I’m stupid. That’s why I’m here!
If you are a tutor, I’m sure you have heard this comment.
In over twenty years of tutoring, I have never found this comment to be true. While it is true that many parents seek out a tutor when Sally or Johnny is having a problem at school, tutoring is not only for those with a delay or challenge. Not only that, but the students who do have some academic difficulties are quite smart in other ways! Now – let’s not be wearing rose-coloured glasses. Sometimes their behaviour might bring us to that no-no word “stupid.” (By the way, it is a good word at times. Take note, Word Police!) The occasional stupid action or statement (I’ve made many myself.) does not make a stupid person.
Last week, another student made the claim that he is only here at tutoring because he is stupid.
Now, he likes sports and knows quite a lot about them, so I asked him if he would not bother with a coach when he is a professional ________________________.
“No!” he claimed and looked at me as if I were crazy. “Even the best players have coaches.”
“Yes, in fact the very best athletes often seek out several coaches – and the best coaches, depending on their sport,” I pointed out.
In fact, there are plenty of analogies with sport. If the coach gets frustrated with you, do you give up the sport?
If the coach gives you some new approaches and drills to try, do you throw your hands up and quit?
How often do you do the same drill over and over and over and over….? (Have you done the same with your algebra?)
A tutor is an educational coach. He or she can help you reach your academic goals.
I have helped lots of students who are behind, but I have also helped many students who are straight “A” students or those who have mixed results. In fact, most of the techniques that work for a student with issues will work just as well for an excellent student.
Taking good notes, for example, will help the “A” student stay an “A” student and it will help the “D” student improve. (Or the IEP “B” student working three grades below age/grade level begin to catch up.)
Using a reading program rather than “blind reading” will help any student – even a PhD candidate!
Learning to listen more effectively…. Well, you get my point.
While there are strategies that are more specific to a particular problem, the common study skills are just that – common to all.
(Unfortunately, their use is not as common as they should be.)
Let me recap in a different way.
You are not stupid! (Although, let’s be honest – all of us do stupid things from time to time.)
You can make change – perhaps with a little help.
You can work to achieve YOUR very best results.
A tutor can help you get those results.
Calling yourself stupid is either something you’ve picked up from others, a cry for help, or a way of giving up.
Don’t give up! I know that you can reach a lot further than even you can see at the moment. We don’t know our strengths until we try our very best.
- Did someone tell you that you can’t read, so you need someone to read for you?
- Did someone tell you that you can’t write, so you need someone to write for you?
- Did someone tell you that you will never be able to do math without a calculator?
- Did someone tell you that you are stupid?
Well, tell them all to (careful now!) have another look at you once you have taken control of your own education.
Don’t use any of these claims as an “out” so that you don’t have to work hard. Take up the reigns and get moving forward for yourself.
This week’s video: Yes you can!