Becoming a Tutor: Why I Kissed my Gradebook Good-Bye
It took me months to realize that my student, Graham*, did not know my name. Graham was a high schooler with a traumatic brain injury. He knew the names of family members, but no one else. He was very good at faking out his friends, teammates, and me.
I was a homebound teacher, working with students who could not attend school for medical reasons. I was Graham’s only teacher, creating the curriculum, writing the lesson plans, creating the assessments, and grading his work. We spent hours working together each week.
Graham’s mother, the school, and I were in constant contact. How was he feeling? What was the latest doctor’s report? What progress was he making academically? Did he qualify for Special Education? What accommodations should he receive? When would he be ready to return to school?
That year was transformative for me. I had always been a classroom teacher. Teaching one-on-one was a whole new experience, one that I loved. I knew my students inside and out, in a way that I never could in the classroom.
Additionally, I formed close relationships with parents as we worked in their child’s best interests. I became a liaison between the families and school, easing my students’ transitions back to school. Though I would return to the classroom the next year, I never forgot the experience.
Fast forward to 2016. I became a mother and decided to leave my teaching position. However, I still wanted to work with teenagers and their families. Remembering my year teaching homebound students, I realized that I could work with families as a tutor.
The Joys of Tutoring
As I began tutoring, I realized that being a tutor was pretty darn awesome. In fact, it was way better than teaching.
I can focus on kids.
Not the state exam, not the administration’s new requirements, not the staff meeting this afternoon. My focus is always on my students.
This still one of my favorites. Grading takes HOURS and HOURS of time and lots of energy. Instead, I can use that time and energy to customize a lesson for a student or research new teaching methods.
Stronger relationships with parents = teamwork.
As a teacher, I had limited time to talk to and work with parents. As a tutor, though, I work for the parent. We have a lot of contact with each other and can form a strong team to support their child.
I can pee whenever I want.
Seriously. Teachers learn to hold it and only pee at designated times. Somedays that was really hard. Not a problem anymore 🙂
So why do I tutor? I tutor because I want to provide a more personal, individualized experience for my students.I tutor because I want to provide a more personal, individualized experience for my students.Click To Tweet
I want to foster relationships with families. I can also assist in communication between schools and families. I tutor to help kids.
*The student’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.