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What makes a good tutor?

March 19, 2020

We firmly believe our tutoring team is the best tutoring team in all of Baltimore, and that’s largely because of who we hire and how we train.  Our tutors scored 98th percentile or higher, underwent an intense hiring process, and completed rigorous training. Our tutors have a long history of tremendous results.  

This blog is the first of a series that will outline all of the traits we see in our tutors, and why these traits lead to productive sessions and positive results. 

Today, we’re going to focus on our “student centric” approach to tutoring.

When we say “student centric,” we are referring to the fact that each session is curated to a student’s unique needs and abilities. Now, you might be thinking, well all tutoring is one-on-one, so shouldn’t it be inherently “student centric?”  

Wrong. 

While one-on-one tutoring does, of course, mean there is some level of individual attention that wouldn’t be present in a classroom, not all individual attention is created equal.  

Some tutors have a “tutor centric” approach to tutoring.  This means they direct the session’s focus to what they themselves are good at explaining, playing to their own strengths instead of the student’s weaknesses. The likely explanation for this “tutor centric” approach is not that it’s beneficial to the student— it’s more likely a safeguard for the tutor who might not feel comfortable explaining more convoluted or advanced topics.  Some tutors might downplay the importance of some topics or skills, and emphasize the importance of others (the ones they feel more equipped to explain).

Take quadratic expressions, for example.  This is an Algebra 2 concept that many students really struggle with. This concept is tested on every SAT, and usually more than once. If a tutor really struggles explaining these questions, they might downplay their importance, focus the student’s attention elsewhere, or just avoid the topic all together. Obviously, this “tutor centric” approach fails to cater to the student’s needs and will certainly not maximize score gains. Worst of all, the student likely won’t realize it’s happening until they get to the SAT and have never seen the topic. 

With Streamline, you don’t have to worry about that.  Our tutoring approach is wholly “student centric.” In training, our tutors go through every recent SAT and ACT, as well as a master test we’ve created of all the hardest SAT and ACT questions.  We don’t send our tutors into sessions until we know they not only have the knowledge of each and every concept, but also the vocabulary and pedagogical skills to effectively communicate them. 

If you’ve been to any of our offices, you might’ve realized we have an open floor plan.  This is so, if any of our tutors do get stuck on a question (hey, it happens to the best of us!), they have another expert tutor feet away who can jump in. 

If you’re a great tutor, you’re not concerned with what you’re good at— you’re concerned with what your student is bad at.  

If you’re a great tutor, you’re not worried about making a mistake— you’re worried about why your student is making their mistakes.  

In short, a great tutor focuses only on the student in front of them, and curates a session that fits the student’s needs, and the student’s needs only. 

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