The Tutoring Hierarchy Of Needs

Most people will have heard of Maslow`s Hierarchy of Needs, the 5 (and sometimes 7)-tier pyramid of human necessities starting with the basic physiological requirements for life, through safety, a sense of belonging and self-esteem, and finally to a level of self-actualization that enhances and enriches the lifetime experience.

When researching people`s reasons for hiring tutors to supplement an education, interestingly a similar picture emerges, with basic requirements supporting its foundation, and an ultimate overall improvement in self at its pinnacle.


The first instance that may lead to consideration of hiring a tutor is usually concern over a child`s academic performance and/or the resources available to them. Within the classroom, children fall onto a spectrum where a few are noticeably struggling with their current workload, a few are excelling way beyond what is required of them, and the majority fall somewhere in the middle.

A parents primary concern is finding a to help a struggling child come up to speed with the rest of the grade level, hiring someone to help a more gifted child move further forwards than they would otherwise be able to in a large class where the teacher needs to focus on keeping everyone together, or simply helping an average child to get an edge.

This level may be further divided into simply helping the child master the basics with an early education professional, or at grade level targeted to a more specific area, often a Language Arts tutor in the case of a bilingual or immigrant child or a Math tutor for the many children who struggle to pick up initial Math concepts.
Above and beyond a concern for academic performance in general, the next stage at which tutoring might be considered is with a specific goal in mind. Here, a child may be preparing for competitive school or college entrance exams, or may even be concentrating on a specific subject or group of subjects with a definite career goal in mind.

Adults in mid-career change may also fall into this category of hiring an educator to help with a specific goal, such as an entry to nursing school, or law school.

Also within this group may be a concern for students identified as having special needs, and the focus changes from a general “keeping up with the class” to study techniques designed specifically to meet individual learning disabilities with a professionally trained tutor experienced in meeting those special needs, enabling each individual to maximize their potential and their future opportunities.
In the third tier there may no longer be a specific educational goal in mind, but a recognition of the personal satisfaction that comes from working with a tutor to become the best that they can be at a particular subject, or quite simply the sense of achievement in learning something new, or mastering something that eluded them years ago.

Adult tuition can again fall into this category. It is not just children who receive educational assistance. A growing trend in adults is to invest in the hobby of studying something they were never interested in or never able to study or grasp at school. Thanks in part to educational supplements such as the For Dummies series, adults are embracing life-long learning and searching for anything from Chemistry to Computing to Psychology!
As this diagram demonstrates, tutoring is not simply about crisis management, or putting out fires once they appear, but it is an investment in a process that leads to so much more than just a great GPA. It is an investment in a brighter future, which is in itself priceless.