Tutor: Get On The Bus

In the afterglow–or, more accurately, recovery period–of the 3rd annual National Conference of the National Test Prep Association, a person cannot help but feel energized by the remarkably supportive, engaged, and damn entertaining community that has coalesced around test prep tutoring. Month by month, year by year, we’ve become a mighty force for advocacy, standards, and ethical practices in education.

This most recent conference was, to my knowledge, the largest gathering ever of independent educators in the test prep industry. Other segments of for-profit education such as EFL may, to their credit, boast even larger organized activities. However, if you are a professional tutor, you probably engage with most of your peers online and never meet in person.

If so, you’re missing out.

After the last NTPA National Conference, I wrote about how the most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. I’ve also extolled the benefits of constant professional development and how you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Building rich ecosystems of educators has become an obsession of mine because of the unlimited benefits these networks unlock. Why, then, do so many tutors try to go it alone?

You don’t need to dive into the biggest pool if you feel like a minnow among sharks. Create your own little node of like-minded tutors and start talking. It has been more apparent to me than it was this weekend that a large organization of tutors often emerges when smaller squads find each other and join forces. As more and more groups aggregate, the newer body grows to incorporate but never fully absorb those constituent collectives. And as members of larger organizations meet, they create new alliances, collaborations, and–best of all–friend groups.

One of the social highlights of our Dallas conference was an offsite BBQ dinner, for which we arranged to bus all of the attendees:

No matter how you feel about riding a bus, you can’t deny how much fun our colleagues appear to be having here. Consider this a literal expression of the figurative point:

  • Taking a bus alone can be depressing.
  • Taking a bus with a friend can be enjoyable.
  • Taking a bus with a huge group of friends can be a party!

Whether you join NTPA, Test Prep Tribe, and/or some other existing tutor group or choose to curate your own, make a commitment to taking your professional journey with old colleagues and new. We travel farther faster when we travel with friends. Get on the bus!

— Mike Bergin

Tutor Tips, Tools, and Thoughts

Ten maxims: What we’ve learned so far about how children learn to read by Dr. Reid Lyon
What are the fundamentals of successful reading mastery?

Intelligent brains take longer to solve difficult problems, shows simulation study
In case you thought jumping to conclusions was always a good thing.

The will to prepare to win
I joined Tyler York on the GRE Snacks podcast to describe how the “will to prepare to win” positively impacts testing success.

How the life of an online tutor can resemble that of an assembly line worker
I hope your practice is less stressful and more lucrative!

The trials and tribulations of tests
Nearly 13 million students–a record–are registered to take the gaokao exams this year.

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