If you’ve been looking for a private tutoring service for your child, you know how difficult it can be to find the right one that will motivate your child properly and help them achieve the success they need. At Uber Tutors, we’ve developed a novel approach to Private Tutoring which not only helps your child perform better at their exams, but also develops their confidence which will serve them well throughout their life.
At Uber Tutors, we believe that mentoring should go hand in hand with tutoring.
Private Tutoring as Mentoring
Imagine a world in which you are not allowed to learn from other people or where you are never allowed to ask for help.
If you can imagine this world, you are probably thinking that this really wouldn’t be a great place. Or if you can’t imagine this, we don’t blame you. The notion of never asking for help is quite absurd and we certainly don’t live in that kind of world. Instead, we live in a world of interaction and interdependency where people teach and mentor one another. Indeed, even though we don’t pay too much attention to this, we all learn and grow because of each other.
What does this have to do with getting a tutor?
You’re probably thinking: “Great. So what does this have to do with getting a Maths or Law tutor?” At Über Tutors we believe that each tutor should also mentor students to live up to their full potential. We apply this at all levels, whether we are tutoring primary school or university students or any student in between.
Having a tutor who is a mentor means that you are not only able to learn from a subject expert but also have someone to instill the confidence you need to excel. Indeed, this is one of the most important things about having a tutor who can mentor: they are there just for you. No one else, just you.
Mentors have your back and believe in your progress. They give you an opportunity to ask all the questions you’re afraid to ask your teachers and peers. They help you organise your deadlines, relieve pressure and provide a clear learning structure. This is adapted for each unique students to match their individual needs and goals. In sum, they help you be the best they can be.
On the importance of inspiring teachers
After 16 years in primary, secondary and higher education, our tutor Jenny reflects on inspiring teachers and how they profoundly impacted her.
Inspiring teachers at university
University in particular can come with various struggles, many of which are not openly spoken about. Young people expected to instantly find lifetime friends and be the life of every party. Simultaneously, we are under pressure to perform well academically – even though we were given very few tools to navigate the transition from college to university life. As universities become increasingly marketised, tutors and lecturers find themselves with decreasing time to actually engage with the students they teach. I ensured that I quickly identified the few teachers who take out extra time to engage with us students. That’s why I have been thoroughly inspired by many of my lecturers and tutors alike. Throughout my undergraduate degree they not only served as an inspiration to educate myself, persevere through difficult readings and constantly revise essays, but also as role models for my career.
Impacting career choices
Inspiring teachers impact career choices. Therefore, I am seriously contemplating staying in academia after being encouraged and reassured by those teachers who took the time to meet after class, give extra comments and offer their mentorship. When revisiting my first degree, I think of my first tutor who relentlessly explained legal concepts until all students understood. I remember the lecturer who met each of her students individually to identify how best to support us all and the reassuring voice of another who encouraged me that academia and I could, indeed, be a good fit.
How our tutors motivate students
As educators, we all want to inspire our students. That’s why our tutors use these 5 top tips to make sure they get every lesson off to a flying start and keep it that way throughout. This is über important to us as our unique combination of teaching and mentorship aims to engage and inspire our students each day, and helps them gain top grades and confidence. So, read on to find out how we motivate our students and keep them engaged in every session!
1. We make the first five minutes count
When you watch television, it’s often the first few minutes that decide whether you keep watching or just flick to the next channel. Similarly, we make the first 5 minutes of our tutoring sessions count, so our students tune in from the very start. We might use compelling questions, a short TED talk or a current news item to link the topic to students’ everyday lives and keep them engaged.
2. We meditate
Another way to get sessions off to a flying start is our unique integration of meditation into teaching. Meditation is a brilliant tool to help students arrive mentally in the tutoring session and hone their focus.
3. We play games
At the beginning of our sessions and/or before we switch from one subject to another, we often integrate games that are both fun and educational. This tool helps students switch from one theme to another, breaks up the session and provides alternative means to revise and reinforce a topic!
4. We create a sense of purpose
Students often find it difficult to connect with subjects or topics that feel separate from or useless to their everyday lives. Therefore, creating a sense of purpose and explaining why a subject or topic is important can help students relate and encourages them to put more effort into their learning. Creating a sense of purpose for each session or topic can be as simple as an opening sentence at the start of the lesson.
5. We don’t forget the cool down
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the end of a session and just let the student work, work, work until the very end. However, the best thing to do is wrap the session up in a way that benefits the student — just like you end every essay with a conclusion (or so we hope). Great cool down ideas include asking the student what they’ve learned today, writing an imaginary letter or email to their parent or friend to explain what they’ve learned or taking some time to catch up about their lives and what’s important to them.
Meditation in tutoring – Calming minds from a young age
We recently introduced meditation in some of our tutoring sessions to calm minds and begin to beat stress from a young age. For the very young, this includes age-appropriate meditations where they visualise spaces like a tree house where they can lay down their worries and return to whenever they choose. For older students, this ranges from signposting different resources to starting each session with a breathing exercise. They all look forward to these meditations and see it as a welcome break from everyday stress.
There are many reports on children as young as six stressed out by school and the accompanying pressure. Emotional distress and pressure are big barriers to academic progress as identified by a head teacher in Norfolk in this BBC article. “Fragmented home-lives, family break-ups and social media” as well as the rising stakes on testing and exams often exacerbate these issues. In sum, students experience a lot of stress in their everyday lives from a very young age. Meditation can really help as school experts and our tutors report.
In our daily tutoring we see children as young as 5 who are anxious about upcoming exams and are paralysed in exam situations. They are simply unable to face so much pressure at a young age. In response, we have found that using meditation in our tutoring helps build resilience in our students, calms their minds and imparts a sense of peace. It is indeed a fantastic way to begin to beat stress.
What is the evidence?
As explained in this Guardian article, the crux of most forms of meditation is mindfulness. Mindfulness aims to make you aware of the present, and notice and accept your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Additionally, it helps our students be aware of their daily experiences at school and home, and how these affect their minds. We couple this with compassion, so that students learn to be kinder to themselves as well. We also teach them that mistakes provide an opportunity for learning, and that there is no need to beat yourself down.
Whilst meditation is often associated with Buddhism, there are numerous scientific studies that demonstrate the benefits of regular meditation. This study, for example, found that meditation can boost resilience. Another found that it can improve your attention span and focus. Furthermore, other studies suggest that having an increased awareness of your state of mind can improve coping strategies for stress and pressure, and reduce misbehaviour and aggression. In fact, many schools now have a designated ‘quiet time’ period when students have the opportunity to meditate and reflect as they recognise the many benefits of meditation.
One school example
Take this school in Baltimore for example. Instead of sending students to detention, Robert W. Coleman Elementary School has set up a meditation room. This brightly lit space with floor pillows, yoga mats and the scent of essential oils provides an “oasis of calm” where students stretch, do yoga and practice deep breathing. Meditation has done wonders for this school’s learning environment and students’ productivity. Students enter the room rowdy and leave peaceful and quiet, ready and focussed to do their work. In fact, Principal Thompson rarely sees children for disciplinary issues more. We are inspired by such success and hope to bring a little of this calming oasis into our teaching everyday.
Putting relationships first in teaching
Rita Pierson inspired our unique teaching approach to put relationships with our students first. Rita Pierson was a US educator who worked as a counsellor, testing coordinator and assistant principal. She also conducted professional development workshops and seminars for thousands of educators. She passed away on 28th June 2013 at the age of 61 but her TED Talk from May 2013, ‘Every Kid Needs a Champion’ is one of the most inspiring and most viewed TED Talks ever. It has inspired our teaching approach and if you haven’t seen it yet, trust us when we say you must:
ted.com: Rita F Pierson
Towards the end of her Talk, Rita famously says:
“How powerful would our world be if we had kids who were not afraid to take risks, who were not afraid to think, and who had a champion? Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can be.”
Rita gets to the core of how we achieve the best education and learning. She identifies that at the centre of all good education and learning is human connection through relationships. Education is not just about a teacher teaching a class, and a student diligently taking notes. Instead, it is about establishing a relationship between teacher and student.
Our unique teaching approach
At Über Tutors, we know and apply this everyday. We hold to Rita’s philosophy that human connection and relationships are the most and fundamental part of education. Only through understanding someone and learning about them as a person in a holistic sense, can you begin to understand how they best learn, and determine what they really need to make them be the best that they can be.
This is why we strive to place all new students with their perfect match – a tutor who is truly compatible with them as a person. It is for this same reason that our tutors are trained to put their students first and understand them before all else. They facilitate learning, growth and expand students’ horizons, believing in their student always. In sum, our tutors go above and beyond to ensure that their students live up to their full potential.
Going beyond the ‘single story’ to create education paradise
At Über Tutors, our team of tutors, consultants and managers are all passionate about education. Part of that education is our social education, which is the education that makes us become well-rounded human beings who think beyond ourselves and see the bigger picture of humanity. That’s why, as educators, we think this TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an important watch in today’s times:
The danger of the ‘single story’
In her TED talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie starts off with a reflection on her childhood. Her childhood was a time when she first read British and American books as a Nigerian child. As an early writer, she wrote exactly the kinds of stories she was reading. As a result, she filled them with little “white and blue-eyed children who played in the snow and ate apples.” They were, in essence, children who were nothing like herself, a girl who had never left Nigeria, didn’t know snow and ate mangos rather than apples. Adichie had, in her own words, been impressionable to a ‘single story’, convinced that “girls with the skin the colour of chocolate” had no place in literature.
The danger of the single story is that it creates stereotypes whose problem “is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.” Adichie’s words are particularly pertinent in a world where we are constantly fed single stories – migrants portrayed as “health tourists,” women devalued for their gender and people still judged by their colour of skin. Because when that single story is constantly repeated, we internalise it as a society. We, therefore, become convinced that all migrants fleece benefits, that girls and boys have different strengths, and people of colour are all lazy. In the words of Adichie, these single stories rob people of their dignity and emphasise “how we are different rather than how we are similar.” In short, it makes the “recognition of our equal humanity difficult.”
The ‘single story’ and education
Adichie’s words are particularly important with regards to how we educate and create an education paradise. We live in a society that entrenches some children’s stories as the norm whilst others are left unrepresented. This reinforces existing power relations and erases or distorts some stories when, in fact, we need to recognise that “many stories matter.” The recognition of this multitude of stories is the first step to grappling with the diversity we face in our societies today: We must acknowledge the wealth of cultures and tradition, and rich histories that we all bring to the table. It is only when we return power and voice to everyone on an equal footing that we can overcome the dangers of the single story.
For Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, it was only when she stumbled across the stories of African writers that she recognised herself in them. Only then did she realise that little brown girls did have a place in literature and, indeed, in this world, and we must create these ‘aha moments’ for children everywhere. As a result of her ‘aha moment’, Adichie is now a renowned writer who allows us to imagine a world in which everyone feels valued and represented. So, let’s work together to envision an alternative future and create education paradise.
Finally, one of our tutors talks about a couple of lessons that she’s learned from private mentoring and tutoring.
3 lessons we’ve learned from Private Tutoring and Mentoring
At Über Tutors, we have tutored and mentored children from the age of 7 to university students aged 20+. Working with a range of students has taught us important lessons, which allow us to ensure that students get the most out of their private tutoring. So, read on to find out more and scroll to the end to book your own bespoke tutor.
1. Every student needs an individual approach
This lesson doesn’t only apply to students of different ages. In fact, even students of the same age have different personalities, strengths and weaknesses that require a tailored approach. So, before each private tutoring session, I plan and adapt my lessons to suit individual student needs. At Über Tutors, we are trained to invest in our students by putting our relationships with them first. This means that we nurture their academic achievement as well as their emotional wellbeing and, as a result, our students get top grades and learn skills that extend beyond the classroom.
2. Practice, practice, practice
Unsurprisingly, practice makes perfect and, even though this may sound cliché, it is very true indeed. This means that students and parents need to ensure that the tutors’ instructions and homework are followed through. As professional tutors we do our very best but without practice, students will never reach their full potential. Whether this means revising with parents or alone, practice is the only way to ensure that the material sticks. When it comes to exam tutoring, for example, students should not study for an exam without writing full answers in exam conditions. This helps them get used to time constraints and question wording as reiterated in this recent Guardian article.
3. A supportive and organised company is key
The last lesson is for the tutors themselves. I am lucky to work with Über Tutors because of their über organised approach to private tutoring. During the initial free consultation, Über Tutors get to know each student individually before recommending a programme based on the student’s unique needs and challenges. The student is then matched with a hand-selected tutor on the team, which helps them learn better.
Once teaching begins, tutors receive organised instructions and training, so that we are well aware of the student’s needs, objectives and recommended programme. As a professional tutor who has worked with many tutoring ‘agencies’, I know that Über Tutors is the only service provider that offers this bespoke service, which puts students and tutors in good hands. Additionally, tutors always write detailed feedback reports after each session, so that client and company are updated about progress. This way, students (and parents) are able to check set homework and the company is aware of students’ progress.
Get in touch for bespoke tutoring
At Über Tutors, we offer private tutoring and mentoring for students of all ages from primary school to PhD. To find out how our private tutoring can help you, just contact us now at 02030867311 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book your free consultation. We’ll then organise a bespoke tutoring programme and match you with the best suited tutor for increased confidence and skills. We’d be delighted to help you!