Nearly every student struggles in school at some point during his academic career. And, for most of us, math and science pose the greatest challenges. If your child is falling behind in science, then tutoring may be the best way to reverse the trend and set him up for long-term success. According to Steve Magat of Tutor Doctor, an innovative science tutoring service in Richmond, the best science tutor for your child is the one who can provide him with an individualized learning plan designed to capitalize on his strengths while focusing on identifying and addressing issues that are keeping him from academic success. Here, Magat says, are several things to consider when choosing a science tutor for your child.
The Right Experience
One of the most important things to look for in a science tutor, Magat says, is experience teaching science. Science is a complex field, he says, and students struggle for a number of reasons. “There’s a lot involved,” he explains. “In the younger grades, sometimes it’s just a matter of reading skills – you have to be able to read and clearly understand complex instructions. As students get a little bit older, science actually becomes a function of math.” If math skills are lacking, Magat says, then performance in science classes will inevitably suffer. Some of Tutor Doctor’s best science tutors, Magat continues, have found that very often, when students are struggling with science, they’re also struggling in their math classes, algebra in particular. This is where a one-on-one tutoring program can be extremely beneficial. By identifying and addressing individual barriers to learning, a tutor is better able to suggest changes that may make a student more successful in the areas of both science and math. These changes can actually alter the way that the student relates to these challenging subjects for the remainder of his academic career. All of Tutor Doctor’s tutors, Magat says, are adults with education backgrounds. Many have teachers’ certifications; some are current teachers and others, due to scheduling or child care considerations, have teaching credentials but aren’t currently teaching. He hires some graduate students, he says, and recent college grads who, although they’ve trained for teaching careers, haven’t yet found full-time jobs in school systems. “What these individuals have in common,” says Magat, “is that they’re all very enthusiastic, they know their subject matter, they’re good at relating to students and parents, and they’re fantastic tutors.” Students are matched with tutors, he says, based on personality, learning styles, subject matter and family preferences.
The Right Environment
When choosing a science tutor, Magat says, you’ll also want to consider the environment in which your child will learn best. The Tutor Doctor approach is based on the idea that kids do their optimal learning in a safe, comfortable, distraction-free environment. For this reason, tutoring a child in the comfort of his own home can yield excellent results. “Kids learn best when they’re comfortable,” says Magat, “so we believe that private, in-home tutoring is the best way to get kids focused on complex subject matter like math or science. And we’ve seen great improvements in our students using this approach.”