Most people who become tutors do so because you care.
A couple of weeks ago I started supporting a young girl with maths. The first week was set up as a zoom call but when the time came, she refused to come to the camera. I asked the mum where they lived. It was about a 20-minute drive across town, but I said I’d go over, introduce myself and show them the sort of games we could play in person.
By the time I got there, she was in floods of tears and so I left without going in.
The next time it was agreed that I would again try going to their home. I turned up and the mum announced that although she was crying it was because she had stubbed her toe and wasn’t to do with me…
She showed me into the kitchen and went to get her daughter. Seconds later, an argument between the two of them started. The girl claiming her mum didn’t care about her stubbed toe, just the fact that I was there. The mum pleading that this wasn’t true!
The girl stormed into the cloakroom and locked herself in. They continued the argument through the door. I asked if I could talk to her.
I sat on the floor outside the cloakroom and said I’d got a choice of games with me.
There was a pairs game, this would need cutting up if she was happy to do that for me. I passed this under the door for her to look at.
A snakes and ladders game. I passed this under the door.
A board game, this went under. And so on…
I explained that she could choose and once she had chosen to come out and let me know.
She replied with a tearful ok and I went back to the kitchen to talk to the mum.
A few minutes later she appeared. She had chosen snakes and ladders. By the end of the game, we had smiles. By the end of the hour, we had achieved laughter.
Last week/ the following week, the mum asked her if she would like a break for the summer. The girl, much to her mum’s shock said she’d like to continue. She enjoyed it.
I’m terrified when I go to someone’s house / do a zoom lesson with someone for the first time, even though I’ve been doing this for over 9 years now. Yet they are too. They have a stranger turning up to “work” with them on something they don’t like. Something they struggle with.
I think sometimes we need to remember that and put ourselves in their shoes.
Show them that you care
That’s how we can work better to build a bond and a relationship where they feel they can be confident to ask us when they don’t understand. Let them know that we are human too.
Have a great week and speak soon.
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