It’s probably the best summer ever! You were able to hang out with your best girlfriends. You spent a week on the beach with your Mom, Dad, and sibs. You even managed to watch a couple of cool concerts.

In a few weeks, you’ll be in school again. While you look forward to seeing your friends, teachers, and secret crush, you dread the thought of tangling with Physics’again! Last year, you barely passed. You had to produce two special reports just to make up for failing the quarterly exams. Bummer!

This year, you want to do things differently. You want to be able to digest all those concepts but you need help. While your friends have always been helpful, you want more than a passing grade. You want to pass with flying colors. That’s why you need a professional: You need a tutor!

Mom and Dad would agree with your plan, you’re sure of it, but for things to really succeed, you want to help pick the tutor. After all, you’re the one who will be working closely with him. He has to be really good.

Nicole David, a seasoned tutor at Ahead Tutorial and Review Center, says tutors who teach teens must be more than intelligent. He must also be able to empathize with the teenager’s issues.

The tutor with empathy

A good tutor of teens, she says, must be able to lend an ear when you need to talk about your angst and hang-ups. Much like an Ate or a Kuya, she or he must be ready to offer advice when asked for it.

David explains, “No matter how hard the tutor tries to motivate the teen, if something is bothering him, he will never be able to focus. I tell my students I will keep our conversations strictly confidential.”

Her tutoring style is what you’d call friendly persuasion. David does not go straight to the lesson for the day the minute she warms her chair. She is genuinely interested in you. She’ll ask: “How has your day been?” “Are you feeling good today?”

You have all the time in the world to tell her about your crush, the boring teacher, the tons of homework, and your weird seatmate. And she won’t take it against you. She won’t even spill your darkest secrets. You’ll feel better after you’ve poured your heart out to her. And that’s when you can buckle down to work. You lighten up. You feel freer to ask him any question about the lesson. You can ask him to go back to a difficult subject.

The tutor with creativity

The inspired tutor can relate the rising cost of clothes, makeup, and accessories with basic economics and math equations. Is volleyball taking up most of your free time after class? Let the tutor analyze team scores and relate them to a word problem in Algebra. Before you know it, you’ve finished all your schoolwork. You can then spend the rest of your time chatting with friends or surfing the Net for the latest fashion trends.

When your parents come home, show them your progress. They’ll be more than happy to know what’s going on.

One last point: Yes, your tutor is a friend but when it comes to schoolwork, he’s your superior. Respect him. Do the homework he assigns you. Review the lessons he gives you. It’s for your own good.

“The word is balance,” David says. “The tutor may be the student’s friend. But he is also an authority figure.”

He can be all ears but he will also make you toe the line for your own good. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that, especially if you get amazing grades that will make Dad and Mom proud.

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