The Whys and Hows of Quality Tutoring During the Pandemic

The Whys and Hows of Quality Tutoring During the Pandemic

Tutoring during the pandemic seems to be a contradiction in terms these days, and for good reason; students who are learning on the hybrid model are struggling, and the need for tutoring has increased; yet tutoring services for distance learners seems more out of reach than ever.  As teachers try as best as they can to make online education feel ‘connected’ and ‘just like regular learning,’ the counseling and tutoring piece seems to have fallen aside.  Counselors, who may be one of the connections to tutoring services for students, may be working harder than ever--but the practicalities of the pandemic has put so much more on their plates and the tutoring for students may become lower on their priority list.  Counselors’ jobs are so difficult to recreate in the digital space, and so much less has been written and researched about the most successful ways to do so.  Yet, here we are, in so much need of their services.


As an example, I had this recent experience with a 15 year old student.  He is a good kid.  Decent grades, runs track, enjoys a good laugh with a nice group of friends.  But when his high school started this school year on a modified hybrid schedule, and Covid cases soared, he struggled to keep his grades up.  Eventually his high school went altogether remote.  Shortly after the scheduled change, he received a D on a very important math test, the very same one he reported he felt was ‘really simple.’ As his mentor we had an online session, and I told him, You have to get extra help from the teacher.  You simply can’t go on not knowing what it is you don’t understand.  Then he looked at me with a furrowed brow and said, “Mrs.K., how do we get extra help when we don’t even see each other in real life?” What I heard was... there is no way to get tutoring/help/extra attention/what I need right now because of the pandemic.  As an educator, and a certified distance teacher, his answer was both understandable and  unacceptable.


Yes, there is a pandemic, and it has turned our routines upside down.  We do almost everything differently, or at least, in some altered way.  I shop for groceries in a mask, I drive my younger kids to school to avoid the bus.  We are trying our best to adapt, to carry on, to work, earn an income, stay sane, stay happy, and keep from being bored.  We miss our old lives and old hobbies, we miss our extended families and friends.  However, school goes on.  These kids need access to teachers--and people who can tutor them--beyond normal class hours.  Teachers, generally untrained in the tenets of quality online teaching, and working to stay afloat teaching their normal class load.  So how does finding and engaging a tutor work in this new world, where teachers are busy navigating the post-pandemic world? 


First, let's consider the importance of enlisting the help of a tutor. There are many benefits of tutoring if a student is struggling in even one area of school, and it is likely that struggle will continue until the knot of misunderstanding is untied.  A tutor can take the time to sit with that single issue and work it out with your student, enabling him or her to move forward in that subject.  Sometimes, the simple act of another person sitting and giving undivided, patient attention will take your student halfway to the understanding he or she needs to progress.  Being in a class surrounded by nodding heads and the feeling that everyone understands ‘but me’ can be terribly crippling, and the presence of having a tutor in your corner can help with success.


Then, a tutor can also support the student with reinforcing examples of the problem set that stumped the student in the first place.  For example, if a young elementary student is having trouble learning the difference between proper and common nouns, that tutor can teach the difference as well as furnish a variety of activities that reinforce the learning.  If older high school students have trouble finding X in an equation, a tutor can teach the student how to use a formula to do it; then that tutor can create as many new problems as the student needs to understand the concept fully.  All of this is accomplished in a 1:1 setting or very small group setting.  Tutoring can build confidence in a student in every area of school, improve study habits, and will have success in other classes as well.  Studies show students engaged in tutoring achieve higher GPAs than those who do not.  Tutoring helps to raise self esteem in students of all ages.


Parents may feel that finding the best tutor for their student is a challenge; but finding a tutor doesn’t need to be difficult.  Keep in mind that none of the above benefits can occur unless you can find a tutor when you need one.  The Cordoba Institute offers a wide array of tutoring services: private, 1:1 tutoring is available in subjects like English or business, or the sciences or math.   They have the help your student needs.  Additionally, The Cordoba Institute has tutoring in test prep for the SAT I and II, TOEFL, and IELTS.  These important exams can open doors for your student into college and beyond.  Student testimonials cite their tutor’s “strong individual care” and “flexible... and customizable class” as some of the many reasons they benefited from the tutors at Cordoba Institute.


Finally, tutoring provides more for a student during the pandemic than academic support.  While the scholastic advantages listed are definitely beneficial, students need human connection as much as, in some cases more than, class work support.  While tutoring is not a substitute in any way for counseling services, it is another process by which  students of any age can have a conversation, either in person with Covid modifications or online, with another person; and this is a large missing piece in most students’ lives.  


Any of these tutoring ideas will help your student learn topics and subjects, or dive deeper into problem areas that need more time than their subject teacher is spending on them.  The confidence that ensues from success in tutoring will raise confidence in other classes as will, and raise a students’ overall self esteem.  Engaging a tutor for your student also gives him or her another human relationship, a mentorship, with the contact they are sorely missing during the pandemic.  


Whether it is English, widely considered the universal business language, math or the sciences, or test prep, the Cordoba Institute has a wide range of tutoring services available for you.  The Cordoba Institute is ready to match your student with the best possible tutor he or she needs to reach the goals they desire, whether math, science, or test prep such as SAT, TOEFL, or IELTS.  The results will amaze you.

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