We use Google Hangouts as the main communication platform for the live video-conference sessions. While many of you will already have a Google+ account, or Gmail account, we can easily assist you to set your computer/device ready to begin. The Hangouts platform allows the presenter (or others in the group) to share their screen, so the tutor will often display questions, or use numbers/diagrams on a drawing device (Wacom tablet or similar pen device). These appear clearly on the student’s screens without them having to do anything.
For school students, we suggest having a Gmail account that the parent also accesses and preferably be kept just for the purposes of tutoring. This makes for simpler communication between parties and tends to prevent unforeseen errors in email communications. Students are allowed to email one question per week outside of the tutoring session if they feel the need. Tutors will usually reply within 24 hours with a suggestion/solution to a similar question (we don’t encourage answering specific questions for assignments).
During the live sessions, students will need a notepad, pencil and a standard cm grid book which we will usually supply upon enrolment. Students who are familiar with switching screens and multi-tasking on a computer can also use blank documents to record their work and keep track of sessions in folders. We will occasionally attach a worksheet which students will need to open and save (and sometimes print off). While we can talk younger students through this process, it will be helpful if students are competent in saving documents… most are these days!
We also strongly suggest that each student keeps a folder labelled SMT on the desktop of their computer and back this folder up on a portable hard-drive.
PARENTS..... Ah! The real key to education (we only fine-tune)!
We generally try to see both you and the students during the initial assessment/interview process. Meeting in-person helps establish a better relationship for all parties. Whilst the real-time video-tutoring works exceptionally well for busy families and is our business model, we like to see our clients in person, wherever possible. Attending an assessment session near your home is also helpful for placing your child in the correct program (although we can discuss this by video-conference). To reserve your child’s place early, you can seek an on-line assessment prior to the advertised assessment day in your area and just attend a “meet and greet” session.
Different parents have quite different perceptions about how well their child is progressing in mathematics. This is understandable depending on factors such as your own abilities in math, the particular school, type of class, teacher’s comments, or previous exposure to specific programs your child has been involved in. Enrolling your child with SMT ensures that you get unbiased, honest and accurate advice as to your child’s strengths and areas of need. Please see our Code of Conduct.
Hopefully your child is happy enough to “try out” tutoring and you don’t have to “tie them to a chair” to begin the process. We find most students realise if they are having problems (or are bored by a class program that doesn’t challenge them) and are more than happy to put in that little extra effort. If your child is reluctant, we suggest you “coerce” them positively to try at least three sessions of tutoring. Most will have overcome any hesitancy by then but if your child is unhappy after three weeks of the program, it is probably a good time to reassess the situation. We expect that most students will only access our program once a week. There may be some instances where a student may benefit by accessing more than one session per week. Again, this can be discussed with us if there are suitable options.
Parents of students being home-schooled, who would rather be mentored themselves and then continue teaching their children, are catered for. We assess your needs through continual discussion and work with you in order to meet Government requirements and provide a quality education in mathematics for your child. The sessions are generally programmed during school hours. Suitable times can usually be negotiated. Individual mentoring works best but if several parents wished to “band together” as a group with similar aged children, we could facilitate that.
Your interest, support and encouragement is always appreciated by your children and no doubt your concern for them has brought you to this website. While our tutoring sessions won’t allow much time for personal “banter”, you can be assured that myself and any future tutors will respect your children and do our utmost to help them become more confident human beings who will hopefully love mathematics if they don’t already.