Do you really need a tutor?


This might seem like an odd post for a tutor to write.  After all, I’m a tutor, I’m self employed and I rely on my work to keep my children in biscuits and me in books!  (As well as all the boring stuff like heat, light and a roof.)

But it’s a question that is worth asking.  After all, people have all sorts of reasons for deciding to find a tutor.  Here are a few of the reasons I’ve been presented with in the past, and my thoughts on them…

  • My mum wants me to get an A.
    • This might be a really good reason, or it might be a terrible one.  If your parents want you to get an A but you’re currently a D grade student, then it might be worth having a chat about expectations.  But if you’re getting Bs and you can’t figure out how to move up a few marks, and YOU also care and want to get an A, then that’s a different matter.  Ultimately though, your parents wanting you to get certain grades is only a good enough reason if you are on the same page as them.  If you don’t personally care, then no matter how good your tutor is, you won’t make the improvements you need.  You’ve got to be willing to put in the hard work yourself, and you’ve got to want it.
  • I’m bored in my English lessons at school.
    • Ask yourself why you’re bored.  Honestly.  Are you focusing as well as you need to do?  If you’re bored because you’re messing around then try getting on with your lessons and you might begin to find them more interesting!  But if you’re bored because you find the lessons either too easy or too difficult, then a tutor could be just what you need.
  • My dad thinks I don’t read enough.
    • See the first bullet point.  While I generally think that everyone could and should always read more than they are doing (though make sure you get some sleep and food too!), if you want to be inspired to read more and to get more out of what you read, it’s got to come mainly from you.  I am very happy to help but you’ll need to be positive and proactive about it too.
  • My older brother did really well at school and I’m doing badly compared to him.
    • First of all, you’re not your brother.  You don’t need to compare yourself to him, your parents, your school friends or anyone else.  Remember what I said about the desire to improve needing to come from within?  That’s called real motivation.  You need to be aiming to improve yourself, not to improve yourself compared to your mates.  We don’t publish grades in the corridors anymore – what you achieve is noone’s business but yours.
  • I’m getting Ds and I need a C to get into college.
    • Come and see me.  Bring all your files, a good attitude and a pen.
  • I failed my GCSE and need to retake it.
    • As above.  Let’s get going.
  • My parents think it’s a good idea.
    • Do you?  As a tutor my ideal client is someone who wants to learn, whose parents want him or her to learn, and who has a family and school atmosphere that is conducive to learning.  But if all we’ve got is that you want to learn, then that’s good enough for me.