In my few years of teaching, I have recognized the importance of introducing students to unfamiliar material and testing their understanding of it. What I have observed happens most frequently, even in the youngest of students, is that immediate fear.
The fear of not knowing what to say. The fear of answering with something that their classmates will laugh at. The fear of being wrong.
What I have equally observed is the stark contrast in the comfort levels of students that have been told that what they say matters and the students who haven't been encouraged to just love to learn. Students who have faith in their teachers and their support are easily more confident in the classroom and are excited to come to school every day.
That significant role of mentorship in the field of education is exactly why Ignite Tutoring came to be. Started by UCLA students — Kay Ovcharenko, Izzy Roshko, and Graziella Cannarsa — this tutoring company was based on the understanding that students simply learn better when they are encouraged by a mentor or a teacher. Ignite takes it further by pairing students with mentoring tutors attending UCLA who, in turn, get their students excited about higher education.
As Kay puts it, "In my experience as a tutor, I found that the students I fostered a true friendship with faired better and showed greater improvement than those I had a strict teacher/student relationship with. These tutees are the most responsive and it's easier to get them excited about school." And this is true whether those students are in a classroom or working one-on-one with a tutor.
As a tutee, myself, I've also recognized that the best tutors are the ones who keep themselves open to learning just as much as their tutees. Throughout high school, I was fortunate enough to have tutoring services through my school and a friend who tutored in math. However, just possessing the knowledge of a subject matter wasn't enough in a tutor. I quickly realized that I learn a little differently from my peers.
Although I could catch onto some material quickly, other subjects (especially math) required a great deal of explanation that I couldn't just get from memorization and practice sheets. What truly helped me start understanding the material and actually start enjoying myself in math was when my tutor would purposefully teach me in the way I understood best, whether it be through visuals or metaphor.
Ignite's founders came to the realization, after thinking over their own tutoring experiences, that they had yet to come across any tutoring companies that paired tutors and tutees according to personality. After having tried their share of tutoring, Kay, Izzy, and Graziella knew that they had the opportunity to have a real impact on members in their own LA community with the help of other UCLA students.
I have always remembered the techniques and patience I observed from my best tutors. Regardless of whether I was being tutored by my own math teacher during lunch or a friend during free period, the level of experience didn't matter. The most important element of that relationship was that my tutor adapted and challenged themselves to put in the extra effort to understand me and what I needed.
Ignite Tutoring is ready to serve the West LA community and are currently recruiting tutors for this upcoming academic year.
If you are interested in your own tutoring needs, you can go ahead and explore the Ignite Tutoring site and book your future mentor/tutor.
Ignite Tutoring is an LA-based company that was founded by Kay Ovcharenko, Izzy Roshko, and Graziella Cannarsa. We are all UCLA students with a passion for learning and teaching; we wanted to create a company that would cultivate not only an academic platform for tutoring but also a network of mentors.