A somewhat recent and increasingly common model for tutoring services involves a person with a computer, a chic business name, and a glossy website acting as a clearing house for parents and tutors. In many instances, no one at the tutoring service actually meets parents, students, or even the tutors. They simply match a student’s need with someone who has identified themselves as a tutor, and once the connection is completed progress, results, and client satisfaction aren’t high on the list of concerns. If questions or problems arise the tutoring service may be ill-equipped to respond and adequately address the issue. Moreover, the tutor often meets with the student in public locations such as libraries and cafés, where various distractions diminish the focus and productivity of the session.
By contrast, Next Level Learning is a professional tutoring service with a fully equipped learning center in Midtown Manhattan. Our instructors are carefully chosen based on an array of credentials such as education, experience, aptitude, subject knowledge, personality and, most important, teaching ability. After a candidate is properly vetted and deemed qualified to teach at Next Level, he or she enters our training program to demonstrate, develop, and refine subject knowledge and proficiency. Once the candidate completes training and becomes an instructor, his or her work with students is continuously monitored and supervised by our directors to ensure the most effective techniques, methods, and approach are implemented and sustained with each student.
Formal supervision of instructors’ sessions provides a means for our highly experienced management team to ensure students are achieving the results we expect. Sometimes we recommend adjustments to tutoring sessions that improve the efficacy of our work with students. Other times we are primarily confirming that the scope and progress of our instructors’ work with their students is satisfactory.
Occasionally parents ask what school an instructor attended and we explain what years of experience has proven – that the school from which a candidate graduated isn’t nearly as meaningful or impactful as the candidate’s ability to teach and effectively impart knowledge to students. It would probably sound impressive if all our instructors graduated from Ivy League schools, but it turns out not to be a key factor in becoming an outstanding teacher.
All of us have had well qualified teachers and professors who were bright and driven but not particularly effective teachers. Having expertise in a given subject is imperative, of course, but being able to teach what one knows to another person is an entirely different proposition. Also, teaching in a one-on-one setting is a very different dynamic than teaching in a classroom setting with multiple students. At Next Level we don’t just hire smart, articulate people – we ensure they are either exceptional teachers or capable of being developed into becoming exceptional. Next Level instructors are patient, understanding, enthusiastic, and skilled at using positive reinforcement to motivate their students.
Rather than presume students will fit into a predesigned tutoring template, our instructors are trained to customize their approach to accommodate each individual student’s temperament, learning style, aptitude, and level of motivation. Every student is unique and our approach to each student must also be unique. For example, some students benefit from a gentler, more patient or less structured style, while others respond better to a firmer, more intensive approach. There are myriad ways to to manage tutoring sessions, and our instructors are trained to vary their approach to ensure we are using the ideal methods and strategy for individual students that enable them to achieve their greatest potential.
All tutoring takes place either at our Midtown learning center on Seventh Avenue near Carnegie Hall or in the homes of our students. Instructors never meet with students in cafés or other public spaces. We also meet students via video conferencing.