Many tutoring companies are experiencing a higher interest in getting personalized help, especially in math and reading tutoring services.
The COVID “Slide”
There’s solid evidence that the quarantine and forced closing of schools has resulted in a lot of confusion and lost ground for students. The sudden switch to virtual school has caused many students to lose ground in all of the basic subjects, math included. Parents are struggling to keep up with the new routine, and many are turning to private tutors to help their kids stay on top of their daily assignments, while also trying to catch up on material they missed at the end of the last school semester.
At TutorUp, we have experienced an increased demand across the board, not just in math tutoring services, and recently we’re getting more requests for in-person tutoring. We are able to witness first-hand how private tutoring can improve student comprehension, achievement, and confidence, whether online or in-person.
USA Today reports that “Tutoring is one of the oldest forms of education. A growing body of research shows that, when done right, it’s also one of the most effective means of lifting student achievement.“ Further, they address the COVID slide like this, “The toll on students’ attainment and engagement has been dire; it will almost certainly be compounded by the usual slide in learning many kids experience over summer vacation.”
Tutoring is an Effective Strategy For Learning
The Fordham Institute has researched educational interventions, including tutoring. They found that “tutoring is one of the most powerful interventions of all… Indeed, well-structured tutoring programs can produce gains in reading or math that are equivalent to about five months of learning beyond students’ ordinary progress.”
Boosting Student Achievement and Confidence
There is a stigma attached to students who are assigned to remedial classes, or who are identified as having learning challenges. Private tutoring removes this public stigma and provides the one-on-one personalized attention students need to get up to speed with their classmates. As students reach high school, they are increasingly reluctant to ask questions in class for fear of appearing “stupid” in front of their peers. As a result, they stay quiet and fall further behind.
Dr. Robert Slavin, Director of The Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University states, “Of the single interventions that could be instituted at relatively modest cost and with quite rapid speed, tutoring stands out: The research base for its effectiveness is unusually consistent and strong, the practice is internationally endorsed, and there are many college graduates who will soon look for meaningful employment.”
Check out how much math tutors cost, including our pricing for math tutoring services at TutorUp.
Walk through the aisles of Back to School supplies in your local stores and you’ll notice a few new items on the shelves. Face masks, hand sanitizers, antiseptic wipes and other virus-related items have joined backpacks, folders, pens and pencils as essential school supplies, thanks to the presence of COVID-19.
In most states, the decision about whether or not to return to in-person school is being made at the school district level, and there are still districts that haven’t decided on how they will start the new school year. In other states, the governor is deciding. Whatever the situation in your school district, there is sure to be controversy.
To Return or Not Return, That is the Question
Pediatricians and the CDC have advocated for returning our children to school as usual, citing the extremely low incidence of the COVID-19 virus among those under 18 years old. There is also significant concern about the effects on children of being isolated and missing social contact. On top of that are concerns that students have fallen behind academically, and online classrooms have been a poor substitute for being present in school.
Many parents are working, some from home and some outside of the home, and having the kids home every day has been a hardship. Arranging for supervision and trying to manage their children’s online schoolwork has been difficult to do, so many parents are looking forward to having their kids back in school.
But returning to school in person has millions of people worried about the risks. Parents are understandably concerned about the health and safety of their children, and teachers are worried about exposure to the virus themselves, and the possibility that they could carry the virus home to their own families.
Innovation and Creativity Offer Solutions
In light of the uncertainty, parents are stepping up to the challenge and are creating their own solutions. This fall “school” will look very different for many families. Here are 5 options parents are choosing for their children.
Across the U.S., there has been a surge in interest from families who are seriously considering homeschooling. Many parents discovered last semester that they were more capable than they gave themselves credit for. Schools were scrambling to provide some type of academic activity, and many parents ended up being de facto teachers. And decided they liked it. So rather than depend on the school district to make a decision for the good of their family, parents are going to take on the challenge themselves.
Private schools are reporting an increase in inquiries from parents looking for options. Private schools, on average, have smaller class sizes and are not governed by the same restrictions as public schools. Many parents need their children to be in school so they can work, and they feel a private school may be better able to implement safety measures for their children.
Pods – In Person “Micro Schools”
Chatter on social media and online parent groups is showing an increasing interest in forming small private groups of students called pods. A couple of families get together and pool their resources, creating a classroom environment in one of their homes. Some pods are all family members, some are neighbors, and they are either sharing homeschooling duties for the group or they are pooling resources and hiring a tutor or teacher to come to their in-home classroom and work with the small group. It’s a modern take on the old one-room schoolhouse concept.
Mini Pods – Online
Very similar to the in-person pods or micro schools, this is a variation that allows for the teacher or tutor to conduct classes in a virtual environment. There are a lot of different conferencing or online schooling platforms that can handle live sessions with a teacher and several students at once.
Regular School Plus Tutoring
For many parents, these options may not work, and they are going to go with whatever their local schools plan to do while supplementing their child’s education with some regularly scheduled private tutoring. Many children lost ground academically when schools were forced to put together an online alternative, and parents are finding that having the one-on-one attention and support of a tutor is the best way to help their kids stay on track. Whether kids are attending school in person or online, the reality of teaching a large group of students at once is that some students are going to fall behind, some students are high achievers and will be bored. For these students, individualized private tutoring is an option growing in popularity.
For the 2020 school year, one thing is certain – it’s going to look far different from what we’ve all gotten used to.
Think about the best teachers you had growing up. Maybe you had a teacher whose passion for learning kept you engaged and excited no matter how mundane the topic, or maybe you had one with saint-like patience who went the extra mile to make sure you understood the material. Now let’s compare these options for an Algebra tutor: a college student who scored 99th percentile on the Math portion of the SAT, or a 3rd-year Algebra teacher in your local district. Which of them is more likely to have the energy and thoughtfulness you’re looking for in a tutor? We’d prefer the person who chose to make a living as an educator.
Teachers know how to teach the subject matter
You may be thinking “well yeah, but teaching certificates aren’t required to help a child with homework.” That’s true! However, don’t discount the training in pedagogy and instructional methods that comes with a teacher’s certification. That training gives teachers practical tools and methods by which to channel their calling to educate students. Let’s revisit the whiz kid Algebra student who tutors on the side. They certainly have sterling credentials and can probably teach your child some tricks to find the right answer, but the professional teacher not only knows the material backwards and forwards, but also knows the specific learning objectives that your child will be tested on when district and state assessments come around.
Teachers have experience meeting your child’s learning needs
We value on-the-job experience for everything from handymen and heart surgeons, there’s no reason tutors should be any different. Beyond the classroom, every state requires teachers to complete annual professional development. Many teachers earn extra money and go a step further by participating in mentorship programs, pilot programs, and conferences. These formal and informal channels keep teachers abreast of the latest instructional methods, tools, and activities. Besides being subject matter experts, teachers are trained to assess and evaluate student progress, and adapt teaching methods to match student needs.
Teachers are vetted professionals
All teachers must pass a rigorous background check as part of their hiring process, and rightly so. When you and your child meet with a teacher for tutoring, you know you’re sitting down with a vetted professional. With other tutors, the best case scenario is a word-of-mouth reference from a friend or colleague.