I have been in this online tutoring industry now for 7 years and the teaching industry even longer.
In the classroom, the most important thing that I learned was that relationships are one of the most powerful resources you have to make a difference in a kid’s life.
I would take 5 minutes a day before classes to get to know the kids that were giving me the most problems.
I never let on that I was doing this because of their behavior, but instead, because I genuinely cared about them as a person.
My second year of teaching I received the most compassionate teacher in our school award.
As a result, I ended up getting the toughest kids sent to my classroom because they knew I could handle it.
This is one of the reasons why this TED talk really jived with me.
In the TED talk, she mentions the importance of the power of connection.
She mentions how at her mother’s funeral many of her old students were there. Why? Because her mother left a legacy. Not just to teach each of her students, but to develop powerful relationships with them.
An Online Tutor can Develop these Relationships as well
I think that each of us can take this relationship thing to heart with our tutoring students. In fact, I know it makes a difference for many of the students that I teach. I take the time to get to know each of them as individuals.
I have one student that loves to knit. I love to crochet. We often talk about the project we are working on and show each other over the screen.
I am always amazed at how often kids get to choose their tutor. If the child doesn’t like the tutor, then the relationship will not last long. However, when you take the time to build these relationships they can last a long time.
One of my students would always show up to his session with a hot chocolate. I will show up with my coffee. Each morning before we started our session we did a cheers. Then I would say, “ahhhh.” He would also say, “ahhhh.” It was our thing.
I worked with him for 2 and a half years. I told mom after 6 months that he was all caught up, but she didn’t want to end the relationship. When she finally realized that he truly did not need tutoring any more because he was above grade level, she said it was time to end the services.
The child was not ready to let go yet. He cried and cried. Finally, mom said let’s continue until the end of the year and then end the service.
When the child grumbles before and after each session, the parent is less willing to keep the tutoring relationship going.
So it is our job to make sure these kids really connect with us.
After all, you can’t teach to kids who don’t like YOU.
Check out this TED Talk with Rita F. Pierson.