What I Make: Great Tutors

written by Hearth Member Ryan Bonaparte

When I was in high school, I had the chance to go the local library and work with young students to help them with their homework. It was a short after school program, an hour or so, but as a tutor, I could see the difference it made, the student’s eyes light up when they understood.

Since then I’ve continued tutoring when I could, working with students both as a volunteer and as a paid tutor. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience and allowed me to meet and learn from dozens of young (and not so young) people.

After grad school, my schedule became a tad busier, but eventually I was able to start working with students again, even more so than before. At one point, I was helping half a dozen students each week and loving it. However, I was burning myself out and there were plenty more students in my area looking for help.

I also saw and heard the horror stories. Tutors who would get angry and frustrated when their students asked questions. Tutors who would show up to lessons late or not at all. And tutors who, despite their best efforts, were just ineffective and confused students even more. More than one student came to me seeking help because things were just not working with their previous tutor.

However, one of the things that always frustrated me was the lack of time I had. I just didn’t have enough time to work with the students who would contact me. I wanted to help more people master their most difficult subjects, but I just couldn’t and I didn’t know any tutors that I could recommend.

So the idea hit me: why not help people become tutors, and those who were already in the industry become even better?

We will get to the right answer eventually!From this idea, The New Tutor was born. The New Tutor provides resources to prepare people to accomplish one goal: become Great tutors. I put together a comprehensive guide based on my experience that spells out how to get started as a private tutor, and more importantly, how to work with students in an effective way.

I also decided to offer training sessions to work with me directly. Instead of helping students on their math homework, I now get the chance to work with future tutors. I go through the skills I’ve picked up over the years to get a student to build the courage to answer a question instead of saying “I don’t know.” I also discuss the techniques that help to keep me calm and patient even after the 10th time a student has answered the same type of question incorrectly.

My hope is that more Great tutors will be available to students across the nation and around the world. We are all students and all still have so much to learn, so I’ll keep sharing what I learn with those who I can help, all the while learning from those around me.

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