Recently, I’ve encountered some students who associate the word “tutor” with the notion of being not as smart as their peers. It causes the youngster to be reluctant to receive any type of help and creates a negative dynamic for the youngster and parent and/or the youngster and tutor. I thought about this for awhile. When I was growing up the idea of a tutor was more akin to the tutor in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Oh my! I would have given anything to have had John Brooke as my tutor. Lucky Laurie! However, times have changed, and the romance of a tutor is no more.
Lately, when I notice that there’s some sensitivity about the concept of having a tutor, I explain that we’re engaging in a “coaching” relationship. It’s similar to learning how to play a sport. The child has the potential but needs some pointers to access the potential. Being a coach for a student sets up a much better rapport. The youngster can tell his peers that he has a coach without feeling that there’s something wrong, and we can move on with a positive feeling towards raising the child’s achievement possibilities. It becomes a win-win.
Let me know if you’ve encountered similar reactions!