The importance of having a study plan.
After-school education has grown increasingly popular and has become a vital part of education. Many great programs exist, focusing on subjects including art, science, and countless others. These programs have many things in common; for example, many are conducted in groups. Group work can be incredibly beneficial to students, and the goal of this article is not to diminish the importance of these after-school programs. I believe they create great value for families and the community. However, not all after-school programs can fit every child’s needs, especially when it comes to students who need individual attention or private tutoring.
In Orange County, tutoring centers are opening up on every corner. The majority of them use group sessions. For parents, one of the great things about group tutoring is cost! It is relatively inexpensive and allows parents to send their children to more days of tutoring per week. At Titan Tutors, we also offer group tutoring in which we help students with homework and make sure they keep on top of tasks. However, that is not the foundation of our program. With an eight-to-one student-to-teacher ratio, we know what our tutors are capable of. Can they make sure that students’ homework gets completed so parents don’t have to worry about it? Absolutely. But if a student doesn’t understand a particular concept, can we help them? That’s a tougher question to answer. Each student is different. Our tutors try their best, but if a student is struggling, we don’t have the luxury or time to provide different methods and examples to try to help the student understand a concept the way it may make sense to them. We do what we feel we can effectively do, and sometimes that means recommending that our students go into private tutoring.
Private Tutoring is Affordable!
When I consult with parents and I mention private tutoring, I can see their demeanor change. I can see that they agree with what I am saying. They truly and genuinely want to help their child improve and, if they could afford it, they would do it in a heartbeat. Everyone knows that quality comes at a cost. Buying clothes at Walmart is different from buying them at Nordstrom. Private tutoring costs anywhere from $40 per hour to hundreds of dollars per hour. A parent that needs tutoring two or three days a week will spend hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars per month. A large majority of my customers will never be able to afford that. Can you see why their demeanor changes? Cost is a real concern, and private tutoring needs to be affordable or parents will never choose this option. Inevitably, they will return to traditional group tutoring centers, some of which have very high student-to-teacher ratios. In many cases—particularly if a student is struggling with reading—these can be very ineffective.
Tutoring Needs to be Flexible and Adaptable
When I have taught group tutoring in the past, I have felt that these programs often rely on a rigid set of rules and procedures. Now, don’t get me wrong: organization and good structure are a necessity. But working with children of all ages is not the same as selling a product. You need a program that has the flexibility and adaptability to change as the student changes. Because every student absorbs information in their own unique way, tutors need to be able to provide examples that each student can comprehend and to adjust to each student’s learning ability. This is why our tutoring service focuses primarily on private tutoring. We feel strongly that, in order to help students, we need to be able to work with them in a one-on-one setting. Doing so allows tutors to effectively target areas that challenge an individual child as well as provide the student with information in a way that they can comprehend.
We teach, and encourage a love of learning, collaboration, and compassion. Everyone a learner everyday.
Equal Access to Quality Programs
One of our goals is to create programs that help narrow the achievement gap in reading and math for young children. Young children in low-income families tend to do poorly in math and reading due to a lack of resources and their parents’ long work hours. It is a personal goal of mine to provide equal access to quality after-school programs, namely in the form of private tutoring. I, along with Titan Tutors, feel that this is the best way to close the achievement gap. Clumping up students and teaching them all at once won’t help students that are struggling and have lost confidence in their abilities.
Over the last two years, our base of students has grown one student at a time. In the beginning, we had one student. By the end of last year, we had grown to 80 students. Now, we have 130 students and are still growing. We have parents who never thought they would be able to afford private tutoring, yet they have made the switch from traditional group tutoring to our private tutoring programs. 90 percent of our parents decide to continue on with us each year, and many have been with us since we started our private tutoring program.
Improving a Student and Community at a Time
Parents love our programs, and we see drastic improvements in our students. Our biggest secret weapon is our close relationship with our community—including parents, tutors, school teachers, principals, and, most importantly, our students. We have community buy-in and can see that everyone believes in what we are doing. The more we can work together, set realistic expectations, and understand the hard work and effective communication that we require, the larger impact we can have on children and families who normally do not have the resources to afford private tutoring.
If you are reading this article, don’t discount private tutoring until you talk to me at Titan Tutors. Anything is possible, and our mission is to provide affordable private tutoring to all families. The more people we are able to place, the more we can continue to keep costs low, and eventually—dare I dream—provide free private tutoring to children in poverty