Maximizing your Tutoring Time

A tutor is a most valued merchant, one who trades in the intangibles: Knowledge. And, let’s be clear, the Calgary Tutoring Centre does a fantastic job of providing this service to students who really need the extra time to review and learn. However, as a tutor myself, I have run into some tariffs with students in the past; I wasn’t able to ply my trade to the best of my ability. While the time was never wasted, it could have been filled more efficiently, so it is with great optimism that I think, after reading this article, you, as either a parent or a student, will be able to maximize your time with the tutor the Calgary Tutoring Centre has arranged for you, whether you are meeting him/her for the first time or have had classes for some period of time. So read on to maximize the time you have with the professional at your disposal.

To the Parents:

Identify your Child’s Goals

This is important. Have a serious, sit-down discussion with your son or daughter to discuss their future, especially if they are in high school. You should already have an idea of your child’s interests. Build on their innate interests to identify career goals and, ultimately, the grades and classes they need to reach those goals. Your child may not even know a job or career exists yet, and perhaps there will be a new, exciting job that will only be created years down the road, so be sure to come with a heap of ideas for you to discuss with them. My parents actually sent my brother to a professional career counsellor (who is now, sadly, retired) that completed personality tests and had several one-on-one sessions to discuss my brother’s interests and the potential career paths he could take once he graduated high school. It was an integral moment in my brother’s life because he could see, for the first time, long-term goals that he could work towards. I suggest you do the same with your children.

Identify your Child’s Needs

After you have identified some long-term goals, it’s time to look at the here-and-now. Break out your cherub’s latest report card and see if he/she is on a path that would allow him/her to fulfil that long-term goal. If your little bambino is not doing so well in one of the prerequisite classes, guess what? It’s time for some extra help. Do not fear for your young one, for underachievement is perfectly normal—the ability to focus on long-term goals is not something children or teenagers are very good at managing by themselves, so don’t be too hard on them; they are doing their best. You just need to push them beyond what they can do by themselves, which is exactly where your tutor comes in. Tell your tutor exactly what the goals and objectives of your child are. Your tutor needs to know what those goals are so that they can plan the tutoring time accordingly and, if need be, request more study time to avoid speedbumps on the highway to your child’s future career. Basically, your tutor is there to help your son or daughter complete sort-term goals in order to fulfil a much bigger, more important long-term one.

To the Students:

Be Prepared

Your tutor should get in touch with you or your parents before your sessions begin to see where you are in your classes. Obviously, knowing this will help your tutor better prepare for the sessions you will have. If you can, provide your tutor with a syllabus. If your tutor knows what you have covered and what you will cover, there is a much better chance you and your tutor will maximize your time together. Also, in the case of English, you should provide writing samples so that your tutor can see how you write and organize your ideas. Let your tutor know what texts you are and will be using in class, especially novels. There is a massive reading list your English teacher could pull from and there is absolutely no way your tutor has read everything on it. No. Way. So give your tutor some time to read and investigate the literature you are covering in class. And one last thing: You should also email your tutor any assignments and/or study topics you need to review. Do this a couple days before your session. Trust me, your tutor will thank you. It’s nerve-wracking to walk into a session without any knowledge of what you will discuss. Tutors need time to prepare and review, just like anyone else.

Seize the Opportunity

Don’t see having a tutor as a negative thing. It is, without a doubt, one of the best things that can happen to you as a student. Spending one-on-one time with a professional is the best instruction you can get, so treat it appropriately. If you are all caught up in all your assignments and reading tasks and your grades are on-point, have a discussion with your tutor about an extracurricular activity you could work on. Or, review your last test to keep the information fresh in your mind. Many of your high school classes are cumulative, and so any review you do would only help you come the final exam. So take the time seriously, be prepared to work hard during those hours, and always, always focus on those long-term goals.

In review, there are several things that both parents and students can do to maximize precious tutoring time. Parents can help their children identify long-term goals and weed out weaknesses in order to maximize their potential. Students can prepare for classes appropriately by keeping in constant contact with their tutor by giving key information about classes so that they are fully prepared for the sessions. Students must also seize the opportunities that tutors give them. So, whether you are a parent or a student, take my advice and maximize your tutoring time.