private tutors

What to Look for in a Private Tutor?

 

It’s no secret that students depend heavily on private tutors to support them in learning a particular subject, assist them with homework or help them prepare for an exam. Private tutors can be highly influential in accessing different resources that may not be readily available students in school. But finding the right tutor for your child or for yourself can be the tough part. Here are a few of the most essential questions you must ask yourself before selecting a private tutor:

  1. Qualifications: The first part of the research in finding the perfect tutor is obviously qualifications. Ensure that the tutor you have selected has the right qualification in the right subject from a reputed institution. This should, more or less provide you with the information of the quality of the tutor’s knowledge of the particular subject.
  1. Previous Experiences: Find out where or who else the tutor has taught. Did a friend refer you to the tutor? If so, ask about their experience with that tutor. If there are students who are looking to provide tutoring classes, find out if they’ve recently attended similar examinations or classes. These student tutors can help other learners, as they have recent, first hand knowledge about the subject/exams.
  1. Syllabus: Speaking of examinations, find out what syllabi the tutor is acquainted with. Knowing this information can give you an idea of the amount of resource material and study material that the tutor may have. The tutor is also likely to have access to previous examination papers that the student can practice with, if the tutoring is exam based.
  1. Reviews: Do your research and find out how well reviewed the tutor is. Word of mouth is the best way to do so. Knowing personal experiences of other people who have attended classes with the same tutor will help you get the gist of how capable the tutor is. If this method is unavailable to you, then online reviews will help you. If it’s a website that provides information about all the available tutors, then the reviews are very likely to be trustworthy. There is always going to be one or two bad reviews but take the majority into account when assessing the tutor.
  2. Cost: Since tutors are in high demand these days, you’re likely to come across hiked up prices of the sessions. Before you sign up with one tutor find out the number of hours they take, the resources they have on them, the location where the tutoring will take place (if it’s too far don’t forget to calculate the extra cost of getting to and from the location) and compare it with all your other options. Make a pros and cons list before you finally settle for one.
  3. Connection: this step is often taken after you choose a tutor who you believe is right for you or for your child. When taking a lesson with a private tutor, comfort can be one of the most important aspects of a lesson. Some tutors can be excellent academically, but they do not know how to connect with their students, and that can affect the flow of a lesson and how you perceive information greatly. Always look for signs of compatibility, and make sure that the tutor is trying to personalize the experience according to your needs!

These steps are the basic ones you need to follow while looking for the perfect tutor who can aid and assist in the progress of your or your child’s learning. The best tutors encourage and enhance the students learning capability until they are employing their utmost potential. 

instatoot was launched with the goal of answering all these questions. You can chat with the tutor through the app before booking him/her to ask everything you need to know and discuss the areas you need support with. You can also view reviews and rating from other students, and search for tutors according to your budget and location, which solves the issue of transportation fees!

 

Click here to find out more about instatoot.

ibexams

The Last Mile: How to Prepare for Your IB Exams

People often ask me how was I able to achieve a 42 IB diploma score, and having answered that question many times now, I can say it’s sometimes difficult to convince people that I haven’t done anything special or extra than what most students did through their IB journey. With May 2017 examinations being just around the corner, here are six tips for IB students putting their knowledge and skills to test in a few weeks.

1. Plan a schedule and be organized

Any IB student or graduate would tell you that the number 1 skill they’ve learnt throughout their journey is how to be organized, and how important it is. Being organized helps you see things clearly and puts everything into perspective, and enables you to meet deadlines effectively. Now that you have mastered this skill after submitting your internal assessments and essays, you should apply it to your exams schedule.

Plan a schedule that would give each subject its right amount of time, not every subject will require the same preparation, so know which subjects you need to focus on the most and which ones will require the most amount of time in your schedule.  Some people like to start preparing for the exams they have first, others like to start preparing for the exams they have at the end and finish off with the ones they have at the beginning, so know which type you are and apply it to a schedule that you won’t have to change frequently.

2. Apply the knowledge, practice practice and practice

Now is certainly not the time to study for every topic as if you’re studying it the first time! Trust yourself and trust that you have learnt the topics several times enough, for you to do a quick review covering all topics of the subjects and focusing only on the topics which you find yourself weak in. If you finished your Mock exams already, take the feedback from your tests and see which areas you still need to improve and focus on them.

Dedicate more time to solve exam papers, utilize the Question bank and make sure to solve every paper as if you’re solving it in your actual external exam, with time constraint and resources allowed to take in for that exam, like the subject guide or a calculator. Practicing solving exams makes you more familiar with the format of questions, especially that the IB exam style is usually the same, and makes you faster in solving which ensures that you have effective time management skills needed to finish a paper within a limited time.

3. Manage your time effectively, in and out of exams

Before exams, make sure to schedule small breaks in between your study blocks, as your mind cannot focus the whole time and you need to de-stress and clear your mind every couple of hours, to focus again and recall information. Set a time limit for your break, a ten-minute break every 90 minutes or 2 hours is effective and more than enough. Use it to do something that will re-energize you without leading you to procrastinate or waste your time, like exercising or a short walk, as you should go back to studying directly after your break without any excuses to putting studying off or thinking of how much is left.

During exams, it is also very important to try to relax the night before your exam, you might do a quick review or solve some questions, but make sure that you get enough sleep the night before, and that you have a good breakfast before you leave to your exam the next morning, as this will help you in concentrating efficiently.

4. Go offline while studying

I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to turn off your mobile phone, the TV, and any social networks that will distract you while studying. You might think that it won’t harm replying quickly to a WhatsApp group chat or checking your Instagram/Facebook account, but this will only lead you to waste hours that you could spend on effective non-distracted learning.

This should not mean that you should go offline until you’re done with your exams, just make sure that you log in once you’re done studying for the day or in your breaks. And remember, your TV series, programs and movies can wait, with today’s technology you can easily watch all programs as many times as you wish, once you’re done with your exams.

5. Take it one exam at a time

Give every exam paper its own share of focus, and do not dwell too much on an exam which you think you haven’t done well on. Although it’s very normal to feel upset when you don’t do well on one paper or one subject, this should not consume your time and effort, you will still have other exams that will need your full attention. Stay motivated and give it your best, after all the grade will not be fully allocated based on the external examinations only, you still have your internal assessments as well.

6. Enjoy the experience and learn something out of it

Exams time is definitely exhausting, both physically and mentally, but take this phase easily and enjoy it while you can, after all it is an experience and a phase of your life. Trust yourself and your capabilities, you’ve been doing exams for many years, and although these exams are decisive for the majority of students who are relying on their grades to get a University admission, they are not very different from any other exams that you’ve done previously. No matter what the result is, be proud of what you have achieved, for after all the goal of the IB program is to teach you for life, and not just for your external examinations.

Wishing all May 2018 candidates the best of luck in their upcoming IB examinations, and all the best for their future!

 

Written by Aseel N. – Grasshopper @instatoot

What It Was Like to Be an IB Student in Jordan

Ahh if only I could go back to being an IB student!

Of course those were not exactly my sentiments when I was doing IB, but isn’t it like that with everything else in life? You never actually appreciate what you have until it’s gone.

I knew I wanted to study in a Jordanian university when I was in high school, so everyone was like ‘but then why do IB if you’re staying here?’ I remember feeling unsure of the quality of education I was going to get in a Jordanian university, so I thought I might as well get the best education I can get while I was still in school.

When you’re an IB student, you become sure that what you’re doing is the most difficult thing in the world, and honestly for a 16 year old, IB is not exactly a walk in the park. I remember a page on Facebook
called IB Memes which was the coolest thing back then; it made us all feel connected somehow and we’d all send each other stuff from it all the time. But all jokes aside, being an IB student is really one of the best experiences any student can go through. It is so much more than just academics. It teaches students to be holistic and prepares them for their college experience in ways that no other program does. IB students go into university ready to take on whatever essays, reports or research papers that they have to. Not to mention the fact that they actually learn how to think critically about any information they receive and not just take things at face value. I remember one of my friends being in utter shock after finding out that IB students learned how to do that at school.

It makes me sad that we were not the ones to come up with such an incredible program (maybe in the future), but thankfully we have the opportunity to study this program in our schools that gives high quality education to our students so that maybe later on they would come up with systems that would trump
the IB system too!

 

Written by Raja’ U. – Guru @instatoot

tutors in amman

“I have been a teacher and I have been a tutor, and I will always choose the latter”

Well it’s true! Although I have been tutoring for 7 years, I have worked as a full time teacher in a private school in Amman a while back. It may seem natural to a lot of people; that a person can be both a teacher and a tutor, right?

Not really!

I’m going to be frank here, not only have I enjoyed being a tutor more than a teacher, but I have also found out that I am better at doing my job as a tutor than doing it as a teacher. To me, teaching isn’t only about giving a class on numbers or atoms, it goes far beyond that. It is the way you explain it and the way your students react to receiving the information. That’s where all the magic happens!

I realized that focusing on one student, making sure that he grasps the information you’re giving him and watching his reaction when he finally gets it, is much more rewarding and exciting than having my eyes on the board in a class full of students the whole time. But do my students feel the same way about having a class with me as I do about giving them a class?

It’s quite uncommon to ask a student if they enjoy learning Math, right?

Well, that’s what I thought at first which is why I never got my hopes high. All I cared about then wasdelivering the information, you know, explain this and that, give a couple of examples, let them solve some questions and wrap up the lesson. As time passed; however, and after a couple of classes, I started noticing that some students are actually enjoying solving Math problems and are asking me to challenge them with even harder questions than the ones in the book. It appeared as if they didn’t only need a tutor to help them with Math problems, but they mostly needed someone to push them beyond their capabilities and make the experience a little more entertaining and challenging.

Students react better to having to solve problems if you make it sound like only they have the key to solving them, rather than solving boring questions that make no sense to them. To my surprise, it wasn’t long before many of my students started showing genuine interest in doing Mathematics; using logic and common sense when solving problems became one of the approaches that they mastered.

If someone asks me what moments I have enjoyed the most during my journey as tutor, I would say it’s when I get those phone calls from my students after they finish a big exam that we’ve been preparing for over 6 months, and I hear that tone of relief in their voices. What’s even better than that is the feeling I get when I receive those phone calls from them a month later with their voices shaking, loud sounds and music all around them, then they tell me: “Miss, I just wanted to let you know of my score, I don’t think I could have done it without you, thank you!”. Of course I always tell them that it’s their efforts not mine and that they should be very proud of what they’ve been able to achieve, but hey, there is absolutely no harm in taking pride in the fact that you have helped them get there and achieve their goal! I will always celebrate those little achievements as if they were mine, because they are. Nothing will ever beat that feeling.

 

Written by Areen G. – Grandmaster @instatoot

tutors in amman

Tutoring: Parents vs. Students

tutors in amman

 

One of the tricks to being a good tutor is knowing your audience. Sure, you’re getting paid by parents and they usually think they know best, but what you know is students, and you know them well. I’ve come to realize that dealing with parents and students simultaneously as a tutor is an art that can be mastered. If you’re a parent and you’re reading this, don’t panic. We as tutors realize that you think you know your kids’ weaknesses best, and most of the time, you have it spot on. But we also know how to deal with students. This is particularly true when a tutor is close in age to their student, because it allows students to develop this kind of kindred spirit and trust towards the tutor.

When it comes to students who have behavioral problems in class or in a session, the kind who think that they don’t need school and are giving their parents the worst teenage years of their life, all you need to do as a tutor is gain the parents’ trust. Show them that you know how to deal with their kids and that you know best. Doing so will give you the reigns to handle the situation in the ways that you truly know best based on your experience. Now you should know that it’s a huge mistake to think that getting along with your students and gaining their trust you is an easy task. It’s really not. Some of them could give you what may seem like the hardest task you’ll ever face as a teacher or a tutor, some will show resistance, lack of enthusiasm and bafflement, while others will give you that “I cannot wait for the class to be over” attitude. However, if you see the potential in them, and you always will, it’ll be worth all the hard work. As a tutor, nothing feels as good as that feeling you get when you realize you’ve finally gotten to them; when you see them actually starting to believe in themselves, and it’s all because of you. Don’t think I don’t see the selfish factor here, but in the end, it’s a win-win situation.

Obviously, nothing will work out if you don’t know your basics; the better you are as an actual teacher who can provide knowledge, both academically and on a personal level, the more confident you will be when it comes to controlling difficult situations and helping your students shine and reach higher levels of knowledge. If you have that down, the parents are definitely going to let you take over.

So, if I were to wrap this up in a few words, I’d say know your academics, know how to find the keys that unlock your students’ potential, and know how to allow parents to trust you!

Written by Raja’ Urabi, awesome instructor @instatoot 

What Makes a Great Tutor?

instatoot_amman

 

Let’s all be honest for a minute; we’ve all had our moments of doubt before tutoring a student. Be it lack of confidence or lack of preparation, this happens more often than not, even to the best tutors or classroom teachers out there. And in most cases, it’s just our minds playing tricks on us. So this got me thinking, what really makes a great tutor?

There are quite a few amazing ones out there. Those who show up on time, those who graduated top of their class, and those who are really good and do not charge much (parents’ favorites). The list is endless, and is quite frankly subjective.

I have been tutoring for a few years now, which has exposed me to different situations and has given me the chance to meet all types of students and parents. Most of the time, I get to teach courses that I know like the back of my hand, but every now and then, I find myself in a situation where I need to work really hard to deliver a concept to a student. You see, I realized that all classroom teachers and tutors face challenges that make them either doubt themselves or inspire them to work really hard and overcome those problems.

Great tutors are the ones who are willing to commit themselves entirely to that one student in that hour or two. Preparing for a lesson, tailoring that lesson to the student’s needs and the way he/she perceives concepts, and trying to make the subject interesting, if not enjoyable, is what really matters. Those who are willing to go home and think of solutions for problems they come across while tutoring are in my opinion the greatest of all tutors.

For many parents, great tutors are the ones who graduated from well-known universities with the highest scores. As for students, they tend to love tutors they get along with, who are flexible and friendly, and know how to deliver a message in a way they understand and can relate to. For me; however, great tutors are the ones who help students learn and grow, not the ones who teach them facts. I read somewhere that the difference between a teacher and a tutor is that teachers must get a class from point A to point B. Unfortunately, you’ll always find some students who lag behind while others pick up concepts and new information quickly and easily. A tutor; however, teaches at the pace of the student, ensuring that he/she is learning effectively while motivating him along the way.

Great tutors understand that students probably lack confidence in the subject they need help with, because of that, they must be able to clearly communicate concepts in the simplest of ways. Great tutors are also passionate about the subjects they teach. Their enthusiasm for the subject can easily inspire students and rub off on them.

Being a tutor is a great responsibility, but it can also be an incredible, rewarding experience if one has passion, dedication, and empathy towards students.

But hey, that could be just me.

What do you think makes a great tutor?

Written by Dania Mousa — Co-founder & CMO @instatoot

tutoring_amman

Five Tips to Get You Ready for the New School Year

Well, it’s official. The new school year has begun!

tutoring_amman

Summer break was fun. You traveled, you spent time at home watching movies or doing nothing (never a bad idea) or you just hung out with friends and family, unless you wanted to get a head start and prepared for the next school year (we like you, student).

Needless to say, after several months of relaxing and not thinking about school, returning can be a bit challenging. All the rushed, early mornings, the overwhelming amount of handouts and homework, and all the activities can be easily eased into if planned right.

Here are a few tips from us to make going back to school a little less intimidating and a lot more doable!

1. Adjust bedtimes and wakeup times a few days before the first day of school. This can be gradually done a week or two ahead. If your meal times changed over the summer, consider adjusting those as well to make them suitable with the new sleeping schedule. For example, if you’re a late sleeper, set your alarm earlier and earlier everyday, closer to the hour you usually wake up in for school.

2. Get organized in advance. There are countless things that need to be done before the start of the new school year, from buying stationary, books and uniforms to planning for lunch and snacks. Nothing calms down that new school year chaos like planning and avoiding doing everything last minute. Shop early to have your uniform and school supplies ready beforehand, and benefit from all the back-to-school discounts out there (hint: malls).

3. Organize your study space and supplies. Time to declutter that desk to make sure you or your child have a quiet, distraction-free space to study. Older students could benefit from these apps that help them organize their study and homework schedule.

4. Prepare yourself mentally for the new year. Setting study goals and routines will make the first few days of school a lot easier and more manageable. Find out what you’re going to be studying next year and plan for it so you’ll get a sense of what your after-school time is going to be like. You don’t have to work ahead and study if you don’t feel like it, a simple review of what you’ll be covering should be enough to help you ease into the new school year.

5. Focus on your weaknesses. Getting a head start on that one subject you need help with the most is never a bad idea. If you’re doing your SATs, external IGCSE or IB exams or any other official examination this year, start your test-prep early and try to get your hands on the syllabus.
If you’re feeling anxious about a particular subject, go for summer tutoring, it doesn’t have to be intensive and overwhelming, just go for a few lessons every month to keep your skills and knowledge fresh, and help you hit the ground running when the school year begins again!

Let us know if that was helpful by leaving a comment!