I am currently embedded in a culture where tutoring is a commonplace activity. The school day ends and teachers head to the homes of students to provide tutoring support. This happens at all grades, across all subjects, and with all levels of academic support. It is also a serious thorn in my side. Why?
In counseling, I am consulted by teachers, parents, and administration on a regular basis. Stakeholders are seeking out advice, strategies, and interventions to support students across all domains — academic, social, behavioral, and emotional. It is one of my roles to coach, collaborate with, and offer support to adults so they, in turn, can support students. So, imagine my frustration — when offering strategies, interventions, and solution focused strategies — to hear the stakeholder reply, “I don’t have time. I have to go tutor.”
You HAVE to go tutor? You HAVE to go?
You choose to go.
Do you know what you have to do??
- Get to know your students and build authentic, genuine relationships with them.
- Act as a facilitator of learning while providing engaging, meaningful, relevant lessons to students.
- Provide feedback that helps a student understand where they are as a learner and provides an idea of what they could do to improve their learning practice.
- Engage with students in the classroom by being up, inquiring with them, modeling learning, and dialoguing to help them make meaning of their inquiries.
- Provide differentiated instruction and assessments to meet the needs of all learners in your community.
- Look at students holistically and support their social, emotional, and behavioral needs along with academic.
- Spend time planning, marking, moderating, and collaborating to ensure that student lessons are meaningful, engaging, and differentiated as well as goal-oriented and objective driven.
- Demonstrate compassion and empathy to all students, treating them with respect and dignity.
- Put students at the center of every decision, conversation, choice.
- Involve parents in the educational process sharing both areas of strength and areas for growth.
- Be human. Admit when you make a mistake. Laugh at yourself. Share something about your life. Why? (See number 1).
- Give time. Lots and lots of time. More time than you often want but time your students deserve.
I think this list is only the tip of the iceberg. There are so many things you have to do as an educator. Sometimes, these things often take time, energy, investment, and commitment outside of the contract hours. Sometimes, adding these things into our days seem like our often meager pay is being spread even more thin. Sometimes, doing these things is not lucrative like private tutoring is.
However, do you know what the catch 22 is? The more you make time for the “haves” of education, the more simple your life often becomes. Why? Students feel valued. Students by in. Students pro-social behaviors increase and undesirable behaviors decline. Academics typically improve and your attitude toward students becomes more compassionate and positive. In fact, call me controversial but I posit that if you practice all these “haves” off on a regular basis, your tutoring job might have just become obsolete.
In your experience, what are some other “haves” in education. What should be included on this list?