Now this is an unusual story, and we would love to share it with you: Michèle, previously a student who benefited from our tutoring services, is now a tutor with us! We are happy to introduce her to you through this interview we recently had with her!
What was your situation at school before beginning tutoring sessions?
In general, aside from physical education, I always got good grades at school. However, once I reached secondary 4, math got a lot harder. Also, I had to keep an average of 76% or higher in math in order to stay in my high school’s science program the following year. I lacked structure in my study techniques, and the idea of failing, or not reaching my objectives made me anxious.
Were you apprehensive about your first meeting with your tutor, and what would you recommend to a student beginning their sessions?
I wasn’t apprehensive at all, but I had a lot of expectations. I needed help finding study strategies in math and I depended a lot on my tutor to help me find them. I was ready to put a lot of effort into reaching my objectives, and I hoped that my tutor would be at the height of my expectations. I was not disappointed! I believe that a tutor has a role in the success of their student, but that, without continuous effort on the part of the latter, it is much harder to reach the desired goal. I ask students not to be afraid to admit that they need help and accept the help that is offered to them with all the effort that is required.
Did tutoring influence your results, your self-esteem or your study methods?
Thanks to the help my tutor gave me, I felt safer during my exams and my grades shot up like an arrow. I even got a 95% in my ministry of education exam, and, on the transcript, it said that only 4% of students in secondary 5 in Quebec got a better grade than me! Did I ever feel proud! Also, I had a final overall average above 76% in math and I was able to get into my school’s science program the following year. My tutor helped me a lot, if only for the positive encouragement he gave me, or the simplistic and clear approach he used compared to the one my teacher used with the group. He made me practice a lot and thanks to that, exams no longer scared me.
In your opinion, as a student, what is a good tutor?
If I base myself on the experience I had as a student, a good tutor is someone who is creative and can adapt his or her teaching strategies to the needs and abilities of each student. It’s someone who believes in his or her student’s success and takes an active role in it.
What motivated you to become a tutor?
Since I’m studying to become a special education counselor, I told myself that tutoring would be the best way to become familiar with the role of helper as a teacher or special needs counselor. Also, it is interesting to get to know the parents’ point of view about the services provided by the school, and to be able to observe and identify where the student may be falling behind and help make up what’s lacking.
Is there a particular reason that motivated you to collaborate with School Success, and in your opinion, what are the advantages of using School Success instead of providing the services yourself?
As I am now studying to become a teacher, I told myself that collaborating with School Success could allow me to gain relevant experience with respect to my future profession. Also, the schedule is rather flexible and it was a lot simpler, for the moment, to manage my own schedule rather than find a part-time job. The experience I had with School Success made a big different for me, and it is what I wish to provide my students with while working with them. Working with School Success is a lot simpler for me than offering the services myself. For example, I don’t have to advertise, they regularly offer me students that live near me and that have similar availabilities as I do, etc.
As a tutor, what is a good student?
A good student, for me, is someone who wishes to succeed and who’s ready to apply all the efforts necessary to reach the objectives from the beginning, with their tutor.
What would be the best advice to give a tutor to help them establish good contact with the student and their family?
I think that the best way to establish a good relationship with a student’s family is to plan a meeting where everybody shares their expectations, before taking the student under your wing. Also, it is important to respect certain courtesies (ex: arriving on time, taking the time to say hello when arriving, etc.) and provide them with concrete results about their child’s progress. As for the relationship with the student, I think it’s important to take into account each student’s ability to learn at every session and be able to adapt accordingly. You have to display an interest in him or her and not forget to highlight their achievements. You mustn’t hesitate to take the time for discussion and to teach them things that do not necessarily relate to the subject matter you are learning. This makes the meetings lighter and the student is more likely to do the task at hand.
Can you share with us the strongest point of your experience as a tutor?
Though I do not consider that I have gained a lot of experience as a tutor, I have already had some memorable experiences. First of all, I loved being part of the Pour 3 point project, because it matches my values. Working as a tutor allows us to meet a lot of great people that enrich our work at every session. I think there is nothing more rewarding than to see the positive impact of our work, and to see our students’ progress and reach the desired objectives.