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Tutoring teens

Tutoring options give immigrant teens an advantage

Sophia Kim

For Darang Lee, a 17-year-old immigrant from Korea, her evenings after school are rather busy with the usual teenage activities like homework, socializing with friends and stressing about the future.

But like most immigrant teens, Lee has the added burden of after-school tutoring classes.

As a high school student in her final year, the pressures of achieving academic success are paramount. And as many immigrant teens from traditional immigrant parents would confess, the one sure way to a good life, it appears, is by doing well at school.

It’s no surprise then, that Lee is now spending her afternoons and evenings having her education supplemented by a private tutor.

The range of tutoring subjects varies for each student. While some students like Lee — who has been in Canada for more than half of her life — are content with a few tutoring classes a week in math and French, other students, especially more recent immigrant youths, are benefitting from daily tutoring in social studies, English and sciences.

Not that all students are tutored in academic courses.

Students aspiring to be artists — like Min Lee, an 18-year-old immigrant also from Korea — spend most of their evenings in an art studio where a private tutor will guide them in their portfolio preparation.

Despite the differences in the subjects, the effect of tutoring seems to be similar for all students.

“I find tutoring is really helpful,” says Darang Lee, “because I can get ahead and get a better mark.”

Unfortunately, like all good plans, there is one potential drawback of tutoring — boredom in school.

“If I’m too ahead with tutoring, I get bored in school,” says Darang Lee.

However, it seems as though the benefits of tutoring far outweigh the potential disadvantage as even non-immigrant students are picking up tutoring classes after school.

“Even my non-immigrant friends have tutors for some subject,” explains Darang Lee.

Inah Kim, a middle-school math teacher in Korea who has been tutoring math in Canada for more than a decade, explains the benefits of tutoring have a more significant side effect.

“Many immigrant students have a hard time obtaining good grades [in topics such as] English or social studies because of the language barrier,” explains Kim.

“So by having a private tutor teach them the material before the school teacher does, the students are given a better chance of getting an A. This helps them go to university.”

So with no lack of private tutors and tutoring schools in Canada, tutoring might just be the advantage your teenager needs.