"I'm going to hire my teacher as a tutor. What could go wrong? She already knows the curriculum! My son likes her and she understands her moods and his strengths and weaknesses and she knows what will be on the test. He will also learn how to do it her way, instead of someone else's way. What could go wrong?"
This is an all too common statement uttered by families seeking to get their children ahead in their scholastic considerations.
Here are a few reasons why you should reconsider hiring your child's teacher as their tutor:
1. They are Impartial
School teachers that serve as tutors cannot provide you with the feedback that you will need to help your child when they need it. Because there is an exchange of money for services, they may be unable to tell you what your child needs to continue working on because every time they work with your little one they should know how to do everything, correct?
2. They only use what the school provides
School teachers are on a rather small budget to buy materials that are dedicated to helping your child. What they might end up doing is recycling the pages that came out of a book that was handed down from another teacher. If your child really does have a difficult time with a subject, the teacher will look at what is right in front of them instead of procuring the best resources for your child.
3. They may not know of any other ways to help
Teachers have limited access to training and professional development opportunities that they themselves attend. One private school I know of received training in the same methodologies that I use however, it was extremely diluted and the trainer was so rushed for time that the teachers did not understand the depth and breadth of what they needed to know. So it was back to You Tube as usual.
4. They can only tell you what you want to hear
"Johnny is doing so good!" When I hear this it is one of the most insincere statements one can make to a parent (and by the way, children do not "do good"). In order for your child to understand how they can improve in a certain area, they need to have someone who is unafraid of giving them honest, personal feedback. Once you find that person who knows how to balance unrelenting feedback with a great tutoring style, you have yourself a keeper. However, if the person needs to tell you what you want to hear - it may not be great for your child in the long term.
5. They cannot serve two masters because..
They receive their first paycheck and the more important one from the school. Teachers do not have the ability to speak against their employer because - their employer is the one who pays the bills. It's a horrible situation to be up against and if you think about it, you would not want to be in their shoes either.
6. Here today, gone tomorrow
Sometimes you are looking for something cheap, quick and easy. If this is for you - then hiring your child's teacher (like most people) will serve it's purpose. For others, one teacher/tutor may not be able to help the child and the problem only becomes worse through time. A good (or great) tutor is able to look at problems and help the child with strategies in overcoming these challenges. Otherwise, you have just hired yourself a "homework helper". That's not a tutor.
If you have any questions about Orton-Gillingha, Handwriting Without Tears, Singapore Math, tutoring, teaching, or mainly anything that involves your child, their school, and what they should be learning and how they could learn - in the Metro Atlanta area, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us at (404) 964-8533.