Parent as a teacher
A total of 20 working days have passed since the spread of the dangerous virus closed all schools literally overnight. Not only teachers and students but also parents have unexpectedly changed their daily routine. The common parent's question “How was school today?” changed into “What are WE going to learn today?”
School closures can be misleading. In practice, only school buildings have closed. Learning continues - only in a new and non-traditional way, which more than ever involves the parents.
While under normal circumstances, it was enough to check the children's homework and check their grades, parents are now under pressure from the daily school preparation associated with doing homework.
From the parents' point of view, this learning alternative can be unusual and demanding, both in terms of time and well-being. Some parents continue to work, and others stayed temporarily at home due to circumstances or, in the worst scenarios, lost their jobs.
In any case, a notional return to textbooks is not easy. Many parents seek help through tutoring. But not just any tutoring.
Usually, tutoring is focused on one, at most, two subjects, which are the most challenging for children. Tutoring focused on preparing for admission exams, or graduation is also very common.
However, tutoring is sought mainly by parents with children in the lower level of primary school. Their requirement is to find a teacher who will help their children not with one, but with several subjects at once. The reason is simple. For children at this age, self-study is not a matter of course. On the contrary, they need the topics to be explained patiently and clearly, regardless of whether it is mathematics or seemingly easy geography, or biology.
While parents often search in vain to simply call their request and fear that it is an unrealistic request, at School Populo it has a clear name: Complex tutoring.
In practice, it works by combining several subjects into one class – tutoring. It is usually a combination of the Czech language and mathematics, which are supplemented by, for example, geography, biology, or English.
“Under normal circumstances, there is not much interest in this type of tutoring service. At the moment, however, our demand for complex tutoring has greatly increased. Since the beginning of March, we have registered 45 requests for complex tutoring in Brno. Just to give you an idea, only 7 of these clients required this type of teaching before the schools closed. In the last three weeks, the demand for complex tutoring has increased almost seven times, and we have received 38 new demands for complex tutoring,” says Adéla Hronová, director of the Brno branch.
Although it may seem that it is impossible to find a teacher for these combinations, the opposite is true. After all, even at the lower level of primary school, it is a common practice for one teacher to teach several subjects. Moreover, in the case of School Populo, this form of learning is provided through individual tutors (so-called generalists).
Lessons are planned for the selected subjects. If it is necessary to study any of them more in depth, more lessons are dedicated to this particular subject in agreement with the coordinator. This flexibility in planning the course offers the parents a guarantee that all the topics will actually be covered in all aspects, i.e. comprehensively.
This is also confirmed by the experience of Markéta Otýpková from the Centre for Communication with Clients and the Processing of New Inquiries at School Populo: “Parents do not primarily demand improving grades. Their goal of tutoring is to help master new topics and do homework correctly.”
Thus, complex tutoring represents an opportunity for parents to provide their children with effective help with the studies topics. At the same time, it allows them to spend time together with their children other than just preparing for school.
When a sudden change in the system reveals new possibilities
The change caused by the current social situation in education has not only brought us concerns this school year will end up.
On the contrary, it turns out that just as schools approach alternative ways of education, this situation also reveals previously unused possibilities of tutoring, which more than ever can be a significant help and, at the same time, facilitation for pupils and parents.