What have I learnt from being a SATS tutor?
If I could sum up working, teaching and professionally interacting with young children in one word, it would be nothing other than rewarding. Being able to help them reach their potential and pass their tests, as well as have a bit of banter every now and then. It’s great! Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when it can be difficult too. Certain children can really test your patience, especially when they are lazy with work and slack in attention. It’s amazing, however, when you realise that even those kids have something to offer and with the right amount of attention and appreciation, they will slowly but surely reveal their talents.
Students that struggle but work hard
Occasionally, you can see when a pupil is really struggling and it gets emotionally difficult when you can see how hard they are working. They’re trying – trying – trying, but somehow, they have nothing to show for it. It’s very important, both for me as well as other parents and school teachers to understand that grades really don’t define a child’s intellect. Whilst their report cards and test scores may be lower than expected, it’s vital that children receive the utmost support and care so they don’t feel their efforts are being under-appreciated. They should receive consistent words of encouragement even when they don’t get the best scores and be pushed even harder to reach their potential.
Children like sponges
Academically, you could describe children like sponges. Literally! They absorb the information given by their teachers and elders so easily, which is what makes them extremely vulnerable. Whatever we as adults feed them, we have to ensure it’s useful and beneficial for them. When it comes to explaining certain work concepts, as tutors, we must consider the way children are being taught at school and the way they are being taught outside. Opposing explanations can get children confused and when this does become the case, I make sure I give my pupils a choice on which methods suit them. After all, my job includes helping my pupils understand in a way that suits them. And whilst many methods may be correct, they are most likely to excel using ways they themselves, find the simplest.
When it comes to talking outside of maths and English, there’s plenty of laughter and jokes. That’s one of the greatest things about children, they can be extremely funny. They just… say things how it is. But at times, tears often arise when it comes to more personal talk. It’s hard sometimes to know what to do when this happens but as time has gone by, I have learnt how to respond. I make sure I give my pupils space before asking them if everything is okay. If it so happens that the environment needs to be changed to something a little quieter, I take them outside to comfort them. Again, if they’re not emotionally stable at first, it’ll be harder for them to engage in work. Whilst some may say home life shouldn’t interact with work life, I disagree. If my pupils don’t look too good, I make sure this is tackled first before making them do work. It’s simple. Happier students mean better standards of work.
Disliking a subject
I must say, as disappointing as it, the sad truth is that not everyone will like your subject. I myself am an English teacher but many times have I heard ‘Miss I hate English’ and ‘Maths is so much better’. I’ll be honest, it does hit a little on the heart. Whilst I cannot force them to like what I teach, I ensure that I make my teaching as fun and enjoyable as I can. As long as I can be assured that my pupil ‘gets it’, I feel content as a result of being part of their learning. I can’t say that it’s easy to explain concepts because sometimes, it takes 3,4,5 lessons for something to finally be understood. Within this time, there are many – many – mistakes they will make. But it’s important to keep in mind that kids will make mistakes and they should know that it’s nothing but normal. As a life lesson, I take it as my duty to assure them making mistakes are normal and the way to be better, is to learn from them!