The Tutor-Student Bond

Any teacher will form a bond with their students, even if the classroom is filled with fifty pupils. But tutoring with just one student? That's a whole difference experience. Many people think teaching a class and tutoring are similar, but the two actually require different skill sets and yield very different results. Commanding a classroom's attention is unlike keeping the attention of one person you are sitting across the table from. In some ways, tutoring is more difficult, as it is just two people mulling over the SAT or ACT as opposed to an entire classroom, with multiple students mentioning strategies and the teacher leading discussion.

However, tutoring can also be more rewarding. As both a teacher and a tutor, I find the students I remember the most are the ones I worked with one-on-one. It is impossible to spend hours with one persona and not become invested in his/her academic performance. If I'm teaching a student the SAT, knowledge from the student's classes comes into play and I therefore get to hear how those classes go and how the student is performing in them. While my primary goal is making sure the student scores highly on the SAT, I also feel thrilled when I hear they nailed a great grade on the regents or they successfully finished a project for Tutoring-ThumbEnglish class that was a lot more challenging than they thought it'd be. I love when a student proudly tells me how he or she did on a test we studied for, but I feel similar happiness when the student shares grades that did not come from our tutoring; it means the student feels our bond is important and that all accomplishments should be shared.

Even outside of academics I feel proud when my students do well. I've worked with students who've been successful at track, soccer, lacrosse, football, and baseball. When I know they've had a big game I make sure to ask them how it went before we get down to work. If I hear they did well then I congratulate them; if they lost then I tell they'll have another chance at the next game and not to despair.

Working as a tutor has brought me a greater understanding of what teenagers go through. Taking the SAT or ACT can be taxing, but I did not have a full appreciation for just how much stress teenagers are under until I began working with them one-on-one. From regents to sports to clubs to homework to AP classes, my students seem to always be doing something stressful, something that demands large chunks of time. Often, their lives seem much more hectic than my own. If I hadn't learned about my students' packed schedules and the stresses on them, I probably would not have as much patience and understanding with them as I do today.

When I think of the bond between students and tutors, I think back to one of my earliest clients, a client that stayed with me for almost a year. We worked on the SAT, the ACT, and his college application essay. As we neared the end of our time together he said to me,"Y'know, I'm going to miss talking to you a lot when you're gone." I told him I felt the same way.

I don't think it's a coincidence he ended up being one of the most successful of my students.