They say that when you are able to teach someone, you have a good understanding of the topic. At least that is what people always told me. So when I am studying for a test and someone asks a question. Then I am curious whether I am able to explain the issue to them. If I am not able to explain the question then I know that I must study some more. That has always been an indication of how well I have studied.
So I have always thought I had a pretty good understanding of Chemistry. Especially because I studied chemistry for quite some time in university. That is also why quite some people in my hometown have asked me to tutor them or their kids.
And since I feel like I understand chemistry rather well, I said I would love to help them with chemistry. Though after 2 years of doing this I want to say that tutoring is not as easy as it might seem. And it is for sure more than just answering a few questions.
Where you might feel that teaching or tutoring is not that difficult, well think again. Every person has their personal way of learning. And has their own needs to understand a topic.
There is this one girl that I tutor, she does not pay attention in class but when we go through the chapter she is able to understand the study material rather easy. Then after going through the material, we make some exercises together and she makes almost no mistakes. I always question why she wants a tutor, but it is probably because she doesn’t want to pay attention in class. This might be understandable but I was always the type that didn’t want any help or tutoring. I was convinced I could do it on my own.
Then there is this other girl. Well, that is a bit more difficult. I feel like she does pay attention in class but just simply doesn’t understand it. I got in contact with her because a friend of mine tutored her in economics and she also wanted some help in chemistry. Maybe the fact that she needs tutoring in both topics already says enough, but I said I would help her anyway. I am helping her for almost a year now, and man I didn’t think it would be this difficult. She keeps getting low grades and for some reason, my way of tutoring is just not helping.
When I think I have explained it enough and repeated what is important, she still makes the most stupid mistakes that can be made. So then we make questions a and b together and I ask her what she is going to do with question c (which is exactly the same as a and b). She makes a good start at c, but then at the end, she gets insecure and questions herself. So then we do d together again. And then e she makes flawless but then again f she makes the most obvious mistake ever. Like how did she do e correctly but f so wrong.
So then I try to explain it again but differently with different words. Then she says she understands it and questions g and h go perfect but i is all wrong again.
At this point, I question my own understanding of chemistry. But I know for sure if I would get the exact same test as her, I would get an easy 7. So it is not my understanding that is lacking, but then maybe it is my tutoring skills. Though, how could something be wrong with my tutoring skills if I explained the same thing at least 3 times in different ways?
Well, you must understand that I feel really bad for accepting the money I get for tutoring when she still gets low grades. But what must I then do? Well if they keep on asking me for help, I will keep on trying. But I have learned that tutoring is more difficult than it seems and is also quite frustrating.