Are you paying a lot of money on private tuition? Are you getting results out of the hours you put in for your tuition? If not, are you getting blamed for not progressing in your studies? Does your tutor like to guilt-trip you into believing it’s your fault and not his for not making much progress in your grades? Maybe, you have been trying very hard and feeling as helpless as your tutor at this point in time. Maybe, you like your tutor personally and do not wish to change to another tutor. You feel comfortable with your current tutor. Just that, your grades have not changed since hiring him! What should you do? Well, as a responsible student in charge of your own grades, you ought to pick yourself up on your feet and take charge of your tuition experience! Here are some ways.
Take Control of your Learning
Who is the one planning the learning? If your tutor has been planning what you learn every time he comes and it’s not working, you should start taking control of your learning schedule. Perhaps, your tutor has no specific plan at all. When he comes, he asks you questions on what happens in class and randomly teaches you some related theories that you can apply. They may or may not be tested for your exams. However, you must remember the very reason you hired a tutor. You didn’t hire a tutor to educate you. You hired a tutor to help you score well in your exams. Well, that’s probably the main reason why students in Singapore hire tutors! You definitely didn’t hire a tutor to chitchat with you and entertain you. So, if your tuition time has become too entertaining (like a commercial break for school), then both of you are wasting your time. Perhaps, your tutor has come away from a very uptight student with a high-strung parent, to you, a very relaxed student more than happy to take a 1-2 hours break for some good chitchat session. And he’s more than happy to entertain you too! But remember, this is not what you paid for.
Therefore, take charge of your learning now. Know what is being tested from your schoolteacher. Then, make sure you get your tutor to go through every section with you. After that, get some assessment books and have your tutor go through the difficult questions with you. Make sure he is doing his work. Do not fault him if he does not know the answer to your question. He is only human. Give him a chance to check for you and get back to you the next session.
Get Feedback from your Tutor
Not all tutors are trained to be observant. Some tutors are able to provide feedback on your weaknesses by observing you every session. That is if you are lucky. However, at times you will meet tutors who simply do not have the habit of giving feedback. If you have such a tutor, do not feel shy about asking for feedback. You can ask your tutor the following questions – “What do you think are my weaknesses?”, “What do you think I need to do more to improve a grade?, “Why am I still not progressing?”. If your tutor brushes you off with a very generic answer like “You just need to be patient with yourself and work harder”, you can dig further by asking “In what direction do you think I can work harder?” When you start asking your tutor for meaningful feedback, it is encouraging to him. This is because he knows that you are serious about improving and that he is not wasting time with you. Also, it forces your tutor to put in effort to observe you and figure out new ways to get new learning across to you.
Give Feedback to your Tutor
This is the most difficult part – giving feedback to your tutor. Students rather speak badly about their teachers behind them than to confront the teachers and provide meaningful feedback. Honest communication goes both ways. If you like to hear honest feedback from your tutor, your tutor should also be entitled to your honest feedback. However, this does not mean putting your tutor down in any way. Your feedback needs to thoughtfully put across such that it is useful to your tutor and beneficial to your tuition experience. When you give your tutor feedback, you are giving your tuition experience a chance for change. You are breathing fresh air into your tuition time. You don’t have to accept the routine of a meaningless tuition that doesn’t help you at all.
If you have done all of the above and still don’t get much out of your tuition experience, it’s time you consider changing your tutor. Maybe, your tutor’s teaching style simply does not suit your learning needs. Changing a tutor doesn’t mean burning the bridge with this tutor. You can still communicate with each other as friends (if the friendship goes both way).
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