This post is part of a series written by Paper's tutors. Each post takes you behind the screen, uncovering their perspectives and expertise. This week, Tutor Steve explains why we must prioritize tutoring for all students.

It’s easy to say that finding a good tutor will improve a student’s performance. But why the tutor search is so important, and how it will benefit a student, are important questions to explore. Such questions can help us better understand how the tutor-student relationship impacts education, achievement, and even socioemotional development.

Tutors provide more than just the academic knowledge for getting to the answer.

Tutors provide crucial life and study skills, much-needed emotional support, and differing perspectives right when students need them the most.

You probably agree that tutoring is a sure bet for improving a student’s grades, but probably have a differing opinion on the many reasons why. First is subject focus: since the tutor can zero in on the exact questions the student has, they can get to the right issue that much more quickly. Less obvious might be how a tutor can take more time, allowing them to evoke the student's response rather than simply telling them. Finally, the alternative perspective to the subject that the tutor has can reinforce information from multiple angles.

Many of the students we tutor are also learning English as a second language, and I’m glad to draw on my many years of experience teaching ESL to help them.

Particularly in unrelated topics, such as social studies, the students I work with understand their topic thoroughly but need extra time with the language to earn the highest marks.

Of course, we all know that achievement at school is about more than just grades. Parents don’t always think of tutors as supporting such critical aptitudes as organization and time management, but nurturing these life skills is a component of the approach good tutors take when working with their clients.

In addition to encouraging good study habits and life skills, tutors can provide a warm, encouraging voice along the difficult path of developing a solid academic routine.

Large classes with busy teachers simply aren’t equipped to handle the kinds of unique, nuanced, and constantly-changing issues that face students in modern classrooms.

Supplementing regular academic work with one-on-one tutoring can enhance students' academic and emotional lives.

Emotional development is an often-overlooked aspect of teaching in general, and tutoring is no exception. So much emphasis is placed on what the student is doing that there is often little time to examine how the student is doing it, or how they feel about it. Tutors have this time.

In fact, students often turn to tutors when they are stuck, or frustrated, or lacking motivation. It is precisely in slowing down and talking out the subject in detail that students can sort through the ways they are thinking and feeling about their school. More often than not, students can understand a topic intellectually but are still developing their feelings on the subject more abstractly.

Of course, the many academic advantages that tutoring provides should be open to all.

Traditionally, one-on-one tutoring was arranged directly by families with the resources to get ahead. Only in a system in which all students in a school have equal access to these incredible benefits can the true impact of tutoring be truly felt by society.

With so much at stake in today’s education system, parents have difficulty choosing the best path for their students, much less the school system in general. Tutoring services that are able to balance both individualized and equitable attention are the answer to this difficult dilemma. Understanding the crucial role that tutor perspectives play in childhood growth often translates to providing quality tutoring services to all children in a district.

I’d like to share one success story from my own experience at Paper.

One evening a high school student logged on with many questions about writing an argumentative essay. She explained that, having recently arrived from China, her language level was preventing her from forming a strong argument. After some chatting, I realized that her issue was not English but understanding the purpose of making a written argument and the importance of the thesis statement. I encountered this issue often in my time teaching abroad, and worked through the structure of an argumentative essay. In a couple of hours, she was ready to outline.

Tutors come from many backgrounds and offer countless perspectives, but the one thing they have in common is harnessing these differences to nurture students towards their unique potential.

You’ll find that your tutor search pays off in ways you didn’t expect.

— Steve, PAPER Tutor

Providing equitable, unlimited tutoring support for the 2020-2021 school year is crucial. With PAPER, doing this comes at a fixed cost to your district. Learn more.

About PAPER

Founded in 2014, Paper is an Educational Support System (ESS) providing students with 24/7 live help & essay review, and teachers with real-time feedback and intervention tools. Paper partners with districts across North America to close the achievement gap and support educational equity.