With increasing class sizes and renewed demands on teachers to provide a standardized approach to all pupils in their classrooms, those teachers who wish to work with students in a different way feel stifled and frustrated.
Working with students using methods that don’t find a place so strongly in the curriculum and general syllabus can offer teachers a way to explore their creativity and find ways to stimulate their students learning that are tailored to individual preferences.
Benefits for tutors
When subject experts decide to take on the role of imparting their knowledge to others, teaching is the natural step from learning to sharing what has been learned.
By training as a teacher, there is an expectation that it will be all Dead Poets Society and students will be encouraged and inspired.
The reality of teaching is quite different to the expectation of many people when they embark on their careers. The requirement for paperwork, adherence to strict syllabus guidelines and the demands to produce results irrespective of the experience of pupils run counter to what most teachers what to achieve in their work.
Taking a step out of the classroom and into a more individualized setting can help reclaim some of that lost enthusiasm and deliver what those who wish to teach wanted all along to foster the gaining of knowledge in others.
Sara Walters is a teacher who made the move into tuition two years ago and found the difference in the experience for her was marked. From large classes to one-on-one support, she discovered that tuition gave her what she’d been seeking from teaching since she started in the profession around five years earlier.
I get to know each of my students individually, Walters says. This helps me understand how to motivate each student and play to their strengths. It makes for a far more rewarding experience for me as a teacher. The look on a tutee’s face when they really get something they thought was beyond their grasp is worth a thousand hours of lesson planning and departmental meetings!
It’s little wonder that some children struggle in a classroom-based learning environment. Teachers have to try to pitch the lesson at a level everyone has a chance of grasping. This not only leaves some of those who struggle with the material at a loss, it also frustrates those in the class who are more able by not stretching them effectively.
One-to-one tuition allows children to learn at a pace that’s best for them. If they find one subject hard and another easy, a tutor can guide them through in such a way as to build on the successes in one subject to give them the confidence to tackle the other. It also allows time to be spent working through areas that the child finds hard in a variety of different ways until hitting upon an approach that works. Once that’s been found, this can be developed as they move on to tackle new subjects.
Individual achievement and recognition of this progress is a huge motivator for children as they learn. While classroom teaching is an inevitable part of children’s education its not always the most conducive to giving them positive reinforcement of their successes and rewards for progress.
An individualized approach to learning provides that important validation of their learning and development, which builds confidence to take on things they would have previously thought too difficult.
Both teachers and tutees get a huge amount from a one-to-one approach to learning and the achievements and their celebration pay dividends in enabling children to develop to their full potential.