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The Benefits of Tutoring and 5 Questions to Help You Decide if It's Right for You

benefits of tutoring

Tutoring for a living is often seen as a way station between completing your teaching degree and waiting for your first full-time teaching job. But have you ever considered the benefits of tutoring alongside your full-time position? Certainly, the extra income is always a help, but beyond that, it gives educators an opportunity to adapt their teaching skills to an entirely different setting and reap the rewards of having been an intimate part of a child's success.

A Professional Boost

Being able to add tutoring to your resume is a big plus, says Victoria Evans, an academic intervention services reading teacher at Northern Parkway Elementary School in Uniondale, New York. "This helps show that you can teach and interact with large groups, small groups, and individuals," she says. Evans, who began tutoring grammar school students in reading comprehension 10 years ago, believes having this experience makes you a stronger teacher overall.

One of her colleagues, resource room teacher Mary Ann Shapiro, privately tutors elementary school students in reading comprehension, writing, and math, and believes tutoring is critical to improving her teaching craft. "Professionally, I get to further use the knowledge and skills that I have learned," she says. Because tutoring requires educators to go beyond simple textbook learning, this additional teaching time helps support and understand different learning styles. "When applicable, I will use materials in the classroom that I have used during my tutoring sessions. This gives me an opportunity to perfect the lesson. One on one, you see the strengths and the pitfalls of a particular lesson," says Shapiro.

Both Evans and Shapiro say that the personal benefits of tutoring are substantial as well. With more intense help, students who have been falling through the cracks make gains, Evans says, and she wants to be a part of helping them grow academically, socially, and emotionally. Shapiro agrees that there is great satisfaction in knowing that you've been a part of helping a child improve not only their grades and confidence but also their social and emotional well-being.

Is Tutoring Right for You? 5 Questions to Consider

There are some questions you may want to ask yourself before you consider taking on tutoring in addition to your full-time teaching assignment.

 

 

Are you prepared to invest the time in individualizing students' work?

According to Shapiro, tutoring requires a commitment to gaining a deeper understanding of a child's strengths, weaknesses, and academic likes and dislikes so you can customize sessions. "You have to get to know the child's passions and interests so that you can bring high-interest materials to your tutoring sessions," she says. Evans agrees—you have to prepare much more for a tutoring session due to the intensity it requires.

Are you up for the challenge of winning over a resistant child?

After a long day or week at school, even a student who isn't experiencing a learning challenge probably doesn't want to spend more time with another teacher, Shapiro points out. That feeling is likely more than mutual for students who have been having some school difficulties. "It takes time, patience, understanding, flexibility, and being very prepared to win them over!" she says.

Evans advises that you have an outlet for channeling any frustrations you may feel as a result of dealing with students who may not initially be receptive to having such close interactions with an educator. Getting a resistant child to engage requires you to be patient and keep the situation in perspective, she says.

Will you be comfortable working in a different environment?

Teaching a whole classroom of kids with different personalities has its challenges but also its advantages. For instance, you can pair up less social students with more confident kids to help build team-leading and interaction skills, Evans says. That support system for building a child's social or self-confidence skills won't be there in a one-to-one setting. When working in an isolated setting, Evan suggests staying focused on the scope and sequence of knowledge and tools the child needs to succeed in their studies. As they make academic gains, it will ideally impact their social and self-confidence skills.

Are you prepared to have a close relationship with the child's parents?

Parents are looking to you to help their child achieve their full potential or get back on track, and they'll probably expect to be very involved in the process. Shapiro says you should be prepared to have an ongoing dialogue with them about their concerns and expectations. It's important to keep them updated about progress, what you're working on, and how they can help continue their child's success. "Know that this job to the student and parents is a serious commitment," she says.

Do you have enough teaching experience under your belt?

Evans thinks it's wise to complete a few years of classroom teaching before considering tutoring because it gives you experience interacting with all different types of students. You'll be able to draw on strategies you've used successfully in the classroom with different personalities to help inform your approach to clients. Shapiro agrees, noting that this time also gives new teachers a chance to build a greater depth of expertise in their subject matter, which is crucial to success.

Ultimately, teachers who add tutoring to their workload must be prepared to dedicate themselves to this job as much as they do to their full-time classroom career. In exchange, you'll get to enjoy what Evans describes as one of the best parts of tutoring: "It keeps us younger and always on our toes!"

   
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