Stuart H. Radin - Mathematics Tutor


Why Do I Need Stu as a Tutor? - I Used to Be Good at Math!

Many parents become incredibly frustrated when they cannot help their own children with math. There are a number of reasons for this. First, although you used to be really good at math, for some strange reason, you seem to not skate through it like you used to. Think of math as a foreign language; if you do not use it, you slowly begin to forget it. Please do not beat yourself up over this! For example, my wife who is an incredibly accomplished and well-respected cardiologist (Connecticut Magazine - "Top Doc List" - 11 times and counting!), was an undergraduate Mathematics Major. She looks at this material today and honestly admits that she cannot remember any of it.

The second reason is personal parental pride. You say to yourself; "How can my Skippy not get this stuff? It came so easy to me! And he is my child, my flesh and blood, my offspring, my legacy." You cannot take this personally. Your child is not you. And although, if you were good at math, it increases the chance of your child being good at math, this outcome is not set in stone. Your child is their own individual person, with their own skill set and their own set of strengths and weaknesses.

The third reason is usually a by-product of reason number two; "Why won't Skippy listen to me when I try to explain the material!?" This phenomenon is simply due to the fact that you are the parent. Children tend to have less patience for their parents than any other adults, and parents tend to have less patience with their own children than any other children. This lack of patience on your part stems from your frustration explained in reason number two. For what it is worth, the most difficult students that I have tutored are my own children. There have been times when my children have had very little patience with me and will seek separation from me even when seemingly unprovoked. As a matter of fact, at one time, they had both "un-friended" me on Facebook!

Why Use Stu Instead of the National Test Prep Services?

I am sure that you have at least heard of the national standardized test prep companies and are probably debating whether to enroll yourself or your child in one of these prep programs, or hiring a local private tutor. If you review their websites and published study guides, many of these companies are very impressive. Their study guides are comprehensive and very useful.

Here are a few of the problems and pitfalls of using the national companies;

1. You or your child will be in a classroom as one of a dozen or more students. In such a group setting, students spend too much time reviewing skills that they already know, because of the wide spectrum of abilities of the other students. Individual tutoring can zero in on those topics of which the student needs to improve. If your student is not assertive or self-motivated, or they have a tendency to "hide" in a group setting and their questions may not be asked or answered.

2. The training or commitment of the instructor is often suspect. I have some actual experience with this issue, because I once entertained the idea of working for one of the national prep companies. I drove to New Haven for an interview and subsequent audition, where I gave a mini-lesson on a subject of my choice. I performed well enough to be asked to attend their training program. The training program consisted of three day sessions, which were conducted at a university in Westchester County, New York. After the first session, I decided this was not for me. The training was good, but I realized that the amount of money I would be paid was not worth the trouble. If your compensation does not match your level of expertise and commitment, it is human nature not to put forth your best effort.

A teacher with whom I am very friendly recently investigated going to work, part-time, for one of the national math tutoring companies. This teacher has over 25 years' experience as a classroom teacher. The company offered her ten dollars and change per hour to provide mathematic tutoring; basically, minimum wage! This raises two questions:

  1. What level of commitment can you expect from a qualified teacher for this level of compensation, and,
  2. What level of expertise can you expect from individuals willing to work for these wages?

The vast majority of the class room instructors for the national companies are part-time employees, who are using this as a second income. I worked with one student for SAT prep, who had paid for a program offered and endorsed by their local high school. The instructor, who taught the English portion of the test, was an attorney by day. Although the instructor was a very intelligent person, her commitment to the course was not one of her top priorities. She canceled classes and appointments, without rescheduling. The student had little success with the instructor returning his calls and emails, when he needed additional help. I will not name the local high school, but I am sure there are those of you living in Connecticut's Farmington Valley who are well aware of the high school and company in question.

3. These companies will require a substantial payment up-front. When my daughter was a high school junior, in the fall of 2012, she took a practice test sponsored by one of these national test prep companies at our town's library. The follow-up course they tried to sell us required an up-front fee of $1,200. (I am sure that the cost has increased since 2012).

With me you get:

  • One-on-one instruction tailored to each student's needs and abilities
  • An instructor who is doing this as his primary line of work
  • An instructor who has been professionally trained as a teacher and has earned a Teaching Certificate issued by the State of Connecticut.
  • With me, you pay as you go. I do not require any up-front fee, or minimum number of sessions, although I have found that, as a minimum, six to eight sessions are needed to really gain any traction; however, more sessions are needed for most students. When you or your child think that they are adequately prepared, you are free to cut the cord at any time, without having pre-paid for instruction you feel is not needed.

Why Use Stu Instead of a Full-Time Classroom Teacher?

Because I have everything they have, plus a lot more! I have a State of Connecticut Professional Educator Certificate, classroom teaching experience, a Master's Degree, a Professional Engineer's License, a parent of adult children, as well as all required shots and vaccinations!

What I do not have is a full-time, day job, which saps my energy and focus and prevents me form keeping abreast with the latest changes in the various standardized tests. I am a full-time tutor. This is my business, primary focus and income generating vehicle.

I have many "war stories" of teachers and guidance counselors who are unaware of the structure and scoring of these tests, as well as changes in their format. For example, there are many differences, yet many commonalties, between the SAT and the ACT. Is your classroom teacher, prospective tutor or guidance counselor aware of them?

  Canton, CT 


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