Is your first session with a student approaching? Or are you looking to see how you can improve your teaching ability? Tutoring can seem daunting, especially your first time. Below are some tips to be prepared and ready to tutor at your absolute best!
Prepare. It may seem obvious but you must prepare for each lesson with each student as best as possible for them as an individual. The best way to do this is to find out their strengths and weaknesses in the relevant subject/s and gather resources to see where they’re at for the first lesson. After that, make adjustments to how you teach, what subjects you focus on and always try to make changes to suit each students’ own individual needs. Resources are everywhere so it’s very easy to prepare for each individual student. You can always make your own resources if need be!
Be friendly. Greeting children with a smile and positivity goes a long way. Some children may be afraid of the idea of tutors while others may embrace it far easier. Either way, being friendly will help with any student, especially in building a relationship where they feel more comfortable telling you where they have issues and gives them some positivity to work harder by their own free will. Something I love to do is to encourage my students to make mistakes. Not “make mistakes” but more so giving it a go and not being afraid of getting it wrong. This helps their confidence, your relationship and, the next tip, helps to build trust.
Build trust. Building trust in students is essential to their improvement. Your students trusting and respecting you will make sure that they focus more in sessions and will do the necessary work to improve (i.e homework). To build trust, it’s a matter of being friendly and being reliable. Be positive and have a smile and show up, on time, every lesson with work to push them. Encouraging children to make attempts, as per my last tip, will help a ton! Showing that if they make mistakes, you can guide them through it to learn and improve will make students feel happier and feel more confident in themselves and in you.
Push. Now, this tip is the most difficult one but is very important. Push means challenging them, every lesson, to grow and to learn. What makes it difficult is that you must find the right balance for each student. If you give work that is too difficult to some students, they may crumble and their confidence does too, but you can’t give them things that they find easy either. So, how do you balance how much to push? What I like to do is this: after I know where a student is at in their capabilities, I give them some easier warm-up questions to build their confidence and gradually increase the difficulty. For example, I had a student who had issues with 2 digit by 2 digit multiplication. So I started by teaching them a method to follow and gave them easy questions that got more and more difficult. After a few weeks, we started to push more and more to the point where they can now do 5 digit by 5 digit multiplication with ease, where they struggled with 2 digit by 2 digit before.
The pressure of students and parents relying on you can be daunting, and that’s completely understandable! However, in using my tips, you’ll be able to grow as a tutor alongside your student. Just give it your all and you will do a great job!
By Carlos Sheather