Can an Online Algebra Tutor Supplement In-Person Tutoring?
By Stephanie Frasco
For many high school students and college freshmen, algebra is the first “tough math class” and it can be a whopper. It’s a rough immersion, and often required for graduation. The odds of a student being matched with the best teacher for them are slim to none. Worse, algebra is usually a required course, which means there’s a dismal student to teacher ratio. Students simply can’t get the individual attention they need, and might be too overwhelmed or intimidated to ask questions either in class or during a teacher’s office hours. Are they destined to fail?
Not necessarily. Having individual attention with an online algebra tutor can help “fill in the gaps.” Students are paired with skilled algebra tutors who are qualified to tutor as well as incredibly knowledgeable in algebra. With online tutoring, students get the supplemental teaching they need to succeed.
Only with a one-on-one environment do many students feel comfortable asking questions. They never feel like they’re making other students wait or that the teacher is in a rush to move on to the next subject. Both the tutor and student get to focus exclusively on what matters: The success of the student and ensuring they understand the subject.
People learn in different ways, especially when it comes to tough subjects. There’s a myriad of ways to teach math and algebra, and although a good teacher knows many of them there’s no way to teach all styles at once in a class. Instead, many teachers choose one or two approaches that will cover the majority of students. But what if that doesn’t include your student?
An Approach Just for You
When shopping for an online algebra tutor, you and your student deserve options and a lot of flexibility. Students can personalize when their tutoring sessions are, with whom, and for how long. Some student burn out easily and benefit from more, shorter sessions per week. Others like to tackle the entire week’s tutoring in one fell swoop. Experiment and see which learning style is actually best for the student. It’s an approach that isn’t possible in traditional learning environments, including high school and college classrooms.
Unfortunately, there are still systemic biases in STEM subjects like math, science, and technology. It’s very possible that your student is saddled with additional challenges when taking on math and algebra. A tutor can give students a leg up amongst the competition if the teacher is grading on a curve. Tutors also give students increased confidence and the tools necessary to navigate such an environment. In some cases, “getting” algebra can encourage student to continue to succeed in STEM subjects, possibly leading to an eventual college degree and career in a related field.
But We Already Have an In-Person Tutor That’s Helping …
In-person tutoring can be great—and online tutoring can supplement that approach as well as traditional classroom settings. It depends on the students, time and geography constraints, and how much extra help they need. If you’re already working with a tutor in-person and seeing results, but your student is still struggling, consider supplement the student’s experience with online tutoring. A three-prong approach including the primary teacher, online tutor, and in-person tutor, might be exactly what a student needs. Plus, online tutoring can be a greattool if the student is ill and can’t make an in-person session, traveling on vacation, or facing some other obstacles, such as snow days, that make commuting impossible.
Online tutors can have a tremendous impact on student success, and you’re never locked into a contract. Try out a variety of tutors, get extra help only leading up to exams, or play around with how many hours per week is best for the student. You’ll find that online algebra tutors are well-versed in working with all kinds of students and curriculum. They have the student’s best interest at heart and offer the flexibility that students (and parents!) need.