• Monday, December 22, 2014

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Blame Game: The Tutor's Perspective

Arman R. Khan

As we grow, our expenses increase, and to meet those skyrocketing expenses, we can't always ask our parents. That's where the need of a job kicks in. But in an economy like ours, part-time job opportunities for students are very rare, with the exception of tutoring opportunities, which are indeed aplenty. Over the last decade, tutoring has emerged as a lucrative option for youngsters to earn the money that they will mostly spend in hangouts or dates.
Unfortunately, in our rush to earn the meagre amounts, we tend to forget one very important fact: tutoring is not an easy task. To the contrary, tutoring is difficult, and requires a great deal of concentration and focus on the tutor's part. Ask any professional teacher at school or university, and they will tell you the same. Even though being a private tutor requires much less time, the effort that needs to be put is immense. There is the added pressure of scrutiny by the student's parents on a tutor, since the latter is expected to explain individually to a student subjects that the latter had not understood in school.
Private tutors face pressure, with the constant fear of losing their jobs, which they had considered an easy option previously. A good student does not necessarily make a good tutor, and we, as well as the parents of prospective students, often turn a blind eye to that fact. While tutoring, the toughest but the most important part is the explanation. Not everyone is good at expressing themselves. We sometimes know a lot but face issues making others understand that, and that's what a tutor's worst nightmare is. No, scratch that; a tutor's worst nightmare is when they are confident of their student's progress, but the exam scripts indicate otherwise.
Who is to be blamed, then? Usually, the tutor is, although they may not always be at fault here. See, if we expect a student to excel, the tutor as well as the student have to be responsible; the tutor must be alert enough to understand whether or not the student is being able to capture the studies, and the student should concentrate and work hard. If a student is weak, or inattentive for that matter, the tutors have to push an extra mile to get the student to do well. And that's what is most challenging. A tutor must try different methods, techniques and teaching style to hold the attention of the student and explain things in the most efficient way.
In a society like ours, results are prioritised more than the knowledge. Therefore, even if a student has learned, but hasn't quite done well in exams, all the time and effort that the tutor puts behind the student are futile. When a student does badly in exams albeit an apparent good preparation, and when the blame game starts, it's very easy to see the shortcomings of the tutor as parents may sometimes fail to see the shortcomings of the students. And as the parents have to give away their hard-earned money to the tutors, they expect tuition to have the maximum impact on the students' results. However, it's always the school that must have the maximum impact. Parents should understand that tutors are there to aid their children with the school curriculum. Similarly, prospective tutors should keep in mind the challenging sides of tutoring, rather than taking it for granted as an easy option, for it comes with a lot of responsibility and requires a lot of effort.

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, March 27, 2014

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