Try this at your next session with your tutor. Tell him or her, ' my number one priority today is to learn______. Second in importance is _____. Lastly, if there is time I'd like to go over ____." There is a reason your classes in school are anywhere from 45 minutes to 55 minutes long. There is a law of diminishing returns that essentially states that beyond a certain point each additional unit of time spent yields a smaller and smaller return on that time until eventually you are no longer reaping benefits at all. So, while you are alert and mentally rested at the beginning of a session, work on the topics that will help you the most followed by the ones of lesser importance. Keep in mind what you would like to get out of your tutoring sessions and let your tutor know too. In this way you can use your time and your tutoring to your best advantage.
Are you embarrassed that you have to be tutored? Or are you proud that you have a tutor? Or, are you somewhere in between? I tutor a range of students from those that have never been tutored before to students that are tutored in every subject. Some even have an organizational tutor to help them be, well...more organized. If you are one of those students that is embarrassed, I'm here to let you know that there is no need to be. When I was 16 and first learned to drive I had a manual transmission car. My dad couldn't teach me to drive that thing even as much as you can imagine I wanted to learn. Thankfully, my friend who was my next door neighbor was able to teach me in a matter of a few trips around the block. Why? There is just a different dynamic sometimes between parents and their children. A tutor is usually a non-family member that can give you that extra second of patience needed and a student is willing to give their tutor that extra second of attention needed to cross the hurdle from not understanding to understanding. In the end it doesn't matter how you learned something, or necessarily how long it took. Once you understand something that knowledge is yours forever. Furthermore, you don't need to tell people you are being tutored, that is completely up to you. Now if you are one of those that are proud, well then, pass my name along!
It depends. In some situations I like to provide students with some additional resources like a worksheet or two to give them a concentrated look at a topic that they may be struggling with. Students sometimes are a bit resistant to having homework on top of the assignments that they already have from their math class. I try to make it a small number of problems and they usually have a week to do them so it isn't too much and it really helps when they are behind and need to catch up.
A tutor, in my opinion, is someone that is there to encourage you and to help you to understand the concepts, how to approach problem solving, etc. A tutor is also someone that has at least a little bit more understanding of math than you do and can see how little or how far behind you may be. Now no one likes to be the bearer of bad news nor the receiver but if a student sees me because they really want to improve or pass a class I may tell them suggestions of what I would do if in their position. Some students take at least some of my suggestions and improve others do not but for tutoring to really work you want to meet your tutor halfway and make sure you are doing your part to be successful.
When am I available? Most of the middle school and high school students I see right after school until into the evening. The older students I will see as late as 10pm, occasionally later. I am also available on the weekend. On half days/exam days I am available too. For college students, whose schedules are a bit different, I am able to meet with them other times throughout the day. So, if you'd like to meet contact me and I can let you know what I have available. Most of the students I meet with have a weekly standing appointment with me that is reserved just for them. I also have some students that just contact me when they need help. If I have some notice we usually can find a day and time that will work.
In Japanese they have a word - "Kaizen" - meaning continuous improvement. In English we don't have a single word to describe this but we can certainly adopt the concept. When learning math don't be in the habit of comparing yourself to others. In college, some classes are graded on a curve, but this is misleading. If everyone does poorly, you can still pass with a decent grade but still not have a good understanding of the math you were studying. Focus on what you personally can do to achieve your own personal best and then work on improving from there and so on. Before you know it you will have more easily achieved a high score but without focusing on the least you could do to get that grade but rather on how you can overall improve your abilities. In middle school and in high school it may be difficult for students to change the paradigm of thinking that teachers are there to load them down with homework and that they somehow are like an "employee" working for the teacher. Change your perspective to seeing your teachers as mentors there to help you grow into your fullest potential. Also, take the attitude that you are there for yourself and that you want to get the most out of it.
To improve your math skills see if you can solve the same problem in different ways. See which ways are simpler and try and understand why. I help a number of students in preparing for the ACT and in a timed test scenario you obviously want to solve the problems in the fastest and most accurate way possible. I show students the long and short ways so they understand the problem but can get the answer in other ways if they get stumped. Remember, when solving any problem see if you can draw a diagram, write an equation, use estimation to verify your answer, look for hints/clues in the wording of a problem, etc. Try something...anything, then adjust your approach from there but get some momentum by attempting the problem then modifying your solving technique. Always look for simpler more direct ways to get to the solution.
Being organized allows you to be more efficient with your time and allows you to be more accurate as well. At the minimum you should have a binder or folder to put all of your work in for each class. You don't want to be putting all of your homework in your book as it is easily lost or destroyed. Also, you want to write NEATLY. I see so many errors that are made because students can't read their own writing. When you write clearly you think more clearly. Another suggestion is to keep a sheet for new formulas that you are learning. When you learn a new formula add it to the formula sheet and review it periodically to memorize them. Also, keep a sheet of questions. When you are at home doing homework or studying write down concepts that you don't understand on this sheet and the page number and problem # of homework you didn't understand. Then when you get these questions addressed cross them off the list. In this way you are getting prepared for your quizzes and tests on an ongoing basis. Look for other ways that you can be more organized. Some students I work with have a highlighting system. They highlight important formulas in one color, difficult concepts they want to review in another color, and so on. Being organized is a habit that you can develop. Once you get in the habit, you will implement these strategies without even thinking much about them and they will begin to make you into a higher achieving st
I am often asked by parents what results they can expect from the math tutoring I provide. As you can imagine, the results I experience with students varies widely. I have seen students go from failing grades to respectable B's. I have seen many students go from B's to A's and many others go from C's to B+ or higher. What makes the difference are the following:
1. How receptive the student is to being tutored.
2. The desire of the student to achieve higher.
3. How regularly the student is tutored.(most students I see once a week, a few I see twice a week.)
4. The willingness of the student to use the tutoring as something additional to their class and not as a replacement for their class.
5. A little extra time spent on their own doing homework and practice problems.
Everyone I have ever worked with has always showed some level of improvement(that is as long as #4 is implemented). The exact grade earned is the outcome of many factors but having the individualized attention that a tutor provides often makes achieving a higher grade much more attainable and I have become accustomed to regularly seeing impressive results.
It may be seem counterintuitive but if you can relax more you are able to learn more easily and more quickly. Some of the best teachers use humor in their teaching and even though it seems a little silly(i.e. Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7, 8, 9) they are getting students into that more relaxed mental state. This is also why tutoring is so effective. A tutor is not testing you nor is a tutor asking you questions in front of a classroom full of your friends and peers. A tutor is also not a parent with whom students are sometimes resistant to learning. A tutor can create an easy going, positive, encouraging atmosphere that students sometimes need when learning difficult concepts. So, consider ways you too can relax yourself(but not be too relaxed) to enhance your learning. Maybe chuckle to yourself when you make a mistake instead of berating yourself. Perhaps do some exercise prior to your study periods. Or, make yourself a cup of tea put on your comfortable clothes and find a quiet comfortable spot to get into the study zone.
Helping students succeed in math for over 15 years. Individualized attention makes the difference!