Friday, September 30, 2011


Tutoring has been one of the most personally frustrating things I've ever done. Especially tutoring where I have been tutoring. There have been so many times where the student just doesn't care (especially with older students). I just want to tell these kids to stop wasting their parent's money and get to work. I want to get mad at them, set them straight. I want to tell their parents that they just aren't trying and they would be better off withdrawing their child.

Imagine that you're teaching an ACT mathematics course and one of the (or several) students don't even bring a calculator. They can afford the tutoring, so you know they have one. They just don't care. They bring the minimum, their book, don't do the homework you assign them and don't ask questions when you know they don't understand. If they just cared, they'd do so much better.

Then there are the little kids, who are so nice and happy, but because they're so happy they're energetic, talkative and can't focus. You ask them to calm down and do their work, but they can't. They're so cute and you don't want to make them sad. You just want to find some way to teach them about when it's appropriate to be talkative and energetic and when it's time to calm down and follow instructions.

Then there are the kids who you can tell have a bad home life. I had this one child who I could tell had an unhappy time at home. He told me as such. His tutoring was paid for by his grandmother. He expressed much anger about his father. From what I could tell of what he told me, it seemed like his grandmother cared more about him than his parents did.

You get children who you just wonder how things would be different if one of their parents just spent a half hour a day working with them on math, or reading, or spelling. You wonder how much better it would be if their parents just spent some time working with them. Sometimes I wonder if some of these kids parents ever read to them. Education isn't just the school's problem. No school can do everything that's needed to ensure that your child grows up intelligent. You have to take some responsibility yourself. You have to put more effort into your child's education than just dropping them off, picking them up, and going to parent/teacher conferences. I don't get how some of these parents can drive over an hour to get there and to get back, spend a great deal of money, and yet can't just save their time and money by helping their own child.

When it comes to the programs, you're hamstrung. I sit there for hours with the kids and I know exactly what we should be doing and what these kids need the most to get better, but I have to follow the lessons that have been laid out for me because that has been what's prescribed. Because that's their proven method. Because that's my job.

I love these kids, even the assholes. I want nothing more for them than to get over their educational problems and succeed as students and eventually as adults and I get so frustrated. I get frustrated because some of them don't care. I get frustrated because I can't do enough to help them. I get frustrated because some of them are so nice and I just want the best for them.

It's exhausting.