As an elementary student, I excelled in my studies. I was in the gifted program and earned straight A’s, but I always had to work hard at math. When I entered grade 9 math class; suddenly, nothing made sense. The teacher’s teaching style and my learning style didn’t align and my requests for the teacher’s help were met with the response of, “I don’t know why you don’t understand this.” I was quickly falling behind. 8 weeks into the semester I was failing the course with 37%. I had never been in the position of potentially failing a course before and I felt like a failure.
My confidence was at an all time low. My parents recognized how much I was struggling and arranged for a tutor. Mr. Powell was a retired math teacher and we met every Tuesday and Thursday after school for the rest of the semester. He helped me find the root of my math learning struggles, helped build my skills, and with that, build my confidence. I ended the course with 63%. While that wasn’t the success I was used to, I had still succeeded which meant everything to me. The following year we worked together again and with Mr. Powell’s support I completed grade 10 math with 74%. In grade 11, I felt that I had rebuilt my educational building blocks enough that I was prepared to learn independently, and I was able to maintain my 74% on my own. It wasn’t my usual straight A’s, but I was OK with that. I worked hard for my math grades and truly earned them. I was, and still am, proud of my achievement.
I always wanted to be a teacher and in University I started privately tutoring as the first step in my future career as an educator. I remembered what it was like to be a struggling learner and how it felt to be at risk of failing with no confidence in my academic ability. I drew on my learning experience and my experience with Mr. Powell’s tutoring style to form the basis of my own tutoring style. I find tutoring so rewarding that I tutored independently for 12 years.
In April 2017, I joined Tutor Doctor Simcoe County as a tutor and worked with 8 students over 11 months. In March 2018, I had the opportunity to turn my love of tutoring into a career and became the Tutor Experience Coordinator at Tutor Doctor Home Office. In this role I get to help over 17,000 tutors change the trajectory of a student’s life. That is more students than I could ever reach on my own! I can make a difference on a global scale. I help create high quality tutors and mentors by creating tutor resources, being a support for our huge network of tutors, and by acting as the tutor’s voice within Home Office.
I didn’t quit tutoring completely though! Tutoring is so important to me that I still work with my very first Tutor Doctor student for 2 hours every week.
Written by Becky Ward, Tutor Experience Coordinator