Tutoring, which is designed to be supplemental, is all but essential to low-income students if they want to succeed.
Poor students need tutoring more than any other population, and will benefit from tutoring more than any other population. With tutoring, they have the opportunity to make enormous strides while compensating for the shortcomings of their schools. Even the worst behaved students in a classroom tend to function well one-on-one or in small groups, since acting out is often a defense designed to hide academic weakness.
Additionally, tutoring provides a consistent, nurturing environment with an educated adult role model. Students affected by poverty often lack stable homes. Tutoring provides a safe learning space.
More than any content though, tutoring provides students with the essential learning skills that their peers with more resources acquire at a young age. Succeeding in a difficult environment takes self-sufficiency and dedication, and without basic organizational, time management, note-taking, and research skills – just to name a few – low-income students face an uphill battle in their quest to obtain an education.
High quality tutoring needs to be available to low-income students. Without the support of a strong tutor, poor students face a struggle if they wish to graduate from high school prepared to attend college.
As I often used to say when teaching, it’s hard to follow the path if you can’t see the path. Impoverished communities tend to be cut off, with few if any educated role models for aspiring students. College isn’t talked about, and doesn’t feel accessible. A good tutor, by providing guidance and support, can make higher education an accessible reality for low-income students.