Friday, 29 November 2019

Why do some teachers dislike tuition?

Teaching is a profession in which, since time immemorial, the educators have given a lot of themselves to the educated. Teaching is often referred to (wrongly in my opinion) as a vocation, a calling. Leaving aside the view that this exposes many of our teaching professionals to the expectation of overwork and the burden of extra admin, we have to look at how our work here at Chatterton Tuition can best support pupils, and by extension, teachers. 

Tuition is designed to give individual, targeted support, to fill in any gaps left in a student’s understanding. As such, tuition supports the school too. It (ideally) reinforces topics already covered in school rather than introducing new topics. It gives the student time to reflect on their learning at their own pace, without being swept along too quickly and overwhelmed with a deluge of information.  Nevertheless, some teachers see tuition as a bad thing, almost as an indictment of their teaching, that it hasn’t been good enough. In an ideal world, all students will fulfil their potential in every class, in every school. But guess what, our world isn’t ideal.

The sausage-machine view of education is that all pupils get homogenised into one large mass, a grade-achieving academic juggernaut. But what happens if a pupil is more suited to being a rasher of bacon or a lightly fried egg, sunny-side-up? The sausage machine experience will not be pleasant for that child, and countless autobiographies outline the bad school-age experiences of people who turn out to be outrageously successful, creative and happy in their chosen field. 

Fortunately, school league tables (another contentious point) emphasise grades and produce copious stats for parents to deliberate over. If tuition can boost grades, and that makes the school look good, well isn’t that a win-win? Most teachers adopt a reasonable view, that Teacher A cannot get through to all of the students all of the time, and nor can Teachers B, C and all the way to Z. We as tutors want nothing more than just a ‘thank you’ on results day; we let the pupils grab the glory. And if the schools claim some reflected kudos too, well that’s all well and good. We respect the sheer effort that many teachers put in, so if they can get something other than financial rewards for their hard work, assisted by us, well that’s a good thing.

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