Earning my students' trust is primary. I carefully observe and note their strengths and weaknesses. I request explanations to gauge understanding and intuit ways to make concepts accessible.
The paths that lead to understanding, clarity and confidence are many and I explore any and all until the student succeeds.
Test preparation requires two things: knowledge of material and concepts and test taking skills related to the specific test. It's like strategizing and preparing for a very serious game. Think of me as the personal trainer who provides both.
I can't sit with my students in class or while they take a test. They need to practice and review on their own. Confidence comes ultimately from achievements acquired independent of my support.
As a kid, I assumed I was bad at math. I did just enough to pass. Staring and nodding at the teacher as if I "got it" when I didn't "get it" worked well until geometry. That was when I started to fail.
Then, my parents hired a tutor for me. She looked me in the eye and asked me questions. My cheeks turned red. You can't fake it while working one-on-one. That tutor held me accountable for my learning. This helped me improve my grades and do well in geometry. Becoming a more confident math student raised my overall self esteem.
I started to love math. I thrived on the challenges of learning new concepts. To this day, I am grateful for my tutor, Barbara, who made learning and loving math possible for me.
A good tutor can make all the difference.