Subpar math skills can make many aspects of life more difficult. The simple task of splitting a check between friends or calculating a tip can cause unnecessary stress. You leave yourself vulnerable to making poor financial choices when you can’t independently verify the numbers provided by lenders, salespeople, and financial advisors. Depending on your career, a math deficiency can hold you back from advancing in your field.
Adults and students alike can overcome their math challenges through math tutoring. Although it’s true that some people possess a natural affinity for numbers, math is a skill. Like any other skill, you can improve your math abilities through dedicated instruction and practice. There’s no shame in asking for help; no one is born knowing how to balance a checkbook or solve a differential equation.
The Benefits of Math Tutoring
No matter how old you are, seeking a math tutor is the best way to improve your math abilities. Even if your teachers in school were exceptionally skilled, they had to worry about teaching an entire classroom of students. The way that they taught math may not have been the best way for you to learn math, and the demands of the class may not have allowed them to spend extra time helping you to learn an especially difficult concept.
If you’re on the fence about seeking a tutor, consider some of the following benefits:
- Individualized Schedule: You can spend more time going over difficult concepts and skip concepts that you already understand.
- Positive Encouragement: Your tutor can give you as much encouragement as you need.
- Tailored Teaching: Tutors can adapt to your learning style, helping you understand concepts in a way that makes sense to you.
Choosing a Tutor for Your Learning Style
If you’ve decided to seek tutoring, you’ll want to find a tutor who best fits with your learning needs. There are a number of different factors to consider, including the type of tutor, their personality, and their qualifications.[respa]
There are several different styles of tutoring to choose between. They are:
- Tutoring Centers: Give you a small group atmosphere. You may enjoy this type of tutoring if you’re a collaborative learner who benefits from working with others.
- One-on-One Tutoring: This type of tutoring is more expensive, but it also offers a better return on your time if you’re self-driven and respond well to individual attention.
- Online Tutoring: Can give many of the benefits of one-on-one tutoring, but it doesn’t work for everyone. You need to be disciplined and assertive to get the most benefit from this type of tutoring.
When you meet with a potential tutor for the first time, you’ll need to evaluate whether they will be a good fit for you. Of course, you’ll want to verify that any math tutor is an expert in the subject before you consider hiring them; competency in the subject matter should be the baseline for any tutor.
Beyond that, ask the tutor questions about their teaching style. No matter how much a tutor is willing to customize their approach for your needs, each tutor has their own style of teaching that works best for them. If you need repetition to learn, make sure that your tutor is patient and strict. If you’re a visual learner, search for a tutor who’s willing to accommodate your needs.
Above all else, make sure that you can be comfortable with your tutor. The two of you don’t have to be best friends, but you need to feel safe enough to admit when you’re struggling with a concept. If your tutor makes you feel stupid for asking a question, you need to find a new tutor.
Asking for Help
For many adults, there’s a stigma associated with asking for help. Many of our institutions treat seeking help as a sign of weakness. If you want to improve your math skills through tutoring, you need to overcome this stigma.
Human brains are capable of doing math, but we’re not calculators. No one is born with a complete knowledge of mathematics hard-wired into their brain; we have to learn everything about math, from simple arithmetic to calculus and beyond. In many cases, aptitude at math is a product of winning the teacher lottery, not the result of inborn greatness.
Recognizing when you need help is a sign of humility and wisdom, not weakness. If you’ve never had the opportunity to learn math in a way that makes sense for you, you shouldn’t expect to be good at math without help. Math is a complex subject that people can study for decades. Surprisingly, even many mathematicians struggle with math. What these professionals recognize, however, is that math is simply a skill. Asking for help to learn and improve a skill is natural, not an admission of inferiority.
How Much Does Math Tutoring Cost?
The cost of math tutoring depends on a number of factors, including the expertise of the tutor and the type of tutoring experience you select.
Generally speaking, online tutoring is the most inexpensive form of math tutoring. Costs typically start around $20 per hour, with more advanced subjects costing more. Private tutors can cost anywhere from $40-$85 an hour. More experienced and qualified tutors will cost more, but you might be able to find a bargain by searching for a newer tutor.
Tutoring centers are often the most expensive options, but they also provide the most support to students. Costs for tutoring centers start at around $45 per hour, but your costs will often include additional fees for evaluations, materials, and facilities.
Where to Find Math Tutors
If you’ve decided to search for a math tutor, there are many resources available to help you find one. If you want to start with a tutoring center, a simple Internet search will probably bring up several centers in your area. Other websites, such as tutors.com, can help you find private tutors. If there are any universities or community colleges nearby, you can ask for recommendations from their adult or continuing education offices.
Math is a difficult subject, but there’s nothing mystical preventing you from improving your abilities. With the help of a tutor and a willingness to work, you can learn how to do math like a professional.