-level Assessments

Not all students are vocal about the difficulty they have keeping up in class, or fully grasping new concepts. Many times, they don’t fully understand the gap of what they’re expected to learn versus what they’re actually retaining, until that first round of test scores comes in lower than they (and you) expected.

If you (or your student) are unhappy with the early returns in a specific subject, there’s probably a concept or three where the dots aren’t yet connected. This is especially true for those already on the unsure footing of a new subject (eg Pre-algebra to Algebra 1).

Awkward Changes to Homework Routines

As a kid, you get used to doing homework, and do so as fast as possible to get to the things you enjoy. So when your student shies away from their work, or in some cases acts like it doesn’t exist, it should be a red flag.


Transition Grades

At several points in grade school, a critical shift comes around in the thinking required by school work. These grades are particularly troublesome, and include:

  • Third: A jump from whole number thinking to the concept of parts (fractions, decimals and percentages). Students are also exposed to long division.
  • Fourth: The transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” means science and social studies have more to read, and mathematics word problems require a new level of comprehension.
  • Sixth: Moving from the mathematical thinking of arithmetic to the “bigger-picture” of Algebra. Integers are introduced and students need to understand “less than nothing.” Meanwhile, essay writing becomes more complex as students are expected to show deeper thought processes.
  • Ninth: Besides the cultural transition to high school, classic novels are required reading on a regular basis, science labs start to get serious, and Algebra exposes teens to abstract, bigger-picture concepts.

Unfamiliar Testing Scenarios

It seems like every year is bringing something new in the land of testing. Whether it’s the switch to computers or recent shake-ups to test formats, it can be overwhelming for you as well as your student. And come test time, being overwhelmed is the last thing either of you need.

Why is a private tutor the best form of help?

Tutors get a first-hand look at how students, including the habits that enable—and disable—them. They do more than help write an essay or complete Algebra homework. They show students which habits inhibit their ability to learn, and guide them to more constructive ones.

When working one-on-one, students are motivated and engaged in learning. As they discuss problems and are given the freedom to think for themselves, they explore the intellectual independence that will make them successful in college and ultimately the workforce.

Tutoring offers the flexibility to focus on areas that need reinforcing – while breaking down problems into a series of steps, checking understanding and providing feedback as they go. They create a framework for effective learning.

For your audience of one.

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