What To Do When Tutoring Isn’t Helping

What To Do When Tutoring Isn’t Helping

A few years back (all right, more than10 years ago) I decided to take up tap dance. As an adult. It was time to finally live out my dream of being a tap dancer!

I took a class for complete beginners. Only, not everyone was a beginner. There were several women in the class who had tapped as kids. And can I tell you that muscle memory is a thing. They were the best students in the class and I . . . was not.

I was ready to quit several times. But I made myself think about my progress. It was painfully slow, but I WAS getting better. I ultimately stuck with tap class for several more years. I was never the best, but I had the biggest smile in the class.

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When I work with parent and teens, they want change so badly. But sometimes, tutoring just isn’t helping. What do you do?

What To Do When Tutoring Isn’t Helping

Tutoring Isn't Helping

Give It Time

When did tutoring start? If it’s been less than 3 months, I would stick it out longer. Change takes time!

For the first month of tutoring, I am still assessing the student and figuring out her strengths and learning style. Is there positive change during that early part? Usually, but it starts small. You can usually start to see progress within a few months.

However, after 2-3 months, if there are no changes in your child’s grades or habits, it’s time to start asking questions.

Talk to the Tutor

This should be your first step. Express your (specific) concerns to the tutor. Questions you might want to ask include:

  • What changes do you see on your end?
  • What strategies/ content are you working on with my child?
  • How does my child act during tutoring?
  • What can I do at home to help my child and build on what you’re doing?

Talk to your Child

As the other major person involved, talk to your child. Keep the conversation low-key, maybe while you’re driving her somewhere?

  • What does your child see happening?
  • What habits has she changed and why?
  • How useful does she find the tutor?

To be blunt, sometimes the problem isn’t the tutor, but the child’s motivation. If your child isn’t willing to study, practice, or change their habits, then those grades won’t increase. I know tutors who stopped tutoring because the child wasn’t ready for it.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”If your child isn’t willing to do the hard work, tutoring may not be worth it right now.” quote=”If your child isn’t willing to do the hard work, tutoring may not be worth it right now.”]

Bring in More Help

If you haven’t already, bring in the child’s teacher or teachers to the conversation. They often see different behavior or patterns at school than you do at home. They may also have specific ideas for what the tutor can work on with your child. If your child has an IEP, definitely keep his case manager in the loop.

I have worked with classroom teachers, special ed teachers, and therapists to help my tutoring kiddos succeed!

Go back to those goals

It may be time to revisit those goals that you created with the tutor. What skills or content do you want the tutor to focus on? Is the tutor doing that or has she veered off course?

Find a new tutor

If after all those steps above, if tutoring still isn’t helping, then it’s time to move on. Give the tutor a few weeks notice that you’ve decided to end tutoring along with your reasoning. (Keep it brief and civil, please.)

In those last few weeks of tutoring, start looking for someone new. Many communities have multiple tutors available. I see tutors all the time on neighborhood FB groups and Nextdoor. The school staff is always a good resource as well!

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Whether you decide to stick it out or move on, have an open conversation with your tutor and your child.

Related Posts: How to Find the Right Tutor for your Child, When is the Best Time to End Tutoring?, 3 Reasons Why Your Teen Doesn’t Know How to Study

1 thought on “What To Do When Tutoring Isn’t Helping”

  • I’m glad you explained how tutoring could take a few months to show some improvements in a child’s grades! A few weeks ago, my brother said he wanted to find a tutor to help with her daughter’s finals. I’m not sure if my brother did look for a tutor, so I’ll ask him next time I see him and share your tips with him too! Thank you for the advice on how a tutor evaluates and identifies a child’s learning technique!

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