What is a Tutor and What Does a Tutor Do?

Are you unsure about what is a tutor and how tutoring can help you or your child?  Don’t worry, you aren’t alone!  We get asked that question a LOT!

What is a Tutor?

Happy Student with a Book

When it comes to achieving academic success you often hear the phrase ‘get a tutor’. This is all well and good, but it is probably useful to know what is a tutor and how tutoring can help before you hire one. The most common, and obvious, reason that parents enlist the support of a tutor is to help their child. It doesn’t matter whether the child is struggling or needs a boost to excel further, the one-on-one personalized sessions are invaluable. Keep reading to find out just how valuable this can be for students and parents alike.

Teacher or Tutor?

The terms teacher and tutor are often thrown around interchangeably, but ‘teacher’ isn’t just a tutor synonym. There are a few key differences when it comes to what they actually do. Both have a student’s best interests at heart and work incredibly hard to help each student reach their individual academic potential. However, due to the nature of their work, strategies and outcomes will often vary. First, let’s look at the role and responsibility of teachers;

  • Teachers must follow a set curriculum and provide learning opportunities to many children at a time.
  • Teachers need to develop a ‘best-fit’ teaching strategy. This means that their lessons aim to try and cater for a variety of needs and abilities. Whilst every care is taken to ensure this is done, it is inevitable that some students won’t receive the exact information they need.
  • Teachers will guide students to reach particular targets. These should be achieved within a certain time frame, but it is hard to monitor and record.

On the other hand,

What Does a Tutor Do?

  • They work with small groups or, most commonly, with individuals. This allows for the lesson to cater exactly for the student’s needs.
  • It can also be adapted as the lessons progress depending on the understanding of the students.
  • Tutors follow the lead of their students. Lessons are designed around what the student needs to work on or what they what to achieve.
  • They often reinforce what has been taught in the classroom, allowing for content to really be absorbed by the student.

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Role of a Tutor

Tutor teaching

There really aren’t too many down sides to tutoring or having the help of someone. It is equally beneficial for struggling students right through to high achievers. Here are some of the top reasons why tutoring is helpful and what role a tutor can play:

  • Improves academic performance – this one is obvious, but it is important to remember that these improvements may bring a student up from the bottom of the class, or push a middle student to the top.
  • Boosts self-esteem – when a student learns and understands the content being taught to them they gain confidence. This confidence is valuable not just in the classroom and around test time, but will also filter into other aspects of their lives.
  • Caters for individual needs – the one-on-one sessions are designed to meet the specific needs for that individual student. Unlike a classroom scenario, a tutor can continue to work with the student until they fully understand the content.
  • Offers a different perspective – in subjects such as math, there are often various ways to reach the same answer. A teacher doesn’t always have the time to explain concepts differently to each student therefore many children miss out. A tutor has the time to explain and re-explain a question and technique until it makes sense to the student.
  • Encourages communication – when working with a tutor, students must learn to communicate their needs and ask questions. This helps them build a different type of relationship than those with their parents, friends, and teachers.
  • Teaches problem-solving skills – when students are guided they can learn to think for themselves in a way that provides them with skills they will use later in life.
  • Helps understand standardized tests – even the smartest students can struggle with these unique tests. A tutor can provide clarity on the format of standardized tests and the type of questions asked, as well as providing feedback on practice questions.
  • Detailed and specific feedback – due to the one-on-one nature of tutoring sessions, students will receive feedback that is specific to them and their goals. Quite often this feedback is immediate, helping students to continue to improve at a faster rate than they would in the classroom.
  • Consolidates learning – if a tutoring session complements what is taught in the classroom, students will be able to store the information for longer and will have a greater chance of regurgitating the information when it is needed, such as during a test.
  • A tutor is neither a teacher or a parent-children will respond differently when working with a tutor. Teachers are highly qualified but are catering to the needs of the group. Parents, while having a child’s best interests at heart, do not have the training to teach the content effectively. Children can also be stubborn creatures and enlisting the help of mom or dad is often not the done thing. A tutor sits somewhere in the middle of teacher and parent and will provide surprisingly positive results.
  • Less embarrassment – quite often students are hesitant to ask questions in class out of fear of sounding stupid. This severely hinders their learning as they may never fully understand the content and concepts being taught. Working alone with a tutor eliminates this fear and students can ask any type of question at any point during the session.
  • It can take place in a different learning environment – you can find a tutor online to cater to your needs and the sessions can also take place online. Learning from the comfort of home can often support students as it is an environment they are familiar with. Using screens and technology often engages younger learners more than traditional teaching methods.
  • Eliminates learning loss over holiday periods – by continually using a tutor throughout the year, you eliminate any ‘periods of no learning’. Students can continue to learn, or use the time to consolidate learning of practice test-style questions.

Now that you know what is a tutor and what does a tutor do, you can decide what you or your child needs to excel this year! Finding the right help to get the results that you want is critical to your success.  Good luck and please let us know how we can help.

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