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At some point in their lives, most people need a helping hand to get them over stumbling blocks where they cannot achieve their aims on their own. This usually happens during the schooling or university years, where extra help might be needed in a particular subject which is just not ‘gelling’ properly, and there is the fear that you might fall behind the rest of the class or even fail that class. No person that I know is an expert or skilled in every area of life, which is normally not a problem, unless it is a specific subject which is important to your educational or work needs. This is why we need tutors and mentors to assist in bringing us up to speed and enabling us to meet our needs, not just for the immediate future, but for the longer-term.
Both tutors and mentors work with children, adolescents and adults. Tutors tend to focus on short-term outcomes, whereas mentors work on building quality relationships which encourage and bring about lifelong learning. Whilst both of these specialists may work in similar fields, their focus is not on the same outcome.
A tutor usually works on a private one-to-one academic level with their subject, providing coaching, education, guidance and training as required. Since the relationship is highly individualised, the speed, approach and format of this coaching is tailored to suit each student and their particular needs. It is a very direct-oriented professional relationship, dedicated to the achievement of a particular goal, for instance, mastering the maths syllabus in order to pass the required exams at the end of the school year. In order to do this, a tutor will break down the subject into achievable goals, offer individual teaching and provide continuous feedback and encouragement to keep the student motivated whilst achieving the desired outcomes. Tutors must be highly proficient and knowledgeable in the subjects that they teach.
A mentor, on the other hand, is more of a counsellor to an individual or group of people, offering guidance and advice, and acting as a kind of guru. Mentors are focused on developing lifelong learning skills. Mentors may sometimes be allocated to incoming staff members in a company for the first few days or weeks, showing them their responsibilities, explaining the company culture, introducing them to other staff members and helping them to settle into their new jobs. A mentor may undertake training responsibilities but the overall aim extends far beyond the immediate or short-term impact of their initial involvement.
A mentor may focus on specific areas, such as :
All of these responsibilities are aimed at long-term achievements and outcomes, and many mentoring activities will result in lifelong learning and more extensive ongoing availability of choices and further career exploration for the student. Mentors often share their own life experiences to subtly teach behaviour and moral lessons in an indirect but extremely effective manner. A mentor who can gently instill respect in his or her students will be able to effect positive results without intrusive ‘push-teaching’. It is these lessons that often last for a lifetime, not just for a short-term period.
Both tutors and mentors can be found through searches on the internet. If you are looking for an online tutor or mentor, this is one of the best ways to find one. If you are looking particularly for a tutor or mentor who can deliver personal on-site attendance, then Uptasker is one of your best options for finding the right person, as this search site lists in geographical areas, thereby saving a great deal of time. Uptasker is also brilliant in that it provides online ratings and customer reviews, enabling you to gauge the quality of any potential service provider. Another great feature of the site is that you can obtain quotes from various providers and get a good idea of hourly costs, which helps when you are working on a budget. You can approach schools or universities in your area and see if they have any suggestions, or place employment adverts yourself. You can also check newspapers and the Yellow Pages. Probably one of the best methods of finding the right person would be through word of mouth and personal recommendation, where you can obtain reviews of previous results obtained, as well as the personality of the mentor or tutor.
When deciding to hire a tutor or mentor, either for yourself or your children, you need to be sure that you know what results you are hoping to achieve from the sessions. If you simply want someone to assist in mastering a difficult subject in order to pass exams or just get a rung higher on the employment ladder, then a tutor would be your best choice. If you are looking for more long-term guidance which may even extend for a few years, or are looking for a skilled counsellor who can coax a better skillset out of your children - or employees - through guidance, advice and encouragement, then a mentor would be an ideal choice. For more tips, see our tutoring and mentoring articles.