Making the first session special

3 February 2017
Posted in Tutors
3 February 2017 The Alchemy Team

With so many first sessions scheduled in the next week or so, I wanted to share 3 ways you can make the first session special for your student, ultimately proving you are the tutor for the job!

Remember that this first session is so important to get right – it is basically like a mini job interview where you need to prove to the family that you are the best tutor possible. And whilst I know you are, it’s about showing this in as many ways as possible!

1. Smile

A smile says so much. Les Brown said that “your smile will give you a positive countenance that will make people feel comfortable around you.” And it is so true. Nothing can disarm quite like a smile. The moment you knock on that door, start smiling. Your student wants to view you as a breath of fresh air. They might have had a rough day at school, but the moment they see your smile that will all be forgotten.

2. Be super prepared

Go armed with ideas for the session, so you can determine exactly what the student needs to focus on. What you prepare depends on what you are helping the students with – the first session for a year 5 student will be totally different for an HSC student. But here is what I usually follow as my first lesson plan:

  • welcome and introduce myself to parents and student
  • discuss the needs with the parent
  • chat with students – try to find a shared interest
  • do a selection of relevant activities (like respond to comprehension questions, do some writing or jump around an exam paper)
  • watch and observe how the student responds – identify where they struggle
  • lay encouragement on them – let them know how much potential they have
  • finish up about ten minutes early so you can talk with the parents and discuss how you can help
  • speak like there will be a next time and give the student a fist bump as you leave!

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail! Make sure you are ready for that first session by being fully prepared.

3. Be vulnerable

It is not out goal to be viewed as an untouchable expert on a subject – of course, you can prove that you know what you are talking about, but you want to be seen as someone they can relate to – someone they can trust. Don’t put up a wall of achievement. Make yourself relatable by being vulnerable – share your struggles. Reveal who you are – talk about your passions and your life. A good tutor will be a role model by how they live, and not just what they say.

There are plenty more tips in the tutor portal, but these are just 3 that are worth revisiting as you prepare for your first session. Make it incredible!

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