- Alvin Au
"Reflection is mother of wisdom." ~ Wise person
After a long day of tutoring, I have decided to spend some quiet time reflecting about how to become a better tutor to help my students. Below are some nuggets of wisdom that were developed during the last few hours:
1) Students learn a lot more when they choose to learn it than when they are forced to learn it. Instead of planning out for each student what to learn in class and forcing them to learn it, it is more effective to communicate with each student before class regarding their current progress in school and enquire about the math topics that they would like a boost/helping hand in. When the students get a say in what they choose to work on, they would naturally put more effort and energy into it.
2) Love your students and always believe in them. A good tutor cares about each and every single student that he/she teaches. It is because I care about my students that I am willing to put in the extra effort and go the extra mile to help them. Be it answering their questions in the middle of the night, squeezing in extra classes to clarify their doubts, offering them a hot tea when they need one or thinking about them in the middle of the night and texting them a motivational message the next morning to tell them that I believe in them. Naturally, when a student knows that someone cares about them and believes in them, they would put in extra effort to build their own paths to success.
3) Tutoring is more than just teaching. It is also about listening, observing, empathizing and motivating. Instead of forcing a student to listen to me and imposing our views on him/her, it is often more effective to listen to their struggles/problem and direct some attention to untangle their clutters. Other than math problems, teenagers also have their own set of life problems: insecurities, peer pressure, constant pressure from parents/teachers, game addictions, relationship issues, family problems etc. They too need a listening ear and for people to empathise with them. Often, simply listening and empathizing with them would help to de-clutter the issue that is holding up their attention and allow them to continue on their work more effectively.
4) Some students need to do the same worksheet twice. As I have a huge armory of math questions and worksheets in my exam bank, I always chose to furnish students with new worksheets every class. However, there is a group of student that are able to pick up a concepts well during one class and have the knowledge completely wiped out from their memory on the following week. If you are a tutor/teacher, you would understand what I mean. I was vexed by these occurrences for a long time and decided to experiment by having students re-do the same worksheet twice. I found that when students re-do the same worksheet twice, they are able to recall the knowledge much quickly and reinforce the mathematical concepts deeply.