AJ Tutoring Blog

Connecting you to news, advice and academic resources

Building Self-Confidence in Academic Tutoring


“I’m stupid.”

Nothing brings my lessons to a halt quicker than hearing a student say those two words. It breaks my heart to hear a student say that, and it is something that I have to address before the lesson continues.

I have had many different students utter these words: some who were not doing the best in the class and who were just trying to catch up, some who are nearly at the top of the class and beating themselves up for not being the top person, and everywhere in between.

Click here to read up on our approach to math tutoring!

To the students who are trying to catch up: my job is to help you. I want you to succeed in your class. I understand that there are many reasons you could be either behind in your academics, or just not where you wanted to be: illness, stress, home-life, or just the class being a bit more difficult than what you imagined it would be. No matter the situation, I am not going to judge you. My job is to help you get through your class. I (nor anyone at AJ Tutoring) will think any less of you because you ask a question, or because you don’t know the solution right away, or because you don’t know the entire process. You are here to learn and practice just like everyone else. The more you ask, the better we understand where you are coming from, and the easier it is to help you through your class.

To students near the top: stop comparing yourselves. Some of my students are actually great at math, but they don’t believe it because others in class are doing better. There will always be people who understand the material quicker than you, people who do better on tests, and people who get better grades. By constantly comparing yourself to someone else, you’re only seeing the things you don’t know, and you’re turning a blind eye to everything you do know and everything you got correct. It is good to challenge yourself and to try to be better, but simply focusing on the negative is not the way to do it.

To everyone: your grade does not show how smart you are, whether you understand integrals the first or the twenty first time you see it does not determine if you’re intelligent or stupid. Everyone processes things at their own rate and how long it takes to process is not a direct correlation to your intelligence.

The 1-on-1 environment at AJ Tutoring is ideal for building academic confidence in a supportive environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and working at their own pace. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, give us a call.

Let's discuss your student's academic tutoring, test prep, or college counseling needs!

Our test prep, academic tutoring, and college admissions counseling professionals are here to help you navigate the test taking maze, share our experience with your local school, and inspire your student.

Talk to a Director
Peninsula Main Phone Number (650) 331-3251
Free Consultation