Math Teachers & Math Tutors – Choose Carefully

This is Day 16 of 31 Days of Math Learning Success. Follow all the days here and check out others that are writing for 31 days here.
Sharing your learning is scary and delicate. Make sure you get the teacher and tutor that fits you. Not just the convenient ones.
“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”
~Erma Bombeck

Two of the most important things in life I learned were how to ride a motorcycle and how to shoot a gun. I learned both of these after I met my husband.

He’s very good at both. But he didn’t teach me either of them.

He said, “I probably could teach you but I’m not the best teacher in the world. Maybe you should go take a class.”

So I did.

Choose your teacher carefully.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your math teachers:

  • Is he patient?
  • Is she kind?
  • Do you feel safe messing up (or does she laugh or snicker when you do)?
  • Do you feel safe discussing things openly in class?
  • Does he protect the safe learning environment in class?
  • Does she give alternative ways to think about things if you don’t understand the first way?
  • Is he flexible?
  • Does her teaching style match your learning style?

You can end up with a not so great teacher. But make sure you don’t get a horrible teacher. If you discover you’re in a class with a horrible teacher, get out.

Don’t bad mouth her either. She might be a really good teacher for another learner. She just didn’t work well for you.

Choose your tutor even more carefully.

Getting help outside the classroom is a different story. You can be extremely selective.

Yes, it may cost a little bit, or a lot, but you have thousands and thousands of choices.

And even more online options.

And chances are, there’s a possible tutor right in your own home. And it looks like that tutor is free.

Buyer Beware!

If you “hire” this tutor in your house, you might pay a much higher price.

Family members aren’t good math tutors just because they’re blood and they’re “good at math.”

Ask yourself the same questions about tutors as you did with teachers, above.

If you find yourself in tears after a session with them, stop. You’ll be damaging your relationship with them. And you’ll be damaging your confidence in math.

Your Turn…

What’s your experience with teachers and tutors? If you’re a teacher, how well do you do with the above questions?

Share your thoughts in the comments. And if you’re enjoying the 31 Days of Math Learning Success share it on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!


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