This is post #4 in the series: How to choose the right tutor
In our last post we talked about questions to ask and things to consider in order to choose the best tutor for your needs. Today’s post takes a look at some particular considerations when choosing a tutor for a gifted student:
- Are you hiring a tutor to challenge your child because they really are gifted, and consequently are bored in class; or perhaps because you believe they are not living up to their potential and you want them to move to the head of the class? Are you being realistic about your child’s abilities, or are you placing your personal expectations and wishes first? Or are you perhaps under social pressures for your child to excel? It is important always to be honest about your motivations for hiring a tutor.
- If your child truly is gifted, will a tutor be your best choice? If the tutor can move your child forward beyond the level of his or her grade level, what then? You need to look forward. Many schools do not believe in “skipping” a student forward (just as they often do not believe in holding a child back even if he or she is far behind). If your child is already bored, will it become worse if a tutor helps them move even farther forward? Does your child’s school offer gifted and/or accelerated programs, or opportunities for a gifted student to use his or her abilities to assist their peers, or to spend time doing advance projects?
- Should you consider removing your child from school, and home-schooling your child? Are you personally capable of providing a gifted child with the stimulation, guidance and expertise he or she requires? Should you hire a personal tutor to help your home schooled child in place of you as teacher, or to work along with you?
- Should you consider placing your child in a school with stronger requirements in specialized areas such as academics, technology, fine arts, or whatever area in which your child is especially gifted?
- If your child is especially gifted in one area, but is an average achiever in other areas, should you hire a tutor to work outside of school hours with the child in the specialized area in order to move forward and reach their potential, while allowing the child to progress normally in school in the other areas?
- Would another alternative be to keep your child in his or her school/class along with other children of the same age, but hire a tutor who can redirect the child’s boredom into learning new extra-curricular skills related to his or her area of giftedness, outside of school time? It might also be possible for the school to allow the child to work independently during class time in the area of his/her giftedness, or to help other children in that subject area, or even (if the school schedule allows) take higher-level classes in that time block. It might even be possible for a tutor to come in during that subject time block to work with your child individually, perhaps in the library or another suitable location.
- Keep in mind that becoming a well-rounded person is an important part of academic achievement. Putting too much emphasis on one skill or subject area, with individual attention that is so focused that the child does not have the opportunity to learn normal social skills, can itself cause long-term problems.
Discussion: What experiences have you had in providing extra stimulation and motivation for a gifted child? What other suggestions and recommendations would you make for parents facing this situation? Tell us your ideas in the comments. Thank you.
Don’t forget! If you live in the Penticton area and need a tutor, I may be able to help you. Check out my tutoring information and please contact me if you think I might be the tutor for you.