Getting A Tutor (Or Not)

When I was in school, only those with failing marks had tutors. My siblings and I grew up studying by ourselves. Our mom was there to supervise our studying, to answer our questions if we had any, but we learned to study on our own. Nowadays, though, it seems like every other kid has one. Having a tutor now is not only for those with low grades. Even those who do well in class have tutors too. They claim that tutoring gives the extra push needed to do better, to get higher scores, to excel.

My son entered a different school for High School. Standards are higher, lessons are harder. The teachers warned them early on that in this school, you really need to study. Most of you, they said, were able to get honors in your previous school with minimal effort. But now, you need to work harder in order to excel.

When the first set of test results were returned, some members of his class got failing grades. Others got passing marks, but still below what they were used to getting in Grade School.  The parents panicked – let’s get a tutor for our kids, somebody suggested.  These are smart kids; they just need some tutoring now that they are in the adjustment period.

My husband and I had a discussion. Our son was doing okay, in some subjects better than in others, but generally okay. But he got a failing mark in a quiz. Only 3 in their class passed that quiz, but that doesn’t really matter. He failed a quiz. Do we go with the other parents and hire a tutor?

What can tutoring give him that he cannot do for himself? After all, the tutor will not be doing the studying – he has to do that himself. And if we do this now, getting him a tutor because he has a hard time, when does it end? College is difficult – do we get him a tutor then? Work is hard – do we get help for him then?

We decided not to get him a tutor. We believe that he has the skills and the capabilities to handle the lessons that are taught in school. We believe he should learn to cope on his own. If the effort he placed was not enough, then he should realize that he just has to work harder.  Maybe now, he will come to realize that it takes effort to get things that are worth having.

As for us, his parents, we will provide him with everything we can to make this work. We will support him in every way we can. We will do this WITH him, not FOR him. We will keep his spirits up when he gets discouraged.  We will encourage him to strive harder, to go farther, when he feels like giving up. We will celebrate every triumph, however small they may seem.  Whatever happens, he has the satisfaction of knowing he did it himself.


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