Is tutoring a help or a hindrance for teachers?

Tutoring is a sensitive topic for discussion in schools as I often find there is a solid divide in opinions and there are many arguments for and against extra tuition for pupils. I believe that effective and well planned tutoring can benefit children greatly and they reap so many benefits from it. Tutoring is not simply learning text book curriculum areas, it also nurturing and helpful to build a child’s confidence. I often brace myself when I happen to mention in schools that I tutor after school as some teachers are not happy to hear this.

I’m not going to lie, in my spare time I work one-to-one with students ranging from Primary 2 to Primary 7. I have worked with many different abilities and different personalities and as a sub teacher I feel it keeps my head in the game and keeps me up-to-date with the curriculum. I know what you’re thinking, Primary 2, the child is only 6 that’s hardly acceptable. Would you still say that if I told you this child:

  • doesn’t know his sounds
  • can’t read the same books his classmates are reading AND wonders why
  • has speech difficulties

Surely, as a parent or teacher you can see how unfair this is on a child to be wondering why they are not doing the same as their peers? So why if there is no extra support in school shouldn’t a parent be able to supplement their child’s learning with one-to-one support? It’s one hour a week. It’s one hour where that child gets the benefit of a qualified teachers attention. They get resources tailored to their specific needs at that time and they get someone’s time and attention to explain and teach them how to do a specific task.

Now let’s talk about the real elephant in the room, the transfer test. If you are from Northern Ireland you will be well aware of what this is. It is test that students sit in Primary 7 if they wish to attend a Grammar school the following year. There are two different tests that can be sat depending on what school the child wishes to attend. This often results in children having to sit four exams as an insurance that they will get into one of the grammar schools of their choice.

As a tutor I enjoy tutoring towards the transfer test as there is a clear end goal. Many teachers (old and young) will say that extra help towards this is not fair on other students who cannot afford to get a private tutor. Yes I can understand that argument but then why isn’t there enough being done in schools to combat this problem? Even now when they are allowed to teach towards the test some schools shy away from it.

Private tutoring towards the test allows the children:

  1. One to one support which they won’t receive in school if they are struggling with a certain area of the curriculum.
  2. A safe environment to build confidence to ask questions that they may feel are silly in front of their peers.

Children need to know what is covered in the transfer test moving forward into Secondary education so why no avail from the extra support tutoring can offer to help your child reach their full potential? It also helps the children to feel more confident in their own classroom as they may have already covered a topic with their tutor and the teacher has just begun teaching about it and it is familiar and safe to them.

Let me know your thoughts. Are you for or against tutoring children outside of school?

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