The explosion of tutoring services popularity worldwide has hit Canada. It’s an industry that used to be for only the wealthy and affluent to assist their children in overcoming academic performance hurdles. Now tutoring is not just for those who struggle scholastically. It’s for students who want to take their marks from good to great. Or for those who want to indulge in the arts or a passion project, like learning French.

In the last few years, online tutoring has hit the mainstream and made a huge difference to the industry because of its value and the ease of finding a qualified online tutor anywhere in the world. The following is The Telegraph’s perspective on this new phenomena:

“…virtual classrooms increasingly replicate real ones, typically allowing students and tutors to talk, share files, draw diagrams, and swap messages. Then, when a lesson is over, pupils can play it all back to reinforce their learning. And if it’s just a quick math question that’s proving problematic, there’s no need to pay for a full hour. Online tutoring often allows sessions to be as long or short as you like.”

Is tutoring the right decision for you? There are pro’s and con’s, as with all decisions. We’ll go through the myths about home tutoring, the price tag, and whether it’s reasonable or not. As well as what are the benefits you can expect to see and the potential pitfalls.

Are the Myths About Tutoring Real?

In the not so distant past, private tutoring had the stigma of being for those students who were failing, not very smart, or just plain lazy. If you’ve ever been the student who can’t seem to grasp the concepts, you know that 90% of the time, it’s not because of a lack of effort.

In some cases, there are challenges like dyslexia, ADD, and autism that make student learning in a traditional classroom very difficult. A private teacher will note the student’s learning style and customise the lessons so the tutee can absorb the material easily and retain it.

It’s true, there’s no free tutoring, but the benefits outweigh the costs. Source: CSRfm

What are the five most common myths about tutoring?

  1. Intensive one-on-one tutoring or group tutoring doesn’t work.

Students who receive good quality tutoring either at home, in a tutoring centre, in study groups or with online tutoring almost always do better than they did prior. It is because the supplemental instruction is intensive, and the student can focus on the areas where they are most confused. Tutoring fills the gaps in their knowledge, and then they can move forward positively.

  1. It’s hard to find time for tutoring, or tutors are difficult to book.

The only time students can’t attend tutoring is during school hours. That leaves evenings, weekends, and school holidays available for tuition. Regarding booking a tutor, the best ones can be difficult to secure. If you do some homework, you’ll find there are plenty of good ones out there. Ask for references first, as they will tell you if the tutor is as good as you need them to be. After all, it’s an investment of both time and money, and you want to get the best quality service possible.

  1. There’s no difference between a tutoring class and school, and if you can’t understand it in school, why spend the money to learn it again at home?

Well, if you’re confused and doing poorly, doing nothing will not improve the situation. The advantage a tutoring program has over the classroom is the tutor is there is assess your strengths and your weaknesses. They will fill the gaps where you lack understanding, and they’ll prepare you for test taking, exams, assignments, so you do as well as possible.

  1. Most tutors are students or unemployed teachers.

Honestly, either of those categories of tutors can be excellent. It depends on the tutor’s experience, subject matter expertise, and training. Certified teachers are highly sought after as tutors because of their years of training in educational pedagogy, learning styles, and in some cases, special education for learning challenges.

Regarding student tutors, the technical term is peer tutors or peer tutoring. These are some of the best tutors, and they are great mentors to a younger student because they will look up to them. They have also recently studied the very same course and will have firsthand knowledge of what the student who’s currently enrolled needs to know to be successful.

  1. My child is lazy. They don’t need a tutor.

That may be true, but here’s the thing. Lazy students get behind and in a subject like math, chemistry, or science, if you fall too far behind, it becomes impossible to catch up without extra assistance.

A math tutor, writing tutor, and reading comprehension for elementary students are the most popular subjects parents look for these days. For a subject like math, if a student misses a concept in class, the consequences can be exponential as the learning is cumulative and builds daily. Lazy or not, once you fall behind, your chances of catching up diminish the longer it goes on.

Tutoring is Expensive and Beyond My Budget

Homework assignments, writing skills, test preparation, calculus, anatomy & physiology, math, and science – there are tutors for infinite subjects. It just takes a bit of cash and discipline to get the academic skills you want. Source: peakpx

It’s not cheap, but worthwhile things rarely are. There are many ways to approach the tutoring world as you pursue academic success. You can choose a home tutor and find a tutor who can attend your house weekly or bi-monthly. The rate will vary depending on:

  • The subject
  • The level of difficulty (elementary, secondary, college level
  • The experience of the tutor (certified teacher, student, professional)

The rate will vary but typically, you can expect to pay between $25-$50/hour. That’s quite a range, but again, it depends on what they are tutoring and the difficulty of the course.

If you want to try a more economical route, and obtain the same results, try an online tutoring service. SuperProf has recently come to Canada, and they advertise (for free) online tutors in every major Canadian city in hundreds of subjects and disciplines.

The virtual learning environment has all the same benefits as

private individualised instruction and because of the healthy competition,

the rates tend to be about 30% cheaper by subject.

With the advent of online academic support, it’s a great time to become a tutor.

You can start a tutoring business today, advertise online and be working by weeks end. It’s a great side business and a meaningful way to give back to the community and help the next generation of leaders, our children.

Find out more about why you should be make education one of your new year resolutions.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Investing In a Tutor?

Better your odds for school and job success – hire a tutor! Source: Haiku Deck

The best way to decide is often writing down the advantages and disadvantages and then weigh the options.

In this case, let’s look at the advantages of tutoring first:

  1. Done well, it can raise your mark, broaden your knowledge, and increase your confidence academically.
  2. You will pass a grade/course that you may otherwise have failed.
  3. It will teach you the study skills, test prep, and discipline you need to face a problem and overcome it.
  4. The improved marks can give you access to the best academic institutions for college or university.
  5. The money and time invested today can translate to a better standard of living, as student success will create academic opportunities.

The disadvantages of tutoring are:

  1. It’s an extra expense that can be anywhere from $25/hour to $50/hour. Depending on the number of times you see your tutor each month, it can cost from $50-$200/month.
  2. You are trusting the Tutor’s references and the Tutor’s word when you hire them regarding their education certification and experience. They may or may not be worth what they advertise in rate or time.
  3. There’s no guarantee that your marks will improve if you hire a tutor. Consider that you will have to invest at least as much as the tutor in time and effort to improve your marks with individual tutoring.
  4. You will have to give up leisure time and other activities to devote time to your subject.

You Tried Using a Tutor Once Before, Unsuccessfully

For students who need academic assistance, tutoring companies or private tutors are not always a silver bullet to success. Source: RyanLab

It’s possible that you’ve tried tutoring in the past but had no success. Why do you think that was the case?

  • Was the tutor or tutoring programs unqualified or unavailable for enough sessions?
  • Did you/your child not put enough energy into the sessions and the extra scholastic requirements?
  • Did you give up too early to see any real improvement?

Whatever the reason, don’t give up on the idea of a tutor completely. Finding a tutor that is a good fit for the student and the course they are teaching can take time and effort. It’s well worth the investment because tutoring done well can lead to a lifetime of academic and job fulfilment.

If you are wondering if you should hire a tutor, the top ten reasons to hire a tutor or if a tutor will help you reach your goals, have a look at these articles.

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I am a Freelance Writer from Toronto with two teenage boys who keep me laughing and perpetually learning.