By Luke Smith
Fun Fact: Did you know Julius Caesar cried before the statue of Alexander the Great? At 32 years of age, the same age Alexander was when he died, the legendary Caesar reflected on his accomplishments. In his sobbing he claimed that he could never be as good of a general or accomplish what Alexander did.
You’ve heard of Alexander the Great right? You know… the young man from Macedonia that started conquering the Mediterranean at 16 years of age. After replacing his father, King Phillip II, Alexander united the Greek States that had been independent (and even at war with each other) for centuries. After this unification, he formed an army and marched east to confront the mighty Persian Empire. Sounds like dozens of other guys from Ancient History, right? Well, that would be wrong. Alexander marched into Persia with an Army of approximately 30,000 – 50,000 men against a foe who commanded over 2 million. He was able to win battle after battle by not only being a powerful leader, master strategist and military commander, but also by understanding the importance of critical thinking outside of standard military tradition. Alongside his army, he brought with him scientists, engineers, and philosophers who were able to use the elements to their advantage in ways no other military commander ever had. How could such a young man with little experience have such intellectual command?
After struggling and a general disinterest in schooling, King Phillip II and his wife Olympias elected to forgo the traditional stoic academies and instead sought 1 on 1 instruction for their son Alexander. This private tutor was from Athens; perhaps you have heard of him; his name was Aristotle. As a young boy, Alexander was restless. Aristotle was able to adjust his curriculum and teaching style to accommodate Alexander, and in doing so was able to teach little Alexander in ways that he would grow and use that information throughout his life – particularly his military career. After Alexander defeated the Persian Empire, he freed all the Persian slaves and welcomed them as citizens of the Greek Empire, despite strong opposition from his generals. None of this would have been possible had Alexander followed the path of his father or other military generals; it was his ability to use his mind more than his sword that allowed him to unify the Greek states, defeat the Persian Empire, and create the Greek Empire. This is just a single example, albeit a pretty remarkable one, of the advantages of 1 on 1 instruction.
The traditional school environment includes a single teacher responsible for providing instruction to 20 or more students. The teacher must create a single curriculum in line with district standards and proceed with instruction to his/her class. It is impossible for him/her to accommodate every students’ academic needs and thus must use tactics such as standardized tests to assess the progress of their students. There are so many excellent teachers out there that will have success with the majority of their class. Unfortunately, there are less than inspiring teachers out there as well who will pass the class without actually challenging them resulting in a less disciplined and overall, less academically talented group moving from grade to grade. In the best-case scenario, with an excellent instructor, there are still many kids who will not be on par with the rest because this excellent teachers teaching style does not cooperate with their learning style.
Furthermore, even the successful students will not be able to reach their full potential coming out of this traditional school environment, as time is simply not allocated to them for a teacher to have the chance to bring it out. 1 on 1 instruction solves this problem. Whether it be in a supplemental capacity or a full private 1 on 1 schooling regimen, a 1:1 ratio allows the instructor to focus all of their attention to their student so they may eradicate the students’ weak points and bring out their strongest qualities that will guide them throughout their lives. Aristotle was able to use little Alexanders energy and excitement about being a warrior to teach him how science – understanding the elements, philosophy, and mathematics could make him the best warrior that ever lived. A private tutor will do the same for your child; by using their dreams as the end point, a private instructor can show him/her real-world examples where reading, writing, history, science, and math can help them reach their goals with the intellectual capacity to do anything they set their mind to. Hopefully those goals will be something besides conquering the Mediterranean and the Persian Empire!