Tutoring Success Story by Luis F.

My interest in working as an academic tutor began after earning an A grade on the first expository essay I wrote as a college freshman. Over ten years later, I submitted an economic research report as a continuing education student. That report reawakened my natural inclination for academic prose. From that point on, I pursued all writing roles either as the mentor or as the author. My first tutoring responsibility materialized in the fall of 2009 when I accepted an assignment to tutor freshman English courses. Needless to say, the tutoring sessions became a productive and valuable educational experience.

It is gratifying to meet a student who does not understand the essay requirement and has other equally important and urgent subjects to master, and then leave enlightened and empowered one hour later. I have worked with students who arrive with the task, a weak draft and a deadline and leave with a fresh new outlook and a well defined course of direction. The end result is a new educational perspective and an eagerness to return to the writing center they once eluded, whether the next day or years later. This is the episode I encounter hour after hour and day after day. Every student brings a new dilemma that has to be evaluated, restructured and refocused. It is rewarding to be the source of a life changing event.

My long term personal goal has been to educate individuals on academic prose, formal argument and research protocol. I believe that the motivated, broadminded and agile university population is the optimal audience for a writing enthusiast such as me, and that alone has served as my guiding principle. I worked in Princeton for several years after graduating from college and, as such, I would not hesitate to further my commitment as a writing center tutor. I have been a member of four major research organizations and I feel qualified to mentor university students, given the prospect.

Luis F.

Visit Luis’s Tutoring Match Profile.

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Posted in Tutoring, Tutors, Writing
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Tutoring Beyond Academia

Music Tutors
Music tutors may specialize in one particular instrument, or might have experience in multiple areas of music education. Besides offering private lessons for the violin, flute, and percussion, a music tutor may also be ideal for students studying music theory or who are having difficulty learning how to read music. A music tutor may be able to tutor in your own home. If you are worried about upsetting the neighbors, the tutor may have a practice studio for your child to have lessons.

Dance Tutors
Although a dance tutor may not be able to work with your child in your own home, like many tutors do, hiring a dance instructor for private lessons may be just what your child needs to break out of his/her shell. Dance tutors can help students learn ballet basics that translate across other styles such as jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. If a student is struggling in the dance studio, he or she is most likely not comfortable talking with the teacher or asking too many questions during class. A dance tutor can help a student develop dance skills and learn different styles without the pressure of other students looking on.

Art Tutors
Art tutors help a student with composition, learning to work with shades and colors, and can teach disciplines in painting, sculpture, and drawing. You may find an art tutor is also an established graphic designer, and that he or she are able to tutor your child on photo editing and layout and design software. Art tutors can help your child find his or her inner artistic “voice” and develop a personalized style. Art tutors are also ideal for students who are looking to build their portfolios if they are looking to go to college for graphic design, fashion design, architecture, theatre design and tech, and other visually specific professions.

Tutoring for Multiple Subjects
Many tutors will tutor in multiple subject areas. For example a math tutor may also be a guitar instructor. As it is learning to read music and play rhythms is very mathematical. Or an English tutor may also double as an art instructor. If your child is already working with a tutor for one specific area, see if he or she has any other specialties that may be beneficial for the student. The tutor and your child have already established a good rapport, so why not see if the same tutor who is helping your child with mathematics is also a really good clarinet instructor as well.

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Posted in Education, Tutor Marketing, Tutoring, Tutors

Project Management for School Projects

School projects are different from standard essays and reports. They may involve a tri-fold cardboard display board, posters, a slide show or video presentation. Projects can be a lot of fun to create, but they also take a lot of time and energy to complete.

 Here are some tips to help you with project managing your school projects:

Review the Assignment Multiple Times
Before you even begin to start working on your project, you need to make sure you read the directions for the assignment very carefully. Pay attention to the fine print and don’t leave out any details. The worst thing that can happen when working on a project is to get through 75% of the work and then realize that you left out a critical aspect (which can adversely impact your grade). Also look to see if there are specific formatting guidelines, time limits for presentations, and if you need to make multiple copies of reports. If you have reviewed all of the information but still have questions about the assignment, ask the teacher.

Take a Mental Inventory
Once you have an idea of what you want to create for the project, take a mental inventory of everything you already have. Do you have a cardboard display board, construction paper, glue, and other crafty materials? If you are working on a video project, do you have access to a camera and a computer with video editing capabilities? Make a list of everything you need to get to start working on the project. You don’t want to find yourself working on an assignment at midnight before it is due and find that you ran out of glue or printer paper.

Map Out a Plan of Action
If your project is due in a week on top of all of your daily homework tasks, you’ll need to plan out in advance time specifically for the project. Set aside an hour each night to conduct research, gather images and other materials, and start formatting your project. If you know you’re going to need a full afternoon to complete the project, make sure you can move any plans for the weekend around to accommodate for the project. I personally would wait until the last minute to complete a project and then would become completely overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I needed to accomplish in a very short amount of time.

Review
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time before you have to hand in your project to review everything. Check to make sure your posters are fully intact and fix spots with glue or tape. Check for typos and grammatical errors on all written components. If you are working with digital mediums such as audio files, video, or a slide show presentation, you’ll want to make sure there are no technical errors. Make a few copies of the presentation and play it on a different computer. Have a backup saved on a flash drive or stored in your email account. After putting a lot of time and energy into a project, you want to make sure your presentation goes off without a hitch.

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Posted in Education, Parents, Students

Get Your Student Interested in Reading

Reading and comprehension is an imperative skill for all students to have. A large part of the education process revolves around the written word in textbooks and novels. Here are some tips to help get your children interested in reading at a younger age, so they are better able to process more complex written information as they enter higher levels of learning.

Have Your Student Tested
There are a multitude of reasons to why your student may not find reading all that interesting. A common problem can be due to a physical limitation. If it seems your child is having a hard time recognizing words or staying focused, have him or her tested. An eye exam and a test for dyslexia can help identify if your child is having issues with processing written information or if the lack of interest is caused by something else.

Read To/With Your Student
If your student is just entering school, make sure you are taking time to read to him or her. Having the parent actively engage in the reading process can foster a positive attitude towards reading. If you have students who are older and feel more mature than having their parents read to them, consider having them read aloud to you. Having an audience to read to will help keep them more engaged with the work.

Find Audio/Visual Tie-Ins
For older students who are having trouble getting into full length novels for class, finding an audio or visual representation of the book can help them stay focused on the material. I once had a high school student who was an avid reader, but was having trouble staying focused on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Even though the student had no issues with reading comprehension, he couldn’t “get into” the book due to the language from that time period. His mom suggested he watch the six hour BBC adaptation of the book, and after seeing and hearing the book brought to life, he was able to focus more on the written work and delve deeper into the literature.

Another student who was having issues focusing on the Harry Potter novels had her mom purchase the audio book version. She listened to the audiobook while reading along. She was better able to make associations with the book thanks to the audio guide, and now she can read entire novels on her own.

Take Your Student to a Bookstore or Library
Your child may not be interested in reading simply because he or she hasn’t found anything they are interested in reading. Try taking your child to a library or a bookstore and have them spend an hour or two going through the aisles and reading the book descriptions. Encourage your student to pick books from a variety of genres. The right type of story is sometimes enough to spark a student’s interest in reading. Once he or she finds a book (or series) of interest, it is usually easier for him or her to branch out to other types of books and novels.

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Posted in Education, Parents, Students

Test Prep Tips from Tutoring Match

As students are gearing up for final examinations in December, now is the perfect time to start planning ahead for the major study sessions that are on the horizon. Cramming an entire semester’s worth of material into an all-night study session may work for some, but it is not the best route to success. Instead planning ahead and making sure you are as fully prepared as possible, will help you score well on your exams.

 

Here are a few test prep tips to help you succeed on finals:

1. Make Sure You Have Learned The Material

Were you sick the day the teacher reviewed chapter 14 of the textbook? Or did you sleep through class on the day you were supposed to have learned about Pavlov and classical conditioning? You can’t expect to study something if you haven’t learned it yet. When you are preparing for the exam and you find something that is completely foreign, consult help in learning the material. Sit down with a classmate and have him or her review the material with you, or ask to borrow notes. Once you have a clear idea of what you missed, then you can go ahead and review and study for the test.

2. Review Your Notes

In addition to attending class and completing the required reading, your notes from class are one of the most important resources for studying for an exam. Notes help you break down the material in an easier to read and understand. Sometimes, teachers go off book and will add a few extra things into the lecture that are not found in your textbook. These extras can end up as questions on a test. Make sure you keep well organized and detailed notes to not only track what is discussed in your course material but any additional information your teacher gives you.

3. Identify Areas You Don’t Fully Understand

While studying, identify areas that you may have a general understanding of, but not the entire concept. Whether it is a formula you are having a hard time remembering, a glossary term, or a specific literary figure, highlight these items as you study. Make sure you go back to these areas repeatedly so you make sure that you understand completely. By itemizing the items you know well, and ones you don’t, you can better allocate your studying time. Don’t waste time reviewing concepts you already know, and focus on areas you are struggling with.

4. Set Goals For Review

Finals can either be on the material covered since midterms or from the entire semester as a whole. Ask your teacher beforehand if the test is cumulative or if it is just one specific area. Then make study goals for yourself. Perhaps you spend two hours one night on all material covered up to the midterm, then another two hours the next night on more recent coursework. Establishing parameters for your study sessions will help you better manage how much time you spend on each session and will help you stay on track to ensure you don’t leave anything out.

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Posted in Education, Parents, Students, Test Prep / Testing

How to Become an Online Tutor

So you’ve finally decided to try your hand at tutoring. Perhaps you are already a teacher and are looking to supplement your income. Or maybe you are a college student looking for part-time work. Regardless of your motivation, tutoring is a great way to use your talents to help others gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.

Online Tutoring allows you to forgo the search for students in your area, and instead lets you find students from across the country who are looking for help in specific academic areas. Tutoring Match’s Online Tutoring platform makes it easy for you to get started and find students looking for your particular areas of expertise.

Here is how to become an Online Tutor with Tutoring Match in five steps:

1.      Apply and Interview

Create a tutor account and tutor profile on Tutoring Match. Once you have these two set up, select Online Tutoring in your account. Then schedule an interview with Tutoring Match. A Tutoring Match staff member will then contact you to complete the interview.

2.      Prepare
Once your account is all set up and ready to go, you can choose from a variety of online interactive sites (show at the left) to work with.

You have a choice of demonstrating competency during your interview with Tutoring Match, or you can opt to receive training at a later date.

Set your own pricing and payment options and you are on your way to start connecting with potential tutees.

3.      Schedule

You have two options to meet with students on the Online Tutoring platform. You can set your availability for specific days and times and have students request you for those times, or you can activate the “I’M ONLINE” button in your account to help students who are looking for immediate tutorials. You can also contact students and invite them to a tutoring session online, on your own.

4.      Confirm Payment Method

Basic and +Plus level members will verify a preferred payment method with the client. Pro Members can  arrange with the client for direct payments and payment arrangements or use online timesheets. Funds are then sent to the tutor from Tutoring Match.  Basic Members are paid once a month and +Plus Members are paid bi-monthly. Pro Members have the option for immediate payment from the client or through Tutoring Match and direct deposit.

5.      Tutor

You can conduct quick sessions, a full lesson, class or a webinar. The application allows you to track your time and verify the length of the session with your student.

Once you and the student have verified the duration of the tutoring session, complete an online timesheet for payment from Tutoring Match.

For more information about online tutoring, check out Tutoring Match’s Forum for online tutoring.

Feel free to contact Tutoring Match at any time with questions or comments about our Online Tutoring. You can reach us by phone at 800-775-4881 or via email at info@tutoringmatch.com.

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Posted in Online Tutoring, Tutoring, Tutors

The Advantages of Online Tutoring

Online tutoring is similar to meeting with a student in-person, except that you and the tutee are in completely different places. Using an online tutoring platform allows you to talk with and listen to your students, send message back and forth, compose and review documents, among many other benefits.

Here are some of the advantages of online tutoring:

Little to No Travel
As online tutoring takes place computer to computer, rather than face to face, it reduces travel time for the tutor and the student to meet up. Commuting usually requires some buffer time to accommodate road work or bad weather, which takes away from the tutor’s schedule. Online tutoring allows a tutor to book students back to back as he/she does not have to spend the time traveling from one student to another. Plus, online tutoring takes a load of stress off of the student’s parents, as the online sessions can be scheduled any time in the privacy of their own home.

No Geographic Limitations
In addition to getting rid of the traveling aspect of traditional tutoring, online tutoring removes all geographical limitations. Online tutoring lets students select from a larger pool of tutors versus just choosing from those in the local area. Perhaps a student needs a teacher with a specific c

ertification, and the only one available happens to live in the next state. Online tutoring works as distance learning can happen basically from any computer with a working internet connection.

Flexible Scheduling
Tutors who work with students on the internet have more flexibility with their scheduling. Not only are they not tied down by commuting, they can work at their own pace. A tutor can have a student complete an assignment, which they can then send back to the student online at any time, once they have finished reviewing. Plus online tutoring works really well with time differences. Say a tutor in Boston decides to work with students after putting in a full day of work; the tutor can set up a tutoring session for 6:00 pm Boston time and work with a student in San Diego at 3:00 pm California time. Online tutoring works for both parties as the student in California is able to get help right after school, and the tutor can take on clients while having a full-time 9-5 job.

Tutoring Match’s Online Tutoring Platform
With Tutoring Match’s online tutoring program, students work with a professional tutor over a secure web environment. The tutor and student communicate using text and voice chat applications, can draw problems on an interactive whiteboard, share files to easily review essays and papers, and browse educational resources together on the internet. The online platform allows students to connect with their tutors whenever they need help. Students are able to schedule a specific tutoring session, or look to see if their tutor is available online right then and there. If a student only has a few questions or needs help on a specific problem, the tutorial time will then be prorated and charged to the nearest quarter hour. For more information on Tutoring Match’s online tutoring program, visit us online at http://www.tutoringmatch.com/students/online-tutoring.

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Posted in Education, Online Tutoring, Tutoring, Tutors

Study Tips for Long Car Trips

Thanksgiving is a time for meeting with family, eating good food, and being thankful for what we have. It is also one of the busiest travel days of the year. The day before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day are some of the busiest travel days as millions of loved ones return home for the holiday. As the roads tend to be crowded and a 1-hour trip can turn into a 2 or 3 hour event, we’ve come up with some tips to keep students occupied and productive in the car when going over the hills and through the woods to Grandma’s house.

Get Some Reading Done
Getting stuck in traffic is the perfect time to get some reading done. Whether you need to complete assigned reading for school, or have been trying to find time to start a new book for fun, why not take a book with you for a long road trip? Pack a book (or a few) before you leave as well as a book lamp and extra batteries. Or, if you are going the high tech route, many e-readers and tablets offer lighted screens for reading in the dark. Although not everyone is able to read while sitting in a moving vehicle, it is one way to pass the time on a long car trip.

Flash Cards and Vocabulary
Flash cards and vocabulary games are a great way to get others in the car involved to help pass the time. Make up flashcards with vocabulary words, definitions, facts, and figures before heading out. Whoever is in the passenger seat can go through the cards and quiz the riders in the back seats on them. Flip the tables and have the students quiz the passenger on the cards as well. Flash cards are a fun way to get the whole family involved with the learning process.

Writing and Reflection
Pack a notebook and start writing! Start writing that book report you’ve been putting off, or journal entries that are all due the day you return to class from Thanksgiving break. If typing is more your style, pack a laptop or a tablet and get to work. The lack of internet in the car helps keep you from getting distracted and more focused on the material at hand. Another thought is to free write. Journal your road trip and reflect on what you hear, see, and feel. If you are studying vocabulary, write out your journey and try to incorporate as many words as possible.

Fun Car Games
If your trip is upwards of three hours or more, you’re going to want to incorporate some fun games into the mix. There is of course the standard license plate game – where you try to locate as many out of state license plates as possible in one trip. Or make up your own game. Try the license plate game as bingo. Or try playing games such as “Celebrity” or “Seven Degrees of Separation.” Taking breaks to play just-for-fun games helps break up study and work time while keeping everyone in the car occupied for the long haul.

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Posted in Education

The Dangers of All-Nighters and Energy Drinks

December will soon be here. The holiday season is full swing and December is when winter officially starts. For high school and college students, December marks finals season. Between studying test materials and rushing to get papers and final projects completed before the holiday break, students are sleep deprived and stressed trying to get everything done. To cope with late nights, there are many products on the market that offer “energy boosts.” However, these products are not healthy and in some situations can severely impact a person’s health.

Energy Drinks
They come in cans and bottles of every size and feature ingredients such as high levels of caffeine and sugar and herbs such as guarana, yerba mate, and ginseng. The high sugar content can spike blood sugar which leads to a “sugar crash,” which causes you do drink more to regain your energy and focus. Over-consumption of these types of drinks is known to cause elevated heart rate, fluctuations in blood pressure, and even changes to mental states.

Energy Shots
In more recent years, “energy shot” products have hit the market and are supported by multi-million dollar advertising campaign. They claim that these shots give you “the extra boost you need” and can fight “2 pm fatigue.” Not only are these shots loaded with artificial sweeteners and chemicals, but can potentially be fatal. The Food and Drug Administration is currently conducting an investigation into whether or not 13 deaths over the past 4 years can be blamed on the use of these energy shot products.

Coffee
Coffee is a natural source of caffeine. Many Americans drink at least a cup of coffee a day and coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world. However, drinking too much coffee in one sitting is not good as it can cause anxiety, stomach problems, and elevated heart rate. Many students prefer to drink their coffee with lots of cream and sugar, which contains a lot of empty calories. Coffee should be consumed in moderation.

What You Should Do
To avoid having to stay up night after night to get everything done, students should schedule out their tests and assignments ahead of time and plan time to each project. Allotting specific times over the course of the week for studying or essay writing can help alleviate some stress as the tasks can be completed in stages, rather than in one night. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is also important. If pulling an all-nighter is unavoidable, students should use any free time they have to take a power nap.

Keeping a steady diet of foods including fruits and vegetables can provide a natural energy boost as well as vitamins and minerals that are needed to maintain a healthy mind and body. Coffee and tea can be enjoyed, but in moderation. Most importantly, students should stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water when pulling late nights as dehydration of the body impacts productivity.

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Posted in Students, Test Prep / Testing

Sometimes Parents Aren’t the Best Tutors

We came across an article from the Wall Street Journal from a few years ago titled, “Why Parents Don’t Make Great Tutors for Their Kids.” Sue Shellenbarger, the author, pointed out this interesting piece of information:

As the school year revs up, many parents are now trying to figure out how best to help their kids academically. More parents are trying to tutor their kids at ever-younger ages, as pressures mount for even the youngest children to perform well in school … tutoring is no slam-dunk for parents; many puzzle over how they can wield deep professional skills at work, yet fail so completely at tutoring their children in related skills at home.

Here are a few reasons why parents don’t always make the best tutors:

1) Haven’t Been in School in a While

I remember back when I was working on my Algebra 1 homework, and I went out with my mom to purchase a TI-83 graphing calculator. Having my own calculator at home allowed me to check my answers on complex calculations. However, I remember my mom always remarking “we didn’t have those, we worked with slide rules.” Outside of the movie Apollo 13, I’d never seen a slide rule before.

The truth is many parents haven’t been in school for a while. Subjects change over time, and the homework that a child is working on can be markedly different from what his or her parents worked on when they were in school. Some parents do try to teach themselves the subject by studying their child’s textbook, which is met with mixed results. After a while the child and the parents get frustrated and upset over having to complete the assignment.

2) Present Material Differently than Teacher

Perhaps you are a whiz at math or are a professional writer by day. Your homework assistance can sometimes end up hurting your student. Some teachers teach material in one specific way, and will mark down students who may get the right answer from a different route. Writing styles differ per grade level and academic writing is different than what is published online and on paper. Straying too far from how the teacher instructs your child may seem helpful but can frustrate and confuse your child.

What You Can Do For Your Child

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t help your child with your homework. If your child needs help with an occasional math problem here or there, or wants you to review his or her essay for grammar and punctuation, you are more than capable of helping your child out. However, if your child is struggling in an academic subject and is repeatedly frustrated during homework sessions, you may need to consult some additional help.

The first step is to talk to your child’s teacher and identify areas that need improvement. Ask the teacher if he or she offers after-school help sessions and come up with an agreement for your child to get help on a weekly basis. You can also consider hiring a tutor. Tutors have experience working with children who are not “getting” the material in class, but are able to help them understand and learn difficult subjects outside of the classroom.

You can read the whole article “Why Parents Don’t Make Great Tutors for Their Kids” here: http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/2009/09/17/why-parents-dont-make-great-tutors-for-their-kids/

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Posted in Education, Parents, Teaching, Tutoring