The Mother of Adventure

Evolution of the school tutor

 

Tutor imageAs parents, we sometimes have a tendency to look back at how things were done when we were kids.

I admit that I’ve definitely pulled out the old, “you know, back in my day…” with my girls (who are always quick to remind me that the 80s are long past). And while there are many things worth preserving about my upbringing, other approaches have shifted.

As a parent of two school-aged kids, I’ve realized that the path to academic success has changed – along with the curriculum and teaching methods themselves. The notion of the school tutor – once reserved for those kids needing “remedial help” – has evolved into a resource that can help virtually all of our children maximize their full potential.

Recently, I had the chance to connect with Julie Diamond – the dynamic force behind Teachers to Go, a cross-Canada tutoring service that recently expanded into the Ottawa area. She shared some really interesting insights with me about the evolution of the tutor.

Q – In the past, tutoring services were associated with kids who had learning issues and were far behind their peers. How has that changed? 

A – Even just five years ago – when I founded Teachers to Go in 2011 – there was a huge stigma around tutors; it was looked upon as something that you had to hide. Today, tutoring has become less of a stigma and more of a need – to the point that now tutors are looked upon as almost cool. I think a lot of that has to do with the influx of international students in Canada’s big cities – Toronto, Vancouver and even Ottawa, which has introduced cultures that typically embrace tutoring as an integral part of their education. It’s become increasingly competitive to get into universities, so parents are placing more emphasis on education. We’re also seeing change in the way certain subjects are taught. Math concepts like multiplication, for example, are being taught with discovery learning – the approach is for kids to understand it and be able to explain it instead of just memorizing it.

Q: What was your inspiration to start Teachers to Go?

A: After I became a certified teacher – I graduated from the University of Toronto in 2009 – I was waiting to find a traditional teaching job. I was tutoring for other companies and independently, and I really fell in love with working one-on-one with kids. At the same time, I felt like my abilities weren’t being maximized – like when I was assigned to teach subjects that weren’t my passion. I was working alongside tutors who weren’t certified teachers and didn’t know the curriculum – and I knew there could be a better way, so I founded Teachers to Go in 2011.

Q – What makes Teachers to Go different than other tutoring services?

A – We only staff provincially-certified teachers, so parents know they’re getting professionals in education. But our approach is different, too – it’s more than just knowing the subject and the curriculum. Our teachers are skilled at honing in on a student’s needs, strengths and learning style. We collaborate with the in-school teachers – and can then tailor a program for that student’s unique educational needs. One other bonus is the convenience factor – Teachers to Go comes to you, offering tutoring services in your home.

Q – I know that one of the pillars to your teaching approach is the importance of setting learning goals. How does that contribute to academic success?

A – It’s really critical to have a set focus around the sessions. We use a process of backward mapping, where we take a look at where the student wants to be and then work back to set realistic goals. Having that sense of focus really sets the tone for each session, because the student can see themselves as being able to achieve their goal. It also puts the onus on the child to become an independent learner – they know where they’re going and can take the initiative to look ahead.

Teachers to Go offers full-service tutoring to students in Ottawa and surrounding regions, the GTA and surrounding regions, Calgary, Victoria and the greater Vancouver region. You can reach Julie Diamond at: info@teacherstogoinc.com or by calling toll-free: 1-800-428-8164.

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