Tutor Doctor Success Story: Improvising Improvement

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“Witnessing my student’s growth during the past year has been such a rewarding experience. She is not afraid to take chances when it comes to academics, and now she is taking chances socially and in her personal choices. I have thoroughly enjoyed helping to facilitate her growing independence.” – Gwen Cassady, Tutor, USA

One of my favorite students continually struggled to learn basic math facts. Although her skill level was that of students three to four grades below her, she was dedicated to working hard to improve. Last year she had such a difficult time that her parents were afraid she would not pass math and have to repeat the class. However, the student saw this challenge as a learning opportunity.

With help from her teacher, who provided me with additional resources to utilize during the tutoringsessions, I devised a new strategy for preparing the student to pass math. This involved having her create her own set of math facts flashcards, a process that often helps to facilitate memorization.

I encouraged the student’s parents to drill her nightly and to hold aside the facts that she struggled with so she and I could work on them together. In less than three tutoring sessions, the student had memorized all of the facts and was able to provide answers without any hesitation. The experience taught her a great deal about learning math and we both learned a valuable lesson: When something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try a different course of action.

Her success underscored the importance of adapting my tutoring approach to the challenges of each individual student. Not only did I come up with a new study plan but I also altered my tutoring style, becoming firmer and focusing on time management. The student noticed a difference, and although she commented to her mother that I was stricter during our sessions, she also felt she was learning more effectively.

All of our students change and develop as we work with them. I believe our primary job as tutors is to recognize this and find ways to meet each student’s evolving needs. Our secondary responsibility is to help them learn new material, and our tertiary duty is to give them the necessary tools to train themselves.

While I am no longer working with this student due to changing needs, I have treasured watching her mature and come into her own as a person. Of all my students, she has grown the most academically and socially. Knowing that I have been able to support both her educational and personal development gives me great joy.

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