We all have one: that one subject that our brains just refuse to understand, and no matter how much we study or how hard we work, we never feel like we really truly GET what is going on.
For me, that subject was always Physics. No junior high or high school teacher could ever answer the unending string of "...but WHY?" questions that I needed answered before I could understand even the most basic concepts of our Introductory course. It wasn't that I couldn't understand, but rather that I wasn't being taught these ideas in a way that made sense to me.
As an adult, Physics is now actually one of my favorite subjects to read about because I have found some books written for people just like me, people who need explanations fulls of examples and explanations and lots of pictures! I may never discover black holes or split an atom, but I now know enough that I can understand the people who do those things. :-)
So, what does this have to do with tutoring?
Well, my biggest piece of advice for finding the best tutor for you is this: Choose a tutor that celebrates how YOUR brain learns and thinks, and whose lessons leave you EXCITED to face your most difficult subjects!
There are many, MANY reasons why a student might be having trouble with a subject - and not one of them is because you are "stupid" or "bad at this." When you find your "soul mate" tutor, she or he will be able to help you figure out exactly what is blocking your amazing brain from being at a genius at this subject.
Here are 5 Thing That Might Be Keeping You From Being A Genius In Every Subject:
5.) Boring class, boring teacher, boring materials! Our brains like to be engaged and active, and a lame class or teacher often puts our brains to sleep. We have to learn how to make boring things more interesting (not everything in life will be exciting!), but some classes need a little more help than we can give ourselves. A good tutor usually has a few fun activities up her/his sleeve to make sure that your brain is having enough fun to learn.
4.) "Why are we even learning this?" and "When will I ever need to know this?" We've ALL asked these questions. Yes, even me. As annoying as they are for teachers, these questions are actually very important and the students who ask them are very intelligent for asking them. Our brains learn best when they know WHERE to put the information and HOW to connect it with everything else it has learned and is learning and will learn. As children and teenagers, it's often difficult to imagine what you will need to know in the future or how it will help you, but a really awesome tutor will be able to help you find your own reasons for learning the material.
3.) Learning styles! My faaaaaaaaaavorite (that's a LOT of "a"s, right?) thing about being a teacher and tutor is finding out how a student learns. It's like a puzzle or a riddle -- does the student need to see pictures and graphs? maybe make lists and charts? or maybe use their hands to create and do? Our brains are all so different because they grew up in different families and cultures and ways of thinking and seeing the world...and THAT'S AWESOME! The only problem is that sometimes a school teacher can't always teach using all of the learning styles all of the time. A really amazing tutor, however, will be able to find and teach to your learning styles, while helping you to learn with ALL of them!
2.) No context. "Context" is a word that means all the stuff around something that help you to understand it better. For example, if I say the word "cool," you don't know if I mean a cold temperature or something that is trendy and popular. But if I put the word in context in a sentence, you can use all the words around it to understand what I mean: "We need some cool air in this hot, stuffy room!" Now you know I mean "cold temperature." If I use a different context, the way you understand the word might change: "He always wears sunglasses because he thinks they make him look cool." Different meaning, right? In the same way that it's hard for you to understand the word "cool" by itself, it can also be hard to learn lessons or subjects when they are not connected to anything else. Your favorite tutor will give your subject and information context so that your brain can see the big picture!
1.) I got 99 problems...but my brain ain't one! When we have problems in our lives--with friends, at home, on sports teams or in clubs--our brains and hearts become focused on what it sees as the biggest problems. That means that school and learning new things get pushed aside while you worry about the fight your best friends are having or whether you boyfriend is going to move to another state or the stress of family issues. The tutor of your dreams will help you to create a learning environment where you can forget these problems for a little while -- or maybe even use the subject you're studying to work through the problem and your feelings. A good tutor is two parts teacher, one part psychologist, and one part magician... ;-)
Whatever your troubles or obstacles with learning might be, just remember that somewhere out there is a tutor who knows exactly what to do for you. He or she will turn your obstacles into a fun obstacle course and you'll be parkouring your way to an A in no time!