The simplest icebreaker has been somewhat of a torture question for me over the years. “What do you do for a living” (or some semblance of that question) and you’d elicit the same conversation I’ve had countless times. “I’m a tutor”, which gets the same response: “Oh so you are a teacher”.
I am not a teacher. I taught (High School History and Literature), but I felt nothing comparable to the relationship I now have with my students. Most tutors are very intelligent who were the “good students” in school, an idea that I try to challenge every day I show up to work (but that’s a story for another day). The job description most people would attribute to my craft is “get ___ score on ____ test”.
Can I do that job? Yes. Do I do that job? To the best of my abilities, yes. But that isn’t the job of a tutor.
Teaching is obviously part of the job, but it is such a different perspective. Teachers have lesson plans, goals, meetings, curriculum, and multiple classes to worry about. Simply put, some kids aren’t reached, whether it is for a pre-calc test, history paper, or the ACT. The job of a tutor is to guide our students into the unknown. Whether it is a foreign subject, a foreign test, or simply just the unknown fear that some students face every day in class, our job is to take every student by the hand and be a part of his or her goals. A tutor can view him or herself through the lens of how many more questions right/how many more points gained, but that doesn’t do any justice to what the real goal is. Students who enter our learning environment don’t walk out with a goal score reached. Our students walk in to our lives when they enter this center, and in that exchange is where we really accomplish our goals: protecting those who need it. We are tutors, not because we are great test takers (that makes us the best tutors), but we are tutors because we truly believe in the idea of bettering a student. Lessons, strategies, anecdotes, stories, scores, experiences, and ideas…the job of a tutor is to push you towards the best version of yourself. It can’t be done in a classroom – I learned that the hard way.
The easiest way to explain my job is through text messages over the past hour:
Student #1 “RYAN! I AM FREAKING OUT, I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO NUMBER 12”
Student #2 “Alright. I’m not home right now, but I’ll make whatever time work. I know I can do better on the September Test”
Student #3: *Sent an Andy Sandberg Thumbs up GIF*
Getting the score, passing the test, getting into that college are all goal that every tutor targets, but to help build the best body and mind of each student is the real job of a tutor.
When I think of how to describe my job, I seem to always settle on the term tutor (I still hate the word; I have two degrees and three minors and sometimes find it tough to swallow as a ‘title’) but my real job is to protect your dreams. No guarantees or promises, but simply my best tueri. As most words, the best definition or root for the word “Tutors” comes from Latin: Tueri. There are so many different reasons to select a job: location, money, power, ease. Tutoring is an open ended job that one list can’t define, my job is to protect the dreams and goals of those who walk in here, so daily tasks range from teaching all and any subjects (that I can learn/teach myself) to philosophical debates on our judicial system (because one student may have gotten a speeding ticket and wanted to debate the merits and issues with our system), but always an ear to listen and guide any student that calls our name.
So this blog isn’t about the tests, the strategies, or the sophisticated nuances (that’ll come). It is about getting one idea straight. You can hire anyone to tutor you, there are thousands of resumes and ads waiting for you one website away. But realize what a real tutor is, and realize what type of person you want to bring into your lives, because, make no mistake, to tueri is the highest form of teaching there is. Feel free to call, interview, and request anyone who you think will ‘fit the bill’…then call us.