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Math tutors must understand the branches of mathematics. Tutoring was always a popular profession, but after 2020, there is an even greater demand for tutors. 2020 was a difficult year for educators due to Covid-19. Schools were forced to unexpectedly shut down, leaving teachers scrambling to adapt to remote lesson plans. To make matters worse, many schools kept changing their policies, adding to the overall chaos. Because of this, many students had a difficult time learning the materials, turning towards tutors for additional assistance.
Math tutors are often in higher demand than other tutors because many mathematical concepts are directly connected. If you do not understand one concept, you are more likely to struggle with future lessons. Math is also taught at all levels, with many different math lessons available in later grades. Some math tutors focus specific grades or subjects, while others cover a broad range. Listed below are common subjects to tutor and advice for creating a customized lesson plan.
Branches of Mathematics
Math is divided into many subjects, but each subject falls under one of five branches. The first is arithmetic, which is taught to elementary students. Arithmetic includes basic mathematical concepts, including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
The next branch is algebra. Algebra is advanced arithmetic, where unknown variables are added to mathematic formulas. Algebra includes many of the fundamental principles and formulas which are used in advanced lessons. Both middle and high school programs cover algebra lessons, with middle school classes sometimes referred to as pre-algebra.
Another high school branch is geometry. Geometry focuses on calculating the shapes, size and general measurements of different figures. The last two branches cover advanced mathematical concepts. These are normally optional in high school. The first is an expansion on geometry, trigonometry. Trigonometry focuses on advanced formulas involving triangles.
The final mathematical branch is analytical. This branch focuses on studying rates of changes based on different quantities. Calculus is the most common subject taught in analytical math.
Additional Math Subjects
Each branch of mathematics has additional lessons. Number theory is part of arithmetic. Number theory includes teaching the difference between even and odd numbers, prime numbers and touching on concepts like squaring or cubing numbers.
Algebra covers many other lessons. Pre-algebra begins with solving variables. As students advance to high school, they also learn how to solve equations with inequalities, graphic linear equations and quadratic functions.
While the basics of angles is taught in both arithmetic and algebra, geometry focuses on advanced angle formulas. Differential geometry takes algebraic formulas and applies them to geometry. Students also learn how to read different diagrams showing real world examples of geometric concepts.
In high school math, trigonometry largely focuses on sine, cosine and tangents. In high school, analytical math includes lessons on differentiation and integration. It also includes lessons from previous branches, such as solving geometric equations using integrating functions.
Developing Tutoring Methods
Understanding math is necessary to be a tutor, but in order to succeed, you must be able to share your knowledge with your students. How you teach students largely depends on their age. With elementary students, tutors often focus on making learning fun. This includes using games, visual aids or props in your lessons.
It is also important to understand what kind of lessons the student normally learns at school. Do not be afraid to ask for previous tests or lessons. Another option is to reach out directly to the teacher. This is not only a good way to learn about what material is currently being taught, but also a networking opportunity. If other students are having trouble, the teacher can recommend your tutoring services.
If you are teaching older students, you can also look at practice SAT or ACT tests. Many practice tests as well as study guides are available online and cover the standard materials high school students are expected to know.
Knowing where the student is struggling is important, but so is understanding why the student is having trouble. Before you start planning your lessons, make sure to speak with the student to find out why they are having trouble. In some cases, the issue is not with the material specifically, but how it is presented. For example, some students excel at solving traditional equations, but get confused with written questions.
You are not required to get certified to be a math tutor. If you already have a background in either teaching or mathematics, you do not need a tutoring certification. If you do not have a degree, getting tutor certification is an excellent way to boost your credentials. The two biggest organizations for tutoring are the National Tutoring Association (NTA) and the Association for the Tutoring Profession (ACTP). Many community colleges or vocational schools also offer tutoring classes.
Tutor certification classes are short, ranging from 10 to 30 hours, followed by a final exam. Classes cost between $400 to $500. As a certified tutor, it is easier to negotiate for higher rates.