What happens when your child is battling with Maths or Afrikaans at school and comes home with an unsatisfactory mark after exams? The school suggests attending the extra lessons hosted in the afternoons, there seems to be some hope for improvement on the horizon. Let’s call the student Gary for the purpose of this blog. You start to wonder if Gary is putting in the necessary work and encourage him to study on the weekends to catch up. Gary tells you that he does not understand the way his teacher explains the work in class and then it becomes clear why the last few months of extra lessons at school have not contributed to too much of an improvement on his report. This is the typical scenario we, at Limitless Tutor get presented with on a daily basis.
Each student is unique and study in their own way, finding a tutor the student can engage with one-on-one may be a solution to this problem and save some time. However, there are some things you should know about when getting a tutor:
When is the right time to get my Child a Tutor?
Gary is in Grade 8 and came home with a Maths mark of 56% after Term 1 and 48% for Term 2 after June exams. This is a good time to book a Mathematics tutor to get back on track and ensure the fundamentals are understood. We often see a decline in academic results in Grade 8. The students are in a new environment and the adjustment does tend to surface on their reports. Now is an ideal time to get Gary a tutor so that he does not fall further behind. If students battle with their base subjects in the lower grades, they are more likely to struggle in the higher grades. Ask your tutor for a few excercises to complete during the week, as a few minutes per day revising work that was covered in class will definitely add up to better results. So, when should your child get a tutor? As soon as there is a noticeable decline in marks or as soon as they start making negative remarks about a specific subject.
How should I select a Tutor?
A lot of agencies in South-Africa accept tutors to join their agencies based on the tutor’s matric result, whether this was the previous year or a decade ago. Generally a 70% for the subject the applicant wishes to tutor is the minimum requirement. This tends to be the only requirement. This is concerning for a few reasons. Firstly, as an agency, we are trusted to send- not only a qualified person into the student’s home- but also a safe and trusted individual. This is the reason Limitless Tutor gets criminal clearance from all of our tutors. This however, is not the norm in South-Africa, which is alarming. Secondly, just because someone gets a distinction for accounting, does not mean they can be an accounting tutor. A lot of our tutors are professionals with practical work experience in the subject they tutor, this means they are able to explain topics to students in more ways than someone who simply understands the course work. Thirdly, we like to know more details about the student so we can match them with the best tutor fit. ADHD, ADD, gender and age are some of the things we consider when placing a tutor. So ensure you speak to someone who listens to your requirements and takes them into consideration. It’s acceptable to ask about the tutor’s experience and whether or not he/she will be a good fit.
How long should our lessons be?
The duration of lessons can be anywhere between 1 -3 hours. Some students will do 2 x 2 hour lessons the day before an exam, with a lunch break. Most students will decide on a fixed day of the week to have their extra lesson for the year. The duration of your lesson depends on the subject, time available and focus level of the student and most importantly the current mark. If Debbie is on 33% for Afrikaans 2nd in Matric and it is August, she probably needs 2 x 2 hour lessons per week to cover literature and poetry as well as language and comprehension. The Afrikaans tutor will of course provide feedback after each lesson, if Debbie started earlier in the year, then 2 hours per week would have been sufficient. Maths lessons for passing students tend to be 1.5 hour sessions. English lessons for students with literature and poetry will be a weekly 1.5 or 2 hour lesson. An important responsibility the parent has is to decide on options of DAYS and Times, and to communicate this to the agency.
There are always ways to improve academic results, and taking action earlier rather than later is key!