We live in a community where being the best is less of an option and rather a requirement, a mindset. Conversations can be overheard of parents normalizing the use of unprescribed adderall or students discussing their formalized resumes. The push for success can partly be blamed on our environment. Marin, with its rolling hills and highly progressive public school education system, breeds winners. Within the highly competitive atmosphere, the pressure to keep up with one’s classmates and exceed the expectations is insurmountable and a student’s personal knowledge can only take them so far. Ranging from a college advisor to SAT or your average Math tutor, students utilize the brain power supplied by their instructors rather than their own.
While learning new study habits and having someone organize your time for you can seem like the best recourse, students are denied the ability to create and build their own skills, causing damaging effects when left alone to study. I admit, my parents hired me both an SAT and college tutor, but when I was left unattended I struggled to find my own voice in my applications, nit-picking the word choice and constantly asking myself “Is this even right?”
To keep up felt like a feat, and I found myself asking friends for guidance rather than relying on my own intuition.
And these tutors aren’t cheap. Tutor centers in the area offer private and group sessions, usually exceeding $100 an hour. Life works offers private sessions for $150/hour and a full SAT/ACT prep course for $1450. Although the area in which we live in is undeniably affluent, pockets throughout our county barely reach the average income of Marin. Point being, to some this cost may seem worth it for the hour, but to others this amount is coming right out of their family paycheck. You may wonder why these students would trade in their lunch money for an hour of “study time.” Well, with the rise of students with private tutors, one starts to feel a bit left out, believing if they do not get the help they need, their grades will suffer and college becomes more of a dream and less of a option. Now you might be thinking, that’s a big jump, no tutor to no college, but more often than not students perceive high school as the step towards their future, paving the way for the next four years of their lives. But it’s not just these students who believe this. From the moment you enter high school, there is the notion that one’s grades will be public to all colleges once the process of applying begins. Enter the need for a tutor.
But who really drives the need for a tutor? It usually isn’t the student, and it isn’t due to the schools failure of an education system. Tamalpais students are above the district and state subject proficiency levels and the school has a 99% graduation rate according to U.S News for 2018. Students are academically exceeding the standards here at Tam. If the school is producing above average students, then why the need for a tutor? The answer is the parents.
Parents of students live vicariously through their children’s success’ and often seek tutors when failures arise. Yet this unhealthy pattern repudiates students from learning from their own mistakes or accepting less than perfect scores.
Living in such an high pressure environment can make it difficult for students to relax. While a tutor can offer instant success, the cost of relying on their knowledge rather than your own can deny these students the life-long rewardence of learning from their own mistakes independently.