When we stop trying to improve, we can become less effective. It’s easy to get complacent. This is why athletes and musicians work with private coaches and trainers throughout their careers. As a vocalist, I’ve worked with a voice coach for years to help me become even better at my craft. Having someone objective review my work is a very effective way to maintain the quality of my performance.
At Nurturing Wisdom, each tutor also works with his or her own coach. When I first learned of Nurturing Wisdom’s approach to coaching tutors, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of a “tutoring coach.” I quickly found that a coach helps us as tutors challenge ourselves to become more effective tutors. They talk to us about difficult tutoring situations and help us with new strategies and curriculum.
Our coaches also join us for a session about once a semester, or as often as needed to truly support us. The first time my coach planned to join me, I was a little nervous about someone seeing what I do in my sessions. I was a fairly new tutor, and while I was confident in my teaching skills, I didn’t know if I would be as good as I was expected to be. As I helped my student prepare for an algebra test during the session, my coach not only observed me and took notes, but she also participated in our session by providing her own input on math concepts.
After the session, my coach called me to go over her notes. I remember her saying she was glad she was able to join me for a session. She liked the relationship I had with my student and the way that I maximized the time we had to work, but she wanted me to challenge myself more as a tutor. She suggested that I work more math concepts into my sessions. She also gave me advice on how to incorporate more work on executive functioning into our sessions.
The experience of having my coach join me during my tutoring session motivated me to become a better tutor. I wanted to expect as much out of myself as I do from my students. I realized that we tell our students there is always room for improvement, and the same is true for us as tutors.
As a teacher or tutor, it’s easy to develop a skewed perception of your own abilities. Having a coach helps to prevent that by keeping our tutors focused, encouraging them to grow professionally, and providing the support and resources they need to be a great tutor. The best part is that all of this will benefit our students in the end!
-Written by Sarah Phillips, Nurturing Wisdom Tutor and Lead Tutoring Coach