Do you struggle to stay focused when you’re studying for an exam or working on an essay? Staying focused on demanding material can be a real challenge when you’re a student, especially if you were used to more structure and support during high school.Read More
Improving Academic Performance
This article, from one of our partners, explores the career path of a school counselor as compared to pursuit of a general career in business. It is intended to help individuals considering a career in education, and counseling specifically, generate a better understanding of the profession.Read More
Choosing a college isn't easy, especially if you don't want your college experience to lock you into one place. And, now we have the Coronavirus to consider. If you are already in a traditional on campus college, but aren't necessarily loving the experience, it could be the right time to consider studying online. If you are thinking about returning to school and were already pondering an online university as an option, the pandemic makes online college an even more appropriate choice.Read More
In a previous article, we scanned the distance learning landscape and explained how online tutoring can help parents and students navigate it.Read More
As a result of Covid-19, we're all living in a strange and unsettling new reality, and none of us knows exactly how long things are going to continue like this. While all of us are experiencing and dealing with the situation in our own ways, students across the country and around the globe have a particularly new set of circumstances with which to contend, and they, as well as schools, teachers, parents, administrators, tutors—every single one of us involved in education—need to learn ways to adapt.
The world today is not the same as the world we lived in two months or even two weeks ago. The global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (aka COVID-19) has completely disrupted all economic and social life, and its true effects are only just beginning to be felt. We are all entering a time of uncertainty such as none of us have faced before, as individuals or as a collective. As the virus infects more and more of the global population, greater numbers of people are going to be forced into isolation within their homes, having their work-lives transformed or completely shut down. What are we going to do? How should we be spending all the extra energy and time many of us will now have, but which none of us asked for?
We are a tutoring company, and as such parents and students tend to seek us out when they realize some extra 1-1 help is needed to perform well in an academic class or on a standardized test. However, using a private tutor is just one way to improve your academic performance. In this article, we’ll explore other, perhaps sometimes obvious yet too often ignored or neglected, strategies to try before investing in private tutoring.Read More
In this series of blog posts, we’ll explore how podcasts can help students improve their academic performance and prepare for successful careers. We all know effectively managing your time is a key component of performing well at work and in school, and podcasts are an excellent way to learn new things while you are exercising, walking to class, or on the bus. Podcasts obviously cover a wide range of topics. Apple’s “categories” of podcasts include: arts, business, comedy, education, games, government, health, kids and family, music, news and politics, religion, science and medicine, society and culture, sports, technology, and TV/film.Read More
Despite the sneers of those around you, you went to college to study film history. Or, maybe you got a degree in literature or Urdu. While it’s good that you followed your passion, after graduation, it might seem that your parents and friends had a point. You’re having a tough time getting a job (or perhaps you are still choosing a college major, and this is a fear you have). In fact, there is too much worry and generalizing when it comes to choosing a major. If you think strategically, you can follow your passions and launch a successful career.Read More
In our previous two articles, we discussed what to expect from a private tutor before and during tutoring sessions. We covered communication, logistics, planning, and specific tutoring strategies and techniques. In this article we’ll finish our series of 25 rules by covering rules 21-25 by exploring what to expect after a tutoring session.
After the Session
The tutoring experience doesn’t end when the clock turns off on the session itself. How you interact with the tutor after the session is important and can help make for a positive or negative experience.
- Immediately following the session, the tutor should summarize quickly the key learnings and takeaways from the session and how it fits into the broader “study plan” being followed. This helps reinforce the material in real-time and can take various forms. If the tutoring session was about preparing for the GMAT, as an example, and this was the first diagnostic session with the tutor, the student may not have decided whether or not to continue with the tutor. Still, the tutor should be able to offer some real-time thoughts on, if this relationship were to continue, and even if it doesn’t, what the student should be focused on. If the tutoring session was related to a specific subject, like geometry, then the tutor should have some thoughts about what topics are likely to be coming next, how what they discussed today relates to those topics, and how to prepare.
- An important best practice is for the tutor to send a written summary of the session to the student (and perhaps parent) summarizing what was covered and how it fits into the broader study plan. If this was the first tutoring session, then the written summary could and perhaps should be an actual written study plan documenting how the tutoring relationship will be approached. It is very important to document in written form the plan being followed so a student can reference it and orient themselves to where they are in the tutoring process. In some cases, the tutor may need to do a little research to find online tools or practice problems (i.e., reviewing certain elements of Kahn Academy) to help build a student’s skills in a given area.
- If appropriate, you might find a tutor spending some time to research online tools or practice problems to help a student build skills in weaker areas. This is sort of an “extra credit” best practice. If a student is really struggling with something, there are often web-site or additional materials that can help, and an expert tutor can help identify and direct a student towards those resources.
- The tutor should include in his or her summary email details on scheduling for the next month or so. Neither party should be surprised that someone’s schedule has changed or that someone is going on vacation. It is important to be highly structured around scheduling and logistics. At MyGuru, some of our best tutors were unfortunately not strong when it came to scheduling and organization more generally. We had students express that the tutoring sessions themselves were excellent, but getting confirmation of times and dates for future sessions was like pulling teeth. We’ve worked hard to address this.
- The tutor should be available to respond to simple, easy questions via text or email as part of an effective long-term tutoring relationship. Obviously, “off-line” interaction needs to be kept to a minimum and be within reason. The tutor isn’t being paid for this time, after all, so his or her time needs to be respected. That said, the tutoring relationship should not just exist within the confines of the 1-2 hour tutoring sessions. In some cases, more extensive off-line Q&A sessions via email or text can be a productive part of a tutoring relationship, and something for which we’ve charged students at discounted rates.
Working with a private tutor is a significant investment. And at the end of the day, it’s on the student and/or parent to “own” the process and put in the work to extract value out of the experience. At the same time, it is right to expect a lot from your tutor in terms of communication, planning, and, of course, instruction. Hopefully these 25 rules have you thinking about how to get the most out of a tutoring relationship.