On the surface, there are many reasons why students and parents consider private tutoring, but in essence they boil down to three fundamental reasons. The general reasons for hiring a private tutor are listed here in order of reactiveness to proactiveness.
1. When There’s A Problem
The majority of people looking for a tutor are hoping to solve a problem. These are parents seeking out tutors because their kids’ report cards are unsatisfactory, or college students looking for help after they bomb the midterm. The motivation for these sorts of people is primarily damage control, and once the problem is solved they intend to go back to business as usual. They see private tutoring as a last resort tactic, sort of like stopping at a gas station and asking for directions.
2. When You Want To Avoid Having A Problem
Parents and students who fall into this category are often concerned with maintaining a high standard, perhaps with specific educational or career goals in mind. These are parents who want to ensure that their kids maintain a 4.0 GPA, or college students who want to be sure they get into a specific graduate program. People in this category often have a fixed plan for themselves or their kids and want to keep things within parameters. They are likely to seek private tutoring as a form of good grade insurance, largely for the peace of mind.
3. When You Want To Ensure Excellence And Build A Foundation For Long Term Learning
This is the smallest category, consisting of students who want to take advantage of every opportunity to develop themselves and parents who want to maximize the value of their children’s education. The motivation here is not image or performance, but the joy of fulfilling one’s potential. They don’t even think in terms of problems, they take it for granted that they or their kids will do their best no matter what and seek only opportunities for growth.
Realistically, which category do you fit into? Ideally, which one would you like to place yourself in?
As a private tutor myself, I know how easy it can be to merely focus on solving and avoiding problems. I also know how much more fulfilling and empowering it is to focus on growth and opportunity, and I know which types of clients I prefer to work with. While it can be tempting to lament the state of public education, I choose instead to be grateful for the opportunity to further my own educational journey through the mentorship of eager and inquiring minds.