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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring interviews with Lhisha Bennett, one of the best online tutors in the world.


My name is Lisa Bennett of Online Tutor Pro. I am a math and science tutor.


What are the benefits of a student having a really good online tutor?


It depends on the student. Nearly all students have improved self-esteem and self-confidence. Most students feel better about themselves.


The outcome after tutoring is that some of them have improved marks so some people will go from failing to passing.


So people will be on the brink of passing (around 50%) and will achieve a mark of 65% or 70%. Then, of course, we have some students who are already achieving an A and we help them achieve an A+.


But what we really do is review the student strengths and weaknesses and really really encourage their strengths in order to help them develop their strength even more with their specific skills.


Example? Okay, they don’t understand integers. Integers are positive and negative whole numbers. Then we work on that so even if you’re in grade 10 and understanding how to multiply divide add and subtract integers as a prerequisite skills for math 10, and we  periodically go back to the material at the grade 7 level because we’re also working on current material.


We always work to uncover and then clarify the concepts the student doesn’t understand. We go back to the grade 7 level. Being adept at algebraic manipulation is essential for success in high school, and we don’t mind going back to the grade 6, 7, 8 level to ensure the student understands how to do this.


That can be necessary for physics or chemistry as well as for math. So we have to practice and reinforce algebraic manipulation.





Weaknesses can also include lack of motivation and we always avoid the word lazy. Always.


Boy, that word…why don’t I use it? Because that’s a label which doesn’t help students at all.


At most two or three parents in 10 years of tutoring hundreds of students who called their child lazy. So most parents do not feel so negatively about their children.


But what could appear as laziness has various explanations and various solutions. Well there are the children, young adults, teenagers, who are not committed and are not motivated and just not interested and we won’t be able to turn it around. They just are not interested.


I will be to help them pass and just convey to them the importance of achieving this specific goal of getting this math credit and move on.


Why they feel so apathetic or discouraged or disheartened? It generally isn’t laziness. It’s generally that they sit down and look at the work they have to do. They want to do their homework, they’re at home and they look at it, and it doesn’t make any sense.


This can be associated with wanting to try but ending up slamming their book on the table. I know since students have told me they’d thrown the book across the room and it hits the wall. More than one student has done that and told me that, and I believe them.

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Students have told me about looking for videos on the internet, looking for help, but it doesn’t help for several reasons. One of those reasons is they don’t know specifically what to look for. (CHECK OUT OUR LEARNING RESOURCES.)


They’re not getting answers to their specific questions exactly as they want to know. So that’s where they’re at.


If students think they lack ability, and they won’t improve, and they label themselves as stupid. So every time they sit down and they look at this book or if they’re in class and they’re trying to understand it they think, “I am stupid.”


So rather than facing that every single time they attempt it, they say to themselves, “I am stupid.”


Imagine if you try 200 times a day, and you have to tell yourself you’re stupid 100 times a day. So they start to avoid it in class. They put their earphones in and they text away.


They don’t listen to the teacher at home. They don’t do their homework or they text away, and they won’t talk to their parents. They don’t ask for help because they don’t realize that they’re not stupid and there’s something that can be done.


With these students who have already closed down and think that they’re stupid, they’ve made an attempt to look at the material in class and on their own, and they can’t figure it out, and they have come to the conclusion they’re stupid, then usually what happens is the parent will want to bring them to tutoring.


The parent realizes there’s a problem. The parent brings them to tutoring and doesn’t know what to do.


What we usually reveal is that of course they’re not as stupid as they think. Usually there are fundamental skills missing. This is usually where we have to go back 3, 4, 5 years in terms of grade levels so if they’re in grade 10 math, usually we have to go back to grade 7, grade 6.




I usually have to explain the basics of algebra or the basics of division, the basics of doing operations with integers (which are positive and negative whole numbers).


Once we start to clear up the basics and how they lead into the present material, the fog starts to clear and the student can now (with these new skills they didn’t have before that they didn’t realize they were missing) approach the questions that they’re working on in class and they understand or at least they have the basis of understanding it, and all that they’re struggling with now is the current material, which they can ask the teacher about or they can ask me about and then they start to learn the current material.


What is exciting is that they’re willing to sit down and look at it because they’re at the point where they understand some of it, and maybe they don’t understand this new part, but it’s not so so terrible.


Then when they start to crack a few current problems all of a sudden their motivation and their self-confidence and their work ethic start to shift. So what appeared to be laziness in the first instance where they weren’t willing to do any homework or go get help from the teacher or pay attention in class is now completely gone because all the sudden they’re excited about the fact that can actually learn it and understand it and they’re going to do their homework.


They’re going to pay attention in class, and ask questions in class. They’re going to go for extra help with the teacher.


So it’s probably one or two hours a week of tutoring, but what happens is if they understand it now (the subject) and they’re engaged in class, and there’s any extra help with their teacher, and doing homework…so it’s like adding 20 hours a week of actual work. Those one or two hours of tutoring.


Now their math teacher notices improvement and a change in attitude, and when the teacher understands that they have a good attitude and are willing to work hard, then the teacher comes into play as part of the team as well.


99% of teachers want to help students learn. They want to teach them. They love to teach. When they see the student really trying, I don’t care if you’re getting 35%, they’re going to spend extra time on you in class, extra time on you at lunch hour, because this is why they wanted to teach.


Now everyone’s on board: Parents are happy, the student is working hard, and the student now has a better work ethic, and this thing called laziness is gone.


It doesn’t mean they’re going to get 95%, but maybe they’re getting 65%. Now everyone’s happy, and most importantly the student doesn’t think they’re stupid.


They might be motivated to take future math classes because they can improve so much in one class.


That is why my online tutoring can really help students get better grades.


(Lhisha Bennett offers a free demo lesson.)