Myth #1: "Tutoring" always means "help with the homework"
In fact, most of the "tutoring" schools you know don't actually help your child with his or her school work at all. Most of the well-known educational franchises use their own curriculum and teach their own lessons. These lessons may or may not relate to your child's school work.
There are two main ways of approaching school problems: remediation and reinforcement.
Remediation is often described as going back to the student's "level" and then re-teaching the basics. This is the method most often used by large, commercial centres who have their own curriculum and their own ways of teaching.
Reinforcement is often described as "supportive" tutoring: tutoring that specifically targets what a student is doing right now in school. This method is most often used by smaller tutoring centres such as ours or by independent tutors. Those of us who promote this type of tutoring believe that even students with a weaker foundation can be supported and quickly brought up to their current grade level by strategic remediation, that is, going back and picking up only the specific pieces you need when you need them.
Myth #2: In order to sign up for tutoring, you have to commit to a regular schedule just like for a soccer game.
Many people are hesitant to go to a tutor because they believe they'll be "sucked in" to a large commitment. No student should go to their tutor just "because it's Wednesday" -- tutoring can be on an as-needed basis. Many students do need consistent, regular help because they find even their daily schooling a struggle. But, many students will only schedule a session with a tutor just before a big test to clear up any last minute questions and to get a final boost of confidence.
Tutoring to support school work should only be as regular as the school difficulties, otherwise you run the risk of students becoming overly dependent upon tutoring.
Myth #3: Tutors need to be certified teachers.
Tutoring is very different from classroom teaching, and requires a very different set of skills.
Tutors are focused on only one student at a time, and they must be highly capable of working one-on-one with students. While classroom lessons can be planned ahead of time, tutors must know how to create a lesson "on the spot" as they identify the strengths and weaknesses of their student. A tutor must be skilled in "reading" the student, and knowing when "I understand" doesn't really mean "I understand." No student wants or needs to be taught something they already understand, and no student can learn harder material when they haven't really understood the earlier work. A professional tutor must be able to judge when it's time to move on, so that the student is neither bored nor lost.