October 3rd, 2022.
One aspect of tutoring that attracts aspiring educators is the extraordinarily low barrier to entry. Answer an ad for subject help or test prep, and suddenly you’ve become a paid tutor. No wonder competition is so fierce out there.
However, if you are a true professional, you belong in a different class than the dilettantes and day-jobbers that populate the tutoring boards. How do you tell the difference? Deep thinker Shane Parrish (who I also referenced in issue #4 if you’re keeping track) clarifies The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals, which includes the following salient distinctions:
Amateurs stop when they achieve something.
Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning.
Amateurs have a goal.
Professionals have a process.
Amateurs value isolated performance. Think about the receiver who catches the ball once on a difficult throw.
Professionals value consistency. Can I catch the ball in the same situation 9 times out of 10?
Amateurs give up at the first sign of trouble and assume they’re failures.
Professionals see failure as part of the path to growth and mastery.
Amateurs focus on being right.
Professionals focus on getting the best outcome.
Amateurs think good outcomes are the result of their brilliance.
Professionals understand when outcomes are the result of luck.
Amidst the many other differentiators, one resonates most with me:
Amateurs show up sometimes.
Professionals show up every day.
Your ability and experience strongly influence your effectiveness as an educator, but neither trait is enough to make you a true professional. Amateurs think being good is, in itself, the ultimate qualification, while professionals strive to always get better.
Getting paid to teach isn’t what defines a professional in my book. You have to show up every single day with the will to improve your craft and–through skill, experience, and emotional intelligence–improve your students.