There is no one-size-fits-all formula that will guarantee success, every time, for every student, in every subject. Problems arise in math and science classes because the presentation a teacher uses in front of a class of 25 students does not actually work for every individual learner. And usually there is a world of difference between the way a textbook describes a topic and the way the mind actually applies the underlying idea to a new problem on paper. Every student I encounter, then, has unique strengths, weaknesses, and background knowledge that give rise to a unique set of learning needs.
As a one-on-one tutor, I try to be as REACTIVE as possible to the student in front of me each hour. This means that I carefully observe what the student already can do, and tailor my instruction to build on whatever understanding is already there. Sometimes it means giving a big-picture overview to show how all the topics in a chapter fit together into one larger idea. Sometimes it means backing up to correct ingrained mistakes before moving forward to the night’s homework. Sometimes it means finding an alternate presentation of the material that flows better with the way the student intuitively thinks about the subject.
In every case, one of my strengths as a tutor is quickly finding WHAT WORKS. My students are often surprised by how confident they feel about the material after one of our sessions, when it seemed so overwhelming earlier in the day. That *CLICK* moment when the eyes light up and everything falls into place is the most satisfying part of my job.