I have been running The Learning Consultants since the start of the century. Most of my work has been with Connecticut families along the Shoreline and increasingly with those in Fairfield County. During the 2000s, my work consisted primarily of helping students get ready for college. Academic tutoring (our Student Mastery program), test prep (our SAT Mastery Seminar) and college counseling (where to apply/college essays/applications) with students who – for the most part – were striving in a healthy way and eager to attend college (the greatest sleep away camp of all time!). I still see students from those days who I bump into in my normal restaurant dining in Madison, Essex, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme and East Lyme. They are kind to their old teacher/counselor but, better yet, they seem happy. Things have worked out well enough. That was my experience with most of our clients in the 2000s.
Then… something changed… a creeping epidemic of anxiety and other mental health issues moved some portion of academic tutoring, test prep, and college counseling to coaching to include an informal therapeutic component. Our Student Mastery program – once designed to help students “master school, get better grades, and get ready for college” become academic therapy (see the awesome Jean Card!) and motivational work to get students to care (see my first book Motivate Your Son).
The pandemic accelerated most of the challenges. Mental health became a dominant reason why parents called us. They needed help with school but they also needed coaching to help bolster their children. We are here for this purpose.
But… I also am hopeful that we are going to move away from just getting our children to deal with school to helping them build their lives.