Written by Yuki Klotz-Burwell
I have always struggled with math. In second grade, I remember feeling defeated after working on subtraction timetables when the rest of my class had moved far ahead to divi- sion. I have felt behind all throughout high school, so in my sophomore year I decided that getting a math tutor would help me understand the concepts better and do well in my classes.
Originally, I was skeptical. I have heard many of my peers speculate that tutoring is a way to get an unfair advantage in hopes of pursuing a higher grade in the class. My experience with tutoring, however, has been nothing like that—it has helped me catch up to where the rest of my classmates are, not get ahead. Although I can see where my classmates’ opinions are coming from, I had never thought about tutoring that way, and still don’t. I was aware that there was a stigma against it and that I may get judged for being tutored. Asking for help is not something to be ashamed of, but I was apprehensive to admit to others that I was falling behind. After months of private tutoring, I came to realize that this method was working for me and I was proud of the progress I made. I thrive in the one-on-one environment in which I am able to focus on what I am struggling with, rather than what the whole class is learning. Overall, I have seen more benefits than negatives in my own experience with the academic guidance I have received.
Tutoring can be seen as a “fast-track” path to boosting one’s chances of getting into elite colleges, but it can also be a way for students to get the help they need to succeed and discover academic passions. I have difficulty preparing for tests and fully grasping the material I have learned. Through tutoring, I have been able to improve my test-taking skills, eliminate careless mistakes and learn how to manage my studying so that the concepts stick with me. Each student’s situation is different, and one-on-one tutoring helps students come up with individualized strategies that cater to their own needs.
Although tutoring has provided me with numerous benefits (including the seemingly endless supply of AJ pencils and T-shirts), the most valuable one has been an increase in my confidence. I no longer feel that I am inferior to my classmates or that something is wrong with me; I feel as though my math classes are more manageable and I can perform better on assessments. When at- tempting problems, I have a mental toolbox of methods I can use. I approach questions differently and more calmly, telling myself that I am able to find the answer rather than freaking out.
However, academic tutoring is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Although it works for me, it may make some students more confused or affect them negatively. Everyone has different goals and achievements, and tutoring has helped me find assurance in my math skills. I know that at the end of the day, I can attribute this success to the guidance I have received in one-on-one tutoring.