This is a guest post by Adrian Beckett who runs a maths tutor service in London, UK
Tutoring isn’t always right for everyone.
School isn’t always right for everyone
Sometimes, tutoring can be more helpful than school
And occasionally, tuition is not helpful
Why then might you ask, am I a Maths tutor?
I’ll be exploring this in this blog post.
I’m a maths tutor and I have been happily so for three years. I’m no maverick, but I’m learning plenty and generally my students seem happy. It’s been quite a journey so far with over a 100 students, personalities, homes, dramas, laughs and angry dogs.
I’ll give you 4 reasons why you shouldn’t get a Maths tutor and then give you a bunch as to why you should:
1. You want to create miracles
You want your kid to ace some super difficult entrance exam. Here in the UK, we have grammar schools. These are government run schools that are highly academic and only accept the creme-de-la-creme of students. Boys and girls sit an exam called the 11+ when they are 10 or 11. I firmly believe that tuition for this exam is only right for the brightest of children. I’m a big believer that all children can do well in Maths but what I’m resistant to, is giving children tuition for an exam they are realistically not going to pass.
2. You won’t face facts
Children simply don’t want Maths tuition. I mean c’mon you know the feeling when you don’t want to do something you don’t like: tax returns, your weekly shopping…..It sucks, right. Why then would you force your child to do Maths tuition when they really, really don’t want to. Don’t get me wrong. If your child finds Maths difficult – that’s different. They might not want to learn because they feel they are no good at it. Let’s say, on the other hand, they are good at it, but would rather be playing outside, then maybe it’s better to respect their decision.
3. There are some pants Maths tutors out there
Some Maths tutors are rubbish. Some of my families complain about previous Maths tutors they’ve employed. Their child couldn’t ask questions, they arrived late, they….. the list goes on. Tutoring someone is a complicated business. It’s not simply a matter of I show you how, you practice and abracadabra your student can do it. Sure, they might be able to do it in today’s class but let’s see in one or two weeks. I honestly believe that this sort of approach can work with some children – very few in reality – and for the majority you need to, in fact you must, take into account the child. Yes – the bubbling mass of energy besides you. They’ve got likes, dislikes, jokes, stories to tell, insights you never would have thought of. It’s the magic that goes on between two people that can be so wonderful in tuition. Treat them like a dog and they are unlikely to fetch. Treat them as a person and they’ll probably play ball.
4. You’re skint
You can’t really, if you’re honest, afford a good tutor. I’m not saying all good tutors are expensive but if you think about it; to be a good tutor, you need to dedicate some time to planning, buy some good resources and pay for your transport around town. There are two ways you can do it. Do it in bulk and charge a low price. Or you can charge high and dedicate time to plan classes according to your student’s interests/likes, to reflect about your student and figure out why the class did or didn’t work.
So there’s a few reasons why not to get a tutor but hey, I’m a Maths tutor and I have my own website, where I help families find great Maths tutors, so of course, I sincerely believe that tutoring can have enormous benefits and here’s why:
Some children just need to hear you say “well done”
Some children want a little of an adult’s time
Some children want to be genuinely listened to
Some children want to feel good about Maths
Some parents are too busy to help with Maths
Some children have a special need and need a special tutor
Some children need to be stretched (not literally – that would feel weird)
Some children want to laugh
Some children want to play games
Some children don’t want you to put them through difficult exams, do something against their own will, have a creepy tutor or go without a day-out with their folks.
Adrian Beckett and his band of London Maths Tutors offer maths tuition for students and workshops for maths teachers. They also blog about maths learning, those all important maths exams and dyscalculia at www.adrianbeckett.co.uk/blog