When it comes to academics, the almighty “A” is the end-goal for most students, and there are many ways to get there. Some students study diligently for hours on end, others lean on a complex system of supports that invokes the adage “it takes a village to raise a child,” and a few find that academic work clicks so quickly and easily that they can coast their way to a pretty report card.
While high marks deserve celebration, they aren’t the be-all-end-all of a student’s continuing growth. Middle school and high school are times of crucial brain development, and even the best students have areas that could use some nurturing. Academic tutors can deliver support and guidance in a wide range of subjects beyond what you see on a student’s official transcript. Consider these student scenarios and you’ll see what we mean.
Case #1: School is a Grind
Good grades demand hard work, but these types of students know how to grind and get it done. A steady diet of flash cards, practice problems, and outlines leads to high-quality academic performance. These students display excellent work habits, but are at risk of overload when the going gets tough. An already-full workload can have students approaching redline when exams arrive, college applications are due, or other demands get dumped on top of standard school studies.
Support Recommendation: An Academic Skills Coach or an On-Call Subject Tutor
In this case, having a subject tutor on call makes sense if the student only experiences brief periods of being overwhelmed. There’s no need for weekly sessions, but these types of students could clearly benefit from having a subject tutor on standby to assist with stressful projects, big deadlines, and heavier-than-usual assignments. It might also help to have a subject coach on call to clarify a particularly tough topic.
If, however, the student is generally spending undue hours on school work and is constantly stressed by the pressure to keep up, an academic skills coach is a better fit. These students can work with an academic skills coach to create systems so that they generally work smarter, not harder, and complete their work efficiently. An academic skills coach can help plan for the upcoming crunch times or propose different and more efficient ways to study and approach work day-to-day.
Case #2: Parents Manage Scheduling
Club meetings, sports practice, family commitments and more crowd the schedules of these types of students. Since a young age, these high-achieving students have been on the run, and since a young age, their parents have helped manage that bevy of tasks and events. The idea that this well-oiled scheduling machine will not run without proper attendance and guidance may not be far from the truth, but just around the corner, every small task will be in the hands of the student. Come first year of college and a strong dose of independence, these students run the risk of task management overload after years of passively moving through activities.
Support Recommendation: Academic Skills Coaching focusing on Executive Functioning
It’s common for families to fall into a routine where parents manage their children’s calendars, but it’s not a system that’s wise to sustain through young adulthood. Students who need to develop life skills like scheduling and time management benefit from academic skills coaching focused on executive functioning. Academic skills coaches can help students gradually take on full responsibility for their own success by owning their schedules and developing habits of self-advocacy and goal setting.
Case #3: School Is Easy
An abundance of natural talent can result in easy “A”’s and minimal effort. These students have bright futures, but after years of coasting through, they might not be developing the grit and effective study skills they need when challenges and adversity inevitably do appear. Plus, if school is so easy, why not put those extensive mental faculties to use learning more advanced material?
Support Recommendation: A Subject Tutor
Naturally exceptional students are at risk of developing fixed mindsets around their abilities and adopting tunnel vision beliefs like “I am the smart one.” These mindsets can be very crippling when a new environment (such as college) challenges those assumptions. A subject tutor can help talented students structure time and prioritize projects or assignments in preparation for later, more difficult pursuits. Tutors can also challenge under-stimulated students by providing enrichment work and further areas of study. Our tutors are trained in the emotional and mental components of learning and work and can help a growth mindset take root.
Do any of these profiles resonate with you? Our academic tutors and coaches are here to help your child in any academic situation. To learn more, contact us.