Confidence. Dictionary definition: full trust, belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing.
Confidence is one of the most difficult things to build in a child and as adults we have many more hang ups about our own confidence. For children it’s about a whole host of things that we’ve forgotten about, from fitting in, succeeding, passing a test, making a friend, performing on a stage or just putting their hand up in class.
This week there was a programme on BBC Radio 4 ‘You and Yours’, about private tutoring and how it can make a difference both by supporting a child’s existing schooling and ongoing education, but also about them gaining confidence. It was an interesting piece, but I felt it could have concentrated slightly more on the confidence building aspect and less on the cost of a private tutor.
Andrew Halls, the head of King’s College School in Wimbledon wrote a thought provoking piece in last week’s Sunday Times about tutoring and getting your child into your chosen secondary school. He suggested that those who intend to sit for grammar schools “start planning in Year 4; register with a tutor at the same time; start practising exam papers no later than Year 5.”
Having studied both pieces and knowing children in education the way I do, so much of what we do at Teatime Tutors is about giving your child the confidence to simply ‘have a go’. It doesn’t matter if they make mistakes. It doesn’t matter if they get it wrong. What matters is that they are trying their very best and have the right support behind them to correct those mistakes in a positive and complementary way. As Mr Halls says, practising those exam papers does build confidence. Seeing the way questions are put and having a prior knowledge of what might come up prepares and reduces the shock level when your child is eventually sitting in that examination room.
More importantly, you must know your child. It’s all very well pushing for your old alma mater, the school near you or the one at the top of the league tables, but will this suit your child? If they get in, will they continue to flourish?
Teatime Tutors not only helps children in succeeding in their entrance exams, but we consult with parents and their children to ensure that their decision making is beneficial to both parties and the confidence they’re given remains with them well into their secondary school of choice.