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SHAATRA DOES IT

By: Miriam Sasson



Shaatra weighs in on:Morah to the Max – Making the Most of Your Child’s Tutoring Session.

This month’s expert:Mrs. Jaime Chams, MSEd; Director of Always a Step Ahead P3/SETSS
                                     (Public-Private Partnerships (P3) Special Education Teacher
                                     Support Services) Agency.

Aim to master, not to finish. Jaime Chams, the mastermind behind a successful tutoring agency, advises parents to hire a tutor who will teach their child skills rather than just material. Ideally, that would mean working with a tutor on acquiring skills that would empower the child to complete homework independently. Jaime understands that with today’s homework load on kids, and high academic demands of schools, kids and their parents just aren’t up to focusing on skills. Second best? If you do choose to spend a tutoring session doing homework, let it still be skills-based. Let the tutor use the first example to teach, the second to guide, and the rest to be done independently by the child, with the tutor available to explain and re-teach where necessary. That way, explains Jaime, kids won’t grow dependent on their tutors.

My child is bright (he scored very high on an IQ test) but tends to work quickly and carelessly to get the work over with. Is a tutor right for him?

Jaime: Smart kids benefit from tutors too! The tutor can equip your child with the skills he needs to slow down. Your child can learn how to break tasks down into steps, decode instructions better, highlight relevant vocabulary, and more. A tutor can work with a bright child on test-taking skills so his marks will reflect his intelligence. Communicate your child’s needs to his tutor so he or she can hone in on these skills from the start.

Food for Thought

The official name for the one being tutored is “tutee.” That’s similar to the following: the employer is the one who does the hiring and the employee is the one who is hired. Interviewer, interviewee, Payer, payee. Tutee’s first known use was around 1927, whereas the word tutor was first used in the 1300’s.

Forget
About It!

Forget about applying excessive pressure on your child. “Too often,” says Jaime, “kids arrive at their tutoring sessions with Mom’s words of, ‘Don’t come home with unfinished homework’ ringing in their ears. Pressure-cooked kids tend to underperform, as they simply cannot concentrate. Plus, kids with pressure, pressure, pressure are not open to learning anything new as they feel that explanations are, ironically, a deviation from the task at hand, and are pointless. (“Don’t teach me how to do it; just tell me what I should do by Number 7.”)

Shopping List

Jaime recommends keeping this list handy
when the tutor is present:

Grade-appropriate reading material –While the tutor may come with books, you can transform your child’s learning experience by providing books he enjoys. Does your daughter prefer mysteries? Does your son appreciate science fiction? You may be the best one to provide books, as you know your child best, after all.

White board and marker –Although tutors usually come prepared with materials like this for your child, it’s good to have a marker board on hand to liven things up a bit for your child should the tutor only come with a pencil and paper. Even high schoolers love this one!

Prizes, treats, and stickers –Prizes are an incentive for children to make the most of their time with the tutor. Motivated children learn best!

spotlight on:The Right Fit

Is there such thing as a shidduch crisis with tutors? “Absolutely!” says Jaime. Sometimes, no matter how highly recommended the tutor, the tutor-tutee relationship just doesn’t click. If your child resents having a tutor to the extent that progress is hampered, it may be time to switch tutors. Therefore, Jaime recommends three trial sessions after which everyone can determine whether the match is successful.