How to Encourage Good Study Habits and a Life Long Love of Learning????

I was inspired to write this post after a tutoring session with one of my new clients. She is a high school sophomore, who has really been struggling with Chemistry. Thus far, she has failed the vast majority of her tests. Her father employed me a week ago to help improve her grades. Unfortunately, we were only able to work together twice before her Chemistry midterm. Consequently, she only earned a 65 on her Chemistry midterm and in fact, the same low-grade on her Global midterm. (I was actually unaware that she was struggling so much with Global as well.)

As is often the case, she likes her Global teacher, but does not feel the Chemistry teacher has taught her anything the entire year. I do not believe in putting down other teachers, so I will not do so here. I do know that she had little to no understanding of the topics in Chemistry she should have mastered by now and will definitely need to know for the upcoming Regents Examinations. When asked to show how to write electron configuration, she had absolutely no idea how to proceed. Even basic things like the meaning of atomic number and atomic weight, she was struggling with! In the four hours we worked together before the midterm, I showed her a systematic way to solve electron configuration based on the way I learned. I taught her the meanings of each Quantum Number: N l ML and Ms and showed her how to make a table that would make it a lot easier to write a full-out electron configuration for each element.

She knew how to do it, but as often happens when a student knows the material, but is not 100% comfortable with the methods, she answered the exact questions she got right with me, incorrectly on her midterm! Even during our next session when I asked her the same questions, she was able to answer them correctly. So, what was the problem on the midterm? She did not follow the prescribed steps we had gone over to arrive at the correct answer. Particularly, with the Sciences, it is essential to find a method that works and most importantly, to use it each and every single time!

So onto the main point of this post….needless to say, my student’s father was EXTREMELY unhappy with his daughter’s midterm grades! I was really pleased to hear him tell her that: “in our house, lower than an 85 is failing!” He then proceeded to strip her of her phone, laptop privileges, and all after school extracurricular activities! As expected, she was pretty angry with the situation, but I was ecstatic! It always makes me happy, when parents act like parents, and demand the most of their children. The bottom line is that not all students are A students, but this particular girl is very bright, and she should be an A student! Her parents know this and are pushing for her to realize it as well!

At home is where good study habits and a lifelong passion and love for learning develop. It is our parents who first model for us what it means to be a student. It is essential for parents to constantly be learning themselves, to always have reading material around the home. Also, make sure even at the young age of 1-year-old, a child should be taken to the public library, in my opinion, at least once a week. As a child, I knew every librarian’s first name and they all knew me. Consequently, the Brooklyn Public Library is still one of my most favorite places in the world and I still go there at least once a week!

If you start your children off on the right path, they will develop an insatiable thirst for knowledge, which will always serve them well, in school, college, work, and beyond! In short, it will make them a better human being and we all owe our children that!

What do you think? How else can we inspire our children to become lifelong learners?



How do I know it’s time to hire a tutor!?!?!?

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge”~Albert Einstein

So, how do I know it is time for me to hire a tutor? As soon as you realize the student is struggling and having difficulty grasping the concepts and completing assignments it is time to hire a professional tutor. DO NOT wait until the student is earning failing grades!!! A tutor should be utilized to push a student from a D to a B, a C to a B, and a B to an A+!!! Also, please, please, please keep in mind that a tutor is not Anne Sullivan, ie a miracle worker! I cannot tell you how many times I have received a call for tutoring two weeks or even a week before the SAT, SHSAT, ELA, Regents, Midterms or Finals! If a student is taking a test like the SAT or ACT which can help him or her earn important college scholarships, a tutor should be hired at least six months in advance, end of story. That being said, better late than never! Albeit late, some help is a million times better than no help! Please keep this in mind. A student does not fall behind over night, and it will take some time for them to catch up!

A tutor should have a lot of different kinds of teaching experience. Equally important is that they have a firm grasp of all intricacies inherent to the subject matter.The tutor you hire is someone the student should be 100% comfortable with. A tutor should always be punctual and open to suggestions. Another important point is that they are able to tailor the lesson to each students unique learning style.

Next step, I have hired a tutor, now what? Well, I must have given these speeches a million times and will likely continue to do so in the future: “you get out of life what you put in” and another classic jewel of mine is: “I cannot do everything all by myself, you will have to meet me halfway” and of course, I can not forget “Two hours with me a week is simply not going to cover it, you must be doing problems and work on your own, and have all your questions ready to go before I even get here!” Often I come across students who’s life motto is: “!?” and this applies to school work! They seem to be coasting through their studies, not willing to dedicate the time and work required. While there is definitely something to be said, for not letting life stress you out, that does not mean there are not somethings in life that deserve some stress, sweat, blood and tears. Sometimes those things can be academic in nature!

The last decision is, how long should each session be and how many sessions do I need a week? For any student under the age of seven, I think one hour sessions are best, anymore and the student will be unable to focus. For ages eight and above, I believe a two hour session is best. In two hours, A LOT can be covered and accomplished. In terms of how many sessions to book a week, frankly that really depends on your finances and schedule. Obviously, the more tutoring sessions the student participates in the more prepared they will be.

A final thought, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, NEVER EVER hesitate to bring it to the tutor’s attention immediately! Likely, they are not even aware of your concerns.

Happy Searching!!!

“Education is the transmission of civilization.” ~Will Durant