Summer Tutoring – What Can You Expect?
A Note from the Teacher – By Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed –
The expectations of many schools have become more and more demanding, even from the youngest grade levels.
Because of this emphasis on achievement, many parents have enlisted the help of summertime tutors to keep their children engaged in learning, even during the summer months. Some families choose to use commercial tutoring centers, while other choose to employ a teacher or other qualified individual independently. But what should you realistically hope to accomplish with your child’s summer teacher? Having realistic expectations will keep the relationship between your family and the tutor happy and helpful through the summer season.
Choosing a tutor who fits with your child’s needs is the first step to a great relationship. Just as all doctors don’t specialize in the same kind of medicine, teachers don’t all specialize in all subjects. Younger children often need basic help, but require people who are specially trained to work with the developmental level of elementary-aged students. Older students may need help in more advanced coursework, such as chemistry or calculus, requiring the help of a teacher who is well versed in that particular topic. If you are considering hiring a tutor, you can contact your child’s school for recommendations. Then be sure to talk with the tutor ahead of time to lay out goals for the work to come and make sure you are comfortable working with this person. Discuss schedules and pay rates before agreeing to the arrangement so there are no surprises.
If not employed at a tutoring company, a tutor may work at a public location, such as a library or community center, or they may choose to come to your home. Regardless of where the meetings take place, it’s important that your child knows they are there to learn. Too often students come to sessions unprepared, late, or involved in outside conversations with friends; these all take away from the learning time. Before each session , make sure the location is quiet, your child has the materials they need, and that cell phones and computers are turned off for the entire session. This will help you to get the full value of the time you are paying the tutor for.
Even if the tutor is a great teacher, and the location is perfect for learning, it is important to maintain realistic expectations of what your child will achieve over the summer. If your child needs to maintain what they have learned, explain your goals to the tutor so they can plan lessons for that expectation. However, if your child has fallen behind in their academic studies and your goal is to help them make progress, let the tutor know what your child’s struggles have been so they can address those in a specific manner. Don’t expect one summer of tutoring to make your child advance far beyond their classmates; putting unrealistic expectations on the results of tutoring will frustrate your child and impact the relationship they build with the tutor.
Did you find a great tutor and think that they can continue to help your child throughout the year? It’s always a great feeling when your child connects with a special adult and makes progress in their personal learning. If you are interested in continuing the relationship with your tutor over the school year, discuss the possibility with the tutor before the end of the summer. While some tutors have the flexibility to continue working in the school year, other tutors can only work independently in the summer.
Remember, despite having your child’s best interests t heart, it’s easy to overload students during the summer. By finding the right tutor for your family and setting realistic goals, you will be well on your way to helping your child make progress toward the next school year.
"I believe that families' involvement in their child's education is one of the key ingredients to creating a successful school experience for children. Keeping parents informed about school-related issues helps parents and teachers work together for the best possible outcomes for their children. Learning together makes learning fun - for everyone!" - Jennifer Cummings.
Her publications: Tips from the Teacher provides useful hints and "tricks of the trade" that you can use at home to boost your child's academic progress year after year. And Homelinks Teacher Tools for Communicating with Parents New Skills Strategies, Newsletters and Home Communication Tools for Teachers(grades 2-8)
More Child Education Resources:
US Dept. of Education
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