One of my friends is smart and beautiful. She runs her own travel agency, planning fabulous vacations for her growing number of clients while taking care of her family and managing the everyday affairs of their home. In short, she’s a very capable individual who knows how to get things done.

When it comes to helping her two grade school children with their schoolwork, however, she is at a complete loss. The three of them would spend hours at the dinner table, and still not get everything done. At the end of the day, she would be completely frustrated, but she didn’t want to give up. And so, she would try again the next day with pretty much the same results.

It was her husband who finally stepped in, and asked her to get a tutor for their children. The two kids were not doing badly in their academics. But because they were in a highly competitive school, the youngsters needed all the help that they can get.

This is a story that I come across at our tutorial centers almost every day.

As parents, we want to be the one to guide our children in their school life. We want to be the one they come running to when they have questions. Unfortunately, not all parents are good teachers.

What does it take to be a good teacher?

Teaching is a gift, and unfortunately, not everyone has been blessed with it.

The good teacher is passionate about his subject of choice and is a master of it. Because he knows his subject inside out, he can simplify it, making it easier for his students to understand.

The good teacher can breathe life to complex materials through stories, illustrations, and other materials. He can explain concepts with such wit, humor, and enthusiasm that even the disinterested student can’t help but get curious.

The good teacher encourages his students to do their best. Because the good teacher gives his best, he expects his students to give their best as well. The good teacher knows how to motivate his students, encouraging them to set goals and helping them to reach those goals.

The good teacher challenges his students to think outside the box. He pushes his students to see concepts in a new light, enabling them to look at things from different perspectives.

The good teacher encourages independence. He will guide his students toward the path to academic excellence—instilling in them discipline and diligence, and developing in them the proper study habits—but he will not do the hard work for them. That’s because the good teacher knows that the best gift that he can ever give his students is a love for learning.

Why should you get a professional tutor?

There are some parents who can help their kids finish their homework and study for their long exams, but there are also some parents who just can’t. And it’s not because they don’t want to, it’s simply because they don’t know how.

Here’s a question: When there’s a problem with the electrical wiring in your house, do you fix it yourself? Or do you call a professional electrician to take a look? You call the professional, right? You know that fixing electrical wiring isn’t exactly your specialty, so why dabble with it and risk putting your house on fire?

You can look at tutoring in the same way. Some parents can teach, and some don’t. If teaching is not your specialty, then why dabble with it and risk putting your kids in constant misery and yourself in endless frustration?

The sooner parents realize this fact, the sooner they can get real help for their children.

As parents, our expertise is in loving our children. It is our job to wake them up with a kiss and nourish them with deliciously nutritious meals. It is our job to be there when they bruise their knees or when they get their hearts broken. It is our job to inspire them to go after their wildest of dreams and fill their spirits with the happiest of thoughts. Most of all, it is our job to love our children with all of our hearts.