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Balancing Sports and Academics

At Tutor Doctor, we love sports! School athletics are not only great for one’s health, but can also give students a serious advantage when applying for colleges. Being involved in student athletics looks great on any college application, and there are numerous scholarships available to students that participate in sports. However, sometimes balancing sports and academics can be difficult! If you are a student that finds it challenging to manage time, here are three simple tips to help stay on track!

  1. Make a schedule to stay organized.

Keeping a planner or agenda is a great way to manage your time. Teachers provide syllabuses at the beginning of the school year outlining important due dates and exams. In addition, sports practices and games are generally predetermined as well. We recommend comparing your schedules and making an agenda ahead of time in order to plan accordingly. For example, if you know you have basketball practice on Tuesday and Thursday and a biology test on Friday, plan to use Monday and Wednesday evenings to study!
 

  1. Remember that sports are meant to aid your academic success, not hinder it.

Believe it or not, school athletics are meant to help you excel! In fact, statistically speaking, students that participate in team sports are more likely to have higher grade point averages. In addition, students involved in sports have a more positive attitude towards school and are generally higher achievers. If you find school athletics are hurting your academic progress, it’s important to start planning more effectively. Sports are meant to help your education, not hinder it!
 

  1. Remind yourself of the importance of academics.

It is important to remind yourself that your education ultimately should come first. The true purpose of school sports is to help build valuable team-playing and time management skills that compliment your academic success (and your college applications)! Regardless of how skilled a student may be at a given sport, all schools have a minimum GPA requirement. Usually, a student is required to have a C average (minimum 2.0 GPA) to even be eligible for school athletics.

Although we’ve all heard the incredible stories about talented high school athletes being drafted into college or pro teams, the fact is this rarely happens. According to the NCAA, only 7% of students that play sports in high school will move on to NCAA athletics. Considering these competitive figures, a student that has succeeded in school sports in addition to having good grades will undoubtedly appear more impressive on any college application.


School athletics are a great way to build valuable time management and social skills that students can apply for the rest of their professional lives. However, it can be difficult to balance sports with academics. School spirit is a great thing, and we know how passionate many students are about sports! Just remember – sports are meant to be an addendum to your education, and academics should always take priority.

We are experts in executive functioning and time management skills. If you need help planning your schedule, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Should I Take the ACT or SAT?

At Tutor Doctor, we know choosing between the ACT and the SAT can be a difficult decision! When it comes down to it, students should take the test best suited to their needs. Here are three important questions that you may want to ask yourself before registering for one of these challenging exams!


1. What are my college choices?
In general, this is the biggest factor in deciding which test is right for you. Some schools are “test flexible,” meaning that the applicant can submit scores from just one test. Other schools may require specific tests for all applicants. The best thing to do is to check what test your college of choice requires!

2. What are my academic strengths?
Students that are strong in mathematics may find the ACT preferable. Although both exams test high level math concepts (like algebra), the ACT is known to have a wider array of questions and significantly more geometry and trigonometry problems. In addition, whereas the SAT provides mathematical formulas for test takers, the ACT does not (meaning you have to memorize them). The good news is that a calculator is allowed on the entire ACT math section. On the SAT, a portion of the math section is strictly “no calculator.”

Another important difference between these two tests is that the ACT has a science section, whereas the SAT does not. Despite the name, the ACT’s science section doesn’t necessarily test knowledge of scientific material, but rather critical thinking and a student’s ability to interpret data and graphs. Due to some of the scientific terminology used in this section (density, mass, solutions, solvents, etc.), students that excelled in science or biology classes may be more comfortable with this portion.

3. What is my test taking style?
The SAT and the ACT both cater to different test taking styles. If you are a student that has trouble managing time during tests, the SAT may be a better option for you. The SAT has significantly less questions (154 in 3 hours to be exact), which allows students to spend more time on each. The ACT, on the other hand, has 215 questions in 2 hours and 55 minutes, so the test is quite a bit more compressed. According to The College Board, the SAT averages to 1 minute, 10 seconds per question, whereas the ACT clocks in at 49 seconds per question. If you are good at time management, the ACT’s quicker and more dense format may be better for you.

Another important topic to mention is the optional essay section both tests offer. This is required by many colleges and universities, and both tests have different styles of essays. On the SAT, a student will be given a source text that they have to read, and is then asked to write an essay that tests their comprehension of the source material’s argument. On the ACT, the essay focuses more on critical evaluation of complex issues, and the student is required to form their own argument. Neither is necessarily easier – it all depends on what writing style you feel more comfortable with!

Can’t I just take both?
Absolutely! There is a misconception that some schools “weigh” one test more than the other. In reality, all U.S. colleges accept both tests. As mentioned before, some colleges may be “test flexible” and allow students to choose one over the other. Both tests cost roughly the same, and both focus on similar concepts.

Investigate what test your college of choice requires (if any), and take the test that is best suited to your academic strengths and test-taking style.

If you need help deciding which test is right for you, please contact us and one our Tutor Doctor education experts will be happy to assist!

The Importance of Family Time for Young People

An elementary school principal was recently asked why her school had not implemented the no-homework policy that had been announced at the beginning of the school year. She replied that she had received too much resistance from parents. “They see it as a kind of day care,” she said. “Their kids are bent over their books and don’t need looking after for part of the evening.”

In many ways this is understandable. To say that being a modern parent is exhausting is putting it mildly. Costs are high, salaries are low, and constant worries about bills, retirement, health care and more just make it difficult to create real quality time between parent and child. However, studies consistently show that benefits of “family time” are immense and far-reaching, especially for the child.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of parent-child quality time is improved self-esteem in the child. This helps create a young person who is happier, more relaxed, and better equipped to handle life’s hurdles. They also learn about relationships, which helps them navigate the often choppy waters of social life in school and beyond. Improved self-esteem can be a key path to better academic performance.

Building the bond between parent and child has other benefits too. A 2012 study found that kids who regularly eat meals with their parents got better grades. What’s more, young people who spend more time with their parents are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Best of all, simply sharing food can lead to happier, healthier family relationships. One mother tried baking cookies for her teenage daughter and her friends, and found that while, at first, the girls were only interested in the treats, over time they hung around and chatted casually.

Kids who spend more time with their parents also feel safer. It can be a rough old world, especially in this digital age. Being able to relax with parents can create a feeling of peace and protectiveness. This can also, perhaps, open lines of communication that might not otherwise exist, with the young person sharing details of their life and struggles that a parent would want to know about (and help with).

Students with exceptionalities such as ADHD, Dyslexia or Anxiety can also benefit hugely from extended family time. Society often imposes judgement and shame on young people with exceptionalities, especially if they struggle in school. Being able to be with their loving parents and just being human (as opposed to just a label) can have huge benefits for their mental and emotional health.

It’s true that setting aside time for casual, no-pressure family time can be extremely difficult these days. Facing that struggle is normal, human, and should not be judged. But if it is at all possible to expand on those family connections, the payoff is definitely worth it.

How To Stop Your Child From Hating School

It’s so common it’s become a cliché in television, books and movies: young people hating school (or maybe specific subjects). In fact it’s become so common that we’ve gotten used to it, to the point where we tell our kids to just suffer through it, get it over with, act like a kidney stone and just “pass it.” The truth is, though, your young person may have specific reasons for disliking school, or parts of it. The good news is, there may be solutions that can help students overcome that loathing and, believe it or not, find joy in learning. Let’s look at some of the biggest culprits:

School my not fit their learning style

The standard method for teaching young people -- teacher at the front of a classroom, writing on a blackboard and lecturing to students -- is pretty much universal, and practiced in every school. However, that teaching style does not match the ways in which young brains learn best. In fact up to 50 percent of all young people may be struggling with this one-size-fits-all approach. Research there are many different ways that our brains can best learn new information, and the standard model practiced in school is only a handful of them.

Do a bit of research online into learning styles. You will find a number of tests for your young person to take (take more than one), usually around 20 questions. Once you get answers, you can start working to structure school learning so that it matches your student’s learning style. For instance, musical learners will benefit from playing music while studying, kinesthetic learners should take breaks for exercise, visual learners should try employing graphs and images, and so on.

Chances are a gigantic light bulb will shine brightly above your young person’s head once they figure out their learning style. Many of their educational struggles might suddenly make sense.

Your student may have gaps in their learning

This is a very common problem. In essence, your young person may not have a strong enough foundation of knowledge to grasp what’s happening in the classroom. If you picture learning as a ladder, it’s important to grasp and ascend each rung, but you can’t make it to the top if there are gaps. A student who has missed earlier steps in their learning will quickly find themselves completely lost, and this can be extremely frustrating.

Working with your child’s teacher(s) can be a great help, as can conversations with your youngster. If they just don’t know what’s going on in class, they’ll quickly start to hate it. That can be remedied with backtracking with some extra work, or finding a tutor to help catch up.

Your student may have an undiagnosed learning exceptionality

There are many exceptionalities faced by modern educators, ranging from ADHD to dyslexia and even physical issues such as hearing or vision impairments. Having such a problem undiagnosed can be extremely frustrating for young people, leading not only to a hatred of school but also social alienation, depression or worse.

Working with the school -- including the school counselor, a social worker or a child psychologist -- may result in an assessment that can produce a diagnosis. Every parent dreads such a diagnosis, but the truth is that knowing is far better than not knowing. There are always ways to work with learning exceptionalities, with steps that involve work at home, at school and outside help such as therapists, tutors and more, but getting to the bottom of learning struggles can change a young person’s life.

Your young person may have social or psychological issues

Young people often lack the vocabulary to discuss their inner lives. Instead they are likely to act out any turmoil they harbor in their hearts. This can make it extremely difficult to understand what’s troubling them, especially when their behavior tends to push people away. In truth, however, it is worth the effort required to understand those inner lives.

Help may be required in the form of trained counselors and psychologists, but emphasize to the youngster that the goal is not to label or judge them but help them find happiness -- and that friends and family will love them no matter what.

The list of possible problems can be a long one, and may include depression, anxiety, bullying, harassment, substance abuse, even assault. It can be complicated by the fact that some problems may only be a symptom of something deeper. The only way to find out for sure is to “do the work,” as they say.

Regardless of what ails your student, approach them with love and empathy, not simply worry or high expectations. Remember that while the goal is to help them find excellence in school (and life), the point of all of it is for them to be happy -- and who better equipped to help them get there but a loving parent?

How to Nudge Your Child Towards a STEM Career

Educationally, a STEM path is highly desired by parents because, generally speaking, it offers good opportunities in future life. Students in STEM fields tend to have higher salaries and greater professional opportunities. STEM education also fosters analytical and problem-solving skills, and can play a huge role in breaking down barriers for women and minorities. And yet despite these benefits, schools struggle to guide young people toward STEM subjects, with only around 16% of American high schoolers interested in a STEM career and have strength in math. How can parents turn this around and get their kids interested in a STEM career? Let’s take a look.

STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The common perception of these subjects is that they’re difficult and, worse, extremely boring. These attitudes can be very difficult to overcome, so it’s where the biggest effort must be made at home.

Find the wonder in science in everyday life

Look around. There is science in almost everything. Let’s just take one simple example: cooking dinner. Think about the techniques (and hard work) that goes into growing and harvesting the fruit and vegetables. Think about the techniques involved in producing that food. And think about the science behind taste. Then there’s the effects on food of cooking. Beyond that one can discover so much about what happens inside our bodies when we eat, especially at the molecular level -- how food gets converted into glucose and how that glucose gets into cells, and how our bodies extract the vitamins and minerals (and what happens to them). And that’s just cooking dinner!

There are things surrounding us that are pretty amazing. Television, construction, cars, trees, pets, the weather -- the list is long. That sense of wonder is key to embracing STEM subjects, and it’s truly sad that it’s not elemental in the way they are taught. At any rate, a bit of excitement will go a long way to changing the way your young one thinks about science.

Embrace mathematics

There’s no getting around it: math is central to everything in the STEM universe. If STEM is a living organism, then math is its DNA. To have any hope at all of a STEM career, one has to be able to pass high-level math courses. The good news is, math needn’t be a terrifying death march through a dark valley of nightmares -- with the right approach, it can actually be fun. No, really! Part of the problem is the way math is taught in school -- it’s usually very dry, repetitive and with little or no connection with the real world.

A central technique in the effort to embrace math is to relate it to real-world examples that the student can relate to. This doesn’t just apply to basic arithmetic, but to advanced concepts too. Formulae on a blackboard come alive when they’re demonstrated using, say, orbital trajectories of spacecraft, or pressure differentials in automotive engines, or data mining techniques. Doing so can help break down psychological barriers and actually lead to excitement about math. Accomplishing it can be difficult, though, most likely requiring extra-curricular activities to supplement classroom learning. Games, books and videos can help, as can a skilled one-to-one tutor.

Spend time with real-world STEM professionals

Many, even most people employed in STEM fields take real pride in their work, and possess a deep excitement about the work they do. You’d be surprised by how many are eager to share their knowledge and experience with curious youngsters. Tours of science labs at local universities, work-shadowing at engineering firms, internships at high-tech startups; a few phone calls or emails may find a willing response.

Of course one must be sure to ensure the safety of one’s children, so do take the standard precautions (for instance going along on a tour). The potential benefits are enormous, because they could stir up a ton of excitement.

Declare war on anxiety

This will help not only the pursuit of a STEM career but the pursuit of a happy life. Young people can get terribly intimidated by science, math and technology courses, so it’s extremely important to tackle that anxiety. Sooth them through high-pressure studying and learning by understanding how stress works in general -- and how it manifests itself in your young person. Be aware of the warning signs and take steps to deal with it before things get ugly.

Most of all, help your student develop the tools to tackle their own anxiety. This will not only help them progress in their STEM efforts, but equip them to deal with many of life’s stumbles and struggles.

Don’t ever ignore anxiety or minimize it. Discuss it openly, and remember that it’s not a sign of weakness or failure. It’s just a normal, human part of being alive. While you’re at it, why not investigate the science of anxiety? You and your child might learn something new!

Career Paths in the Arts You May Not Have Thought Of

When young people think about careers in the arts, they tend to emphasize content creation: artists, actors, musicians, writers and so on. Creators are, of course, the backbone of the arts world, and of course without artists we wouldn’t have all the amazing content that brings so much joy to so many people. The truth is, however, any student choosing a career path in creative fields will face significant challenges. Once out of school, creative professionals will face a great deal of competition, as it can be so risky taking a chance on someone new.

The truth is, the image of the “starving artist” has a real grounding in truth. There is, however, good news: there are a great many arts-related careers that may not occur to creative youngsters yet which offer interesting career options. Here are some.

Teaching

Film school, arts school, design school, music school … there are a great many places for artists to learn their trade, with classes taught by trained professionals. Teaching can be a useful source of income for creatives, and chances are there’s at least one arts-related school in your community.

In addition, there are often teaching opportunities in public schools and colleges, though you will almost certainly need a strong portfolio of work to prove your skill level. Public schools will also probably require a teaching certificate. However, many artists simply put up posters in their neighborhood and charge by the hour.

Business management

Some artists act as if talking about the business side of the arts is somehow crass, but real professionals know that business is the backbone of creativity -- after all, you can’t say “arts business” without “business.” Amazingly, a great many artists not only treat business as completely separate from their creative efforts, but they often struggle to master its intricacies.

Successful musicians have managers, producers and record labels; actors and film directors work for production companies and studios; authors still rely on publishers. These are the people who actually carry out the producing and selling of creative works, who negotiate business deals,sign new artists and much more. Chances are, they also have careers that are more stable and predictable than those of the creators they manage.

An artist who has a strong understanding of business practices will definitely have more career opportunities.

Marketing

The arts business depends on marketing. If you imagine the massive budget of a Hollywood superhero movie, it’s standard practice to spend as much (or more) on marketing as it cost to make the movie itself. No creative endeavor is complete without a marketing strategy, and that’s where marketing professionals come in, getting the word out about the album, novel, movie (or whatever) created by their artists.

These days, a huge part of marketing is digital, employing search engines, email and other online technologies to reach potential audiences. Of particular importance is social media marketing -- using things like Facebook and Instagram to promote and connect. Lots of marketers come from arts backgrounds, but a solid background in digital technology will be a great help in advancing your career.

Talent management

Musicians have agents. So do writers, actors and more. An agent’s job is to find work for their clients and represent them in negotiations, taking a percentage of the artist’s earnings as a fee. Agents are go-getters; they’re constantly out there, advocating for their clients. After all, that’s how they earn their living. Agents are usually confident, strong and sociable. They get a fair amount of rejection, and often have to encourage their clients.

Being an agent can actually be a lot of fun. If you love the arts, you’ll find that few people are as deeply enmeshed in the arts world as agents -- they know everybody.

Behind the scenes

Most forms of art involve a group effort to some degree. Film and television sets are perhaps the most obvious example, with crew members handling lights, cameras, sets, props, sound and so on. If you think about it, though, you can probably imagine similar situations for many creative fields. Writing is a solo effort, but publishing requires editors, designers and printers, music requires studio technicians and concert crews, actors need makeup artists -- well, you get the idea.

Many of these “support” jobs are creative fields in their own right, and while they’re unlikely to gain the kind of fame we tend to associate with artistic success, they can still have solid, stable and rewarding careers.

Career Paths in the Arts You May Not Have Thought Of

When young people think about careers in the arts, they tend to emphasize content creation: artists, actors, musicians, writers and so on. Creators are, of course, the backbone of the arts world, and of course without artists we wouldn’t have all the amazing content that brings so much joy to so many people. The truth is, however, any student choosing a career path in creative fields will face significant challenges. Once out of school, creative professionals will face a great deal of competition, as it can be so risky taking a chance on someone new. The truth is, the image of the “starving artist” has a real grounding in truth. There is, however, good news: there are a great many arts-related careers that may not occur to creative youngsters yet which offer interesting career options. Here are some.

 

Teaching

Film school, arts school, design school, music school … there are a great many places for artists to learn their trade, with classes taught by trained professionals. Teaching can be a useful source of income for creatives, and chances are there’s at least one arts-related school in your community.

In addition, there are often teaching opportunities in public schools and colleges, though you will almost certainly need a strong portfolio of work to prove your skill level. Public schools will also probably require a teaching certificate. However, many artists simply put up posters in their neighborhood and charge by the hour.

 

Business management

Some artists act as if talking about the business side of the arts is somehow crass, but real professionals know that business is the backbone of creativity -- after all, you can’t say “arts business” without “business.” Amazingly, a great many artists not only treat business as completely separate from their creative efforts, but they often struggle to master its intricacies.

Successful musicians have managers, producers and record labels; actors and film directors work for production companies and studios; authors still rely on publishers. These are the people who actually carry out the producing and selling of creative works, who negotiate business deals,sign new artists and much more. Chances are, they also have careers that are more stable and predictable than those of the creators they manage.

An artist who has a strong understanding of business practices will definitely have more career opportunities.

 

Marketing

The arts business depends on marketing. If you imagine the massive budget of a Hollywood superhero movie, it’s standard practice to spend as much (or more) on marketing as it cost to make the movie itself. No creative endeavor is complete without a marketing strategy, and that’s where marketing professionals come in, getting the word out about the album, novel, movie (or whatever) created by their artists.

These days, a huge part of marketing is digital, employing search engines, email and other online technologies to reach potential audiences. Of particular importance is social media marketing -- using things like Facebook and Instagram to promote and connect. Lots of marketers come from arts backgrounds, but a solid background in digital technology will be a great help in advancing your career.

 

Talent management

Musicians have agents. So do writers, actors and more. An agent’s job is to find work for their clients and represent them in negotiations, taking a percentage of the artist’s earnings as a fee. Agents are go-getters; they’re constantly out there, advocating for their clients. After all, that’s how they earn their living. Agents are usually confident, strong and sociable. They get a fair amount of rejection, and often have to encourage their clients.

Being an agent can actually be a lot of fun. If you love the arts, you’ll find that few people are as deeply enmeshed in the arts world as agents -- they know everybody.

 

Behind the scenes

Most forms of art involve a group effort to some degree. Film and television sets are perhaps the most obvious example, with crew members handling lights, cameras, sets, props, sound and so on. If you think about it, though, you can probably imagine similar situations for many creative fields. Writing is a solo effort, but publishing requires editors, designers and printers, music requires studio technicians and concert crews, actors need makeup artists -- well, you get the idea.

Many of these “support” jobs are creative fields in their own right, and while they’re unlikely to gain the kind of fame we tend to associate with artistic success, they can still have solid, stable and rewarding careers.

Celebrating our incredible tutors for National Tutoring Week

At Tutor Doctor we’re committed to helping our students achieve their academic potential, whether that’s getting the grades needed to attend the college of their dreams or increasing their confidence in class. Simply put, making a difference is at the very heart of what we do.

This could not be achieved without our incredible tutors. Every day our tutors are making a profound difference in the lives of our families, in our communities and our organization, and we are extremely proud of the work they do!

This week is National Tutoring Week, so we wanted to share some incredible stories about how our tutors are making a difference across the globe.
 

 “When we first came on board we were very happy with our first tutor Ashley and were very disappointed that she found a new job that would not allow her to tutor anymore. Jenny enjoyed Ashley as she was young and the connection was wonderful. After speaking with the Tutor Doctor staff, they assured me that they would match Jenny with another great tutor. Enter Cami. She had an immediate love for my little girl. It was special from the beginning like a mother-daughter relationship. This means so much to me since Jenny lost her mother in June 2015. Cami will go by Starbucks before coming by every Thursday evening. They relax and talk for a bit before getting busy with homework. Cami took Jenny shopping on a Saturday for making the A/B honor roll. Not because she felt she had to but because she LOVED being with Jenny. Jenny has been on a very good trajectory on her grades which is now above a 3.0 (proud daddy)! I am very thankful for Tutor Doctor and especially proud to call Cami our friend. I give the highest marks to both Tutor Doctor and our Cami. She is much more than just a tutor.”

“Cath is incredible! Our daughter was nearly two years behind and lacked a huge amount of confidence. Cath has really understood our daughter and brought out her confidence and ability to perform in school. Before, our daughter would not have raised her hand, whereas now, she always tries her best as doesn't worry about getting things wrong. She even showed some of her class mates various games and helping them with their maths!! She recently got an award from the head mistress for her hard work at maths and I have never seen her so happy! We send the reports to school and the school and tutor work well together. We will be staying with our tutor until the end of secondary (if we can!) as they have such a fantastic bond. I always hear them chuckling and having fun. Our daughter absolutely loves maths now and wants to do more and more. Thank you Cath.”

“Stan has been my son's tutor for most of this school year and we feel so lucky to have him. He makes learning a fun and positive experience for Brody and always encourages and motivates him to do his best. Stan has made a great impact on Brody's academic success, by providing tools and strategies to help overcome his learning challenges. Thank you, Stan, for all you've done!”

“Within a short amount of time Marilyn has taken my son leaps and bounds. My son struggles with learning issues but Marilyn seems to connect with him using multiple strategies and activities. She keeps trying until she finds a meaningful way to help him to connect with the learning. He now looks forward to his tutoring sessions and has started to really see the pay offs in his classroom. Her former experience as a teacher and psychologist has made a world of difference as she understands my son from different perspectives and can anticipate where he may find challenges as a new learner. My son's teacher has also noticed these huge gains since he started with a tutor in January. Marilyn is also very flexible, being able to change her time and location to best suit our family needs. We could have never imagined that our son would have benefited so much from Marilyn's support and we hope that her dedication to her students can be recognized as she goes above and beyond every session to ensure our child and our family has success with whatever topic she is tackling with us.”

“We decided to get a tutor for our Year 2 daughter because she had lost her confidence at school. We aren't pushing parents and weren't looking for academic brilliance - we wanted our daughter to feel happy and enjoy learning, reading and writing. She was getting caught in a catch 22 of losing confidence, not trying, falling behind and losing more confidence. Soizic spends an hour with her after school on a Friday - and my daughter adores her. She loves the games they play, the books they read and the writing they do together. Soizic has given her the attention and encouragement my daughter needed. She's reading more fluently and enjoying books for her age group and new worlds opening up for her. Soizic arriving is always met with cheers from my daughter - she's kind, patient, encouraging and imaginative tutor - we really lucked out getting matched with her.”

5 Ways A Tutor Can Help Students With Exceptionalities

A skilled tutor can really make a difference in a young person’s life. Indeed that urge to help is the prime motivator in why most educators do what they do. There really is no feeling quite like watching a struggling student achieve a level of educational excellence they never knew possible.

In truth, however, there is far more to tutoring than helping people get higher grades. It’s about empowering people, especially young people, not only in terms of their studies but their lives. Students with exceptionalities such as ADHD, dyslexia, PTSD and so on can face particular challenges in achieving excellence. Here’s how a skilled and caring tutor can help:

1. A good tutor can provide a safe, no-pressure relationship

For young people with exceptionalities, school can be very difficult -- as can life itself. The pressure can be immense and hard to cope with, while parents can seem to be overwhelmed with their own concerns, especially the desperate hopes for a good life for their child. An experienced tutor, however, has seen it all before. He/she will know what life is like, and what challenges the young person faces; not just life at school but at home and in social circles too.

A tutor can be a safe sounding board, a comforting voice in a young person’s life. The tutor wants what’s best for each child they work with, but a professional approach will mean they can be a reliable presence. The mere existence of someone safe to talk to can bring tremendous comfort to young people just when they need it most.

2. The assistance of a tutor can boost a young person’s self-esteem

A skilled tutor understands that boosting achievement in school is about far more than studying and doing assignments. Organizational tools, X-Skills, and much more are all proven to play a key role in improving academic performance. Taken together, a tutor’s efforts can give a struggling young person a feeling of “I can do it!”

It’s all too common for students with exceptionalities to give up on themselves, to lower expectations for not only their schooling but their lives. In truth, students with exceptionalities can frequently achieve magnificent success in school, competing (or surpassing) students without exceptionalities. Once this knowledge settles into a young person’s heart, the transformation can be spectacular. The world comes alive with hopes and possibilities that once seemed impossible.

3. A tutor can boost a young person’s communication skills

Tutoring is quite different from standard classroom teaching. Whereas classrooms consist of many students competing for the attention of the teacher, tutoring is a one-to-one arrangement, where the tutor is completely devoted to a single student.

This learning structure requires a great deal of communication -- the student can’t hope to be overlooked. This, however, provides tremendous benefits for the student, because the tutor will, by necessity, draw out opinions, thoughts and feelings from the student. This is especially true when the student has exceptionalities. The tutor has to make sure their work is “sinking in” and achieving the hoped-for results, and this can only be seen through conversation.

By drawing out the student’s feelings and thoughts, a one-to-one tutor will help a young person learn to express themselves in a safe environment. This will empower them to express themselves at home, at school and in life.

4. Tutoring can help humanize young people with exceptionalities

For a young person, a diagnosis is a double-edged sword. The upside is that it finally puts into words what has often been a source of struggle for many years. It also allows the creation of a game plan moving forward, a way of helping them overcome their difficulties and focus on achievement. There are, however, downsides: perhaps the most obvious is the social stigma that is often associated with a diagnosis of an exceptionality. This can affect the young person’s self-esteem and expectations for their own success. A key to this process is the feeling that a student with an exceptionality is that exceptionality and nothing more. They feel like something less than a full person. It can be hugely damaging.

A skilled tutor, though, routinely deals with students with exceptionalities, and is simply incapable of seeing young people that way. Yes, an exceptionality can present unique challenges to a young person’s path to academic success, but people “in the know” understand that every exceptionality affects each person in a totally unique way, and they must be helped in ways that are particular to them.

In short, a devoted tutor will treat students with exceptionalities as human beings -- as so much more than a diagnosis. They will have tools ready for helping them overcome those exceptionalities, and provide a safe, non-judgemental space for learning. This process of humanization can be tremendously helpful in boosting self-esteem.

5. Tutors can educate beyond academic subjects

You might be surprised by the range of experiences and conditions an experienced tutor has seen. Whereas teachers in school can only guess at the home lives of their students, an in-home tutor sees it firsthand. Tutors really have seen it all -- not just the academic struggles faced by students in every part of the country, but their psychological struggles too.

Tutors can therefore be a helpful source of help with academic and study skills, but can offer a safe voice in the lives of young people -- a voice free of judgement and indifference. This can provide comfort and confidence and even, with full parental support, offer advice on finding help when needed.

Portrait Of an Extraordinary Student Artist

In many ways, Cliffanie Forrester is an ordinary teen. A native of New York, she was born just before the turn of the century. She has an active social life, posting images of herself and her friends on social media.

While still in her sophomore year of high school, she took a trip to Uganda, where she snapped a photo, with permission, of a little girl. Later, in her high school art class, her teacher suggested she turn the photo into a painting. Cliffanie had been sketching and drawing since kindergarten, and liked the idea. Eventually she entered the resulting work in the P.S. Art program run by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met). This is a program that showcases the best works of art created by students in the city’s public schools. The program routinely receives over 1,200 entries; a rigorous jury selection process means that less than ten percent of entries are accepted.

Cliffanie’s painting was one of the winners. Not only did she receive a $1,000 scholarship, but her painting was displayed at the Met. Her all-caps comments on social media made her feelings quite clear: “WHO JUST COMPLETED THEIR LIFE GOAL AT AGE 18? ME. MY PIECE IS IN THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.”

It should be noted that previously, Cliffanie had struggled in school, but that changed. Indeed her prospects seem bright. She’s now enrolled in community college, and has well over 15,000 followers on social media (a crucial ingredient in a modern arts career).

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