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Tutoring to Success?

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest opinion blog by Emily Zheng, a student at Dana Middle School.

Tutoring schools in Arcadia are like flies over a carcass. Tutoring school by tutoring school, Arcadia is building an infamous reputation, and soon enough Arcadia will have more “educational” centers than historical landmarks.

Emily Zheng

About three years ago PBS broadcast a report on tutoring. On what city did PBS focus? It’s not hard to guess — the one and only Arcadia. What happened to the famous Santa Anita Racetrack? What happened to our famous Arboretum and peacocks? Yes, they are still here, but now tutoring schools have overshadowed Arcadia’s reputation.

Is tutoring really necessary for success? When you think about it, many people with no tutoring history still excel in grades and other activities. Extra unnecessary work compounds the already overwhelming schoolwork, raises stress levels and reduces fun times. Last, but not least, students never have the chance to work by themselves, always pressured by tutoring centers and parents. How are they going to cope in college?

There is a small possibility for tutoring to have a positive effect but with the reputation it has right now, tutoring is not even close to the answer to success. The reason why most parents send their child to tutoring school is for the children to learn more than the average school teaches, aiming above and beyond their child’s normal learning level.  This is a good goal to set for a child, but there’s a negative side to it: what if the child doesn’t agree? Most children will start rebelling and will not be motivated to do well in the tutoring center.

However, tutoring is not the only option. Many people across the world have never been tutored, and they can still do extremely well with grades and other activities. For example, this past school year, without tutoring, I received straight A+’s. Is tutoring really that necessary?

Keeping up with school work is a tough job for everybody in middle and high school. Just imagine all the stress that a teenager copes with, whether it is trying to remember all the information for the upcoming tests or to just finish all the required schoolwork. Many high school students stay up until well past midnight, even up to two o’clock in the morning, to finish all of their homework. Now add superfluous homework which doubles the work of an average teenager. Not only would the teenager crack from the stress, but also he or she would become sleep deprived and would end up losing valuable learning time at school. I managed to keep a very good grade while still having free time to do many activities. You can only be a child or a teenager once; aren’t you supposed to enjoy life?

Tutoring schools usually restrict students to doing the work themselves; students never get to work with their own motivation. Teachers constantly nag students to do their homework and, like some parents, they give a “punishment” for bad grades and unfinished homework. However, I feel more self-motivated then parent-controlled. My father always said that failure is the mother of success. If students are never given the chance to do the homework by themselves and to learn from their own mistakes, how are they going to cope in college when they are left with nobody to guide them? Most students who get spoon-fed information will eventually have a hard time as independent adults. Tutoring not only puts students at this disadvantage in life but also sets students off into the real world with a severe handicap.

Even though tutoring was probably created for a good cause, over the past few years tutoring centers seem to be more like mercenaries then schools. Tutoring is not essential to success — many people who have no tutors succeed in life. Unnecessary work increases stress and makes students sleep deprived. And, finally, students need to learn how to be independent so they can survive in the real world. Just like the old saying, “You can lead the horse to the water, but only the horse can decide if it wants to drink.”

— By Emily Zheng


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