Working as a tutor is one of the most fulfilling jobs for those who have a passion for helping others, making a difference and sharing their knowledge. To help you start, or improve, your ability as a tutor, we wanted to share a few of our favourite tips in performing to the best of your ability as a tutor, and to ensure that your students are getting the most out of their lessons with you!
Communicate with parents
As a tutor, you’re a part of the students’ support network alongside the parents or guardian. Taking time to connect with the parents and listen to and understand their concerns can ensure that you are all on the same page. By being on the same page, you can make your life as a tutor much easier! It will also ensure that the student is getting the support they need from all members of the support network, further improving their ability to progress.
Track the numbers, but remember that the numbers aren't everything
Keeping a record of your students’ performance in their assessment tasks is a powerful strategy - knowledge is power! Of course, we can expect fluctuations in any students’ performance, therefore if their progress is not linear, do not worry! Often, tutors assume that this is a bad thing or that this is their fault. Do not forget that a lot of different factors can affect a students’ assessment ability on that particular day, such as a lack of sleep, a bit of anxiety or just simply an off day. Regardless, if you keep track of their progress over a long period of time, you will be able to assess whether it shows growth. From there, you’ll be able to make a calculated plan!
We have a strong belief that each student is different in the way they learn most effectively. This simply means that to be the best tutor for this child, you must learn about them and be adaptable in your approach! Your students’ needs are individual to them, and it may take a number of sessions for you to truly understand them and their needs, but if you commit to this and make an effort to work with them and their learning needs, you will benefit from building strong rapport with them and making leaps in their learning!
Look at the bigger picture
As a tutor, it can be easy to focus solely on the academic performance of your students, however it is extremely beneficial not to lose sight of their health and wellbeing. As we know, one’s health and wellbeing directly affects their academic performance. Maintaining a holistic approach to tutoring will not only improve your quality as a tutor, but will also further support your student and their general health and performance. Keep it simple and ensure that you touch base with your student to check on their sleep quality, stress level and management skills, as well as ensuring they are taking breaks.
Be willing to share your own experiences
Aim to integrate analogies of your own study and learning experiences to further support your students and help them make connections between their experiences and your own. Not only will this demonstrate your first-hand experiences and understanding, but it will also help you build strong rapport with your students.
Provide a variety of activities
In many cases, it is not the student who is eager to sit with a tutor on a weekly basis. What does this mean? As tutors, we need to make the lessons as engaging and exciting as possible. In order to keep your students motivated for the duration of the lesson, have a variety of methods up your sleeve. Here, you want to use activities that go beyond just covering and practicing content. Some suggestions include incorporating videos, drawing diagrams to illustrate certain concepts and providing a range of real-life questions (use their own names!) for students to complete. This will stimulate various parts of a student’s mind and make their learning experience more engaging.
Bring the right attitude to your lessons
Whilst this sounds obvious, it is definitely a point that needs to be highlighted. Don’t forget, first impressions are everything! A crucial tip on being a good tutor is to be a friendly tutor and to bring an engaging and passionate attitude to your lessons. It is absolutely essential that tutors are perceived as approachable by their students, in order to ensure they feel completely comfortable to ask questions and letting their tutor know when they don’t quite understand. Some ways to achieve a friendlier persona when tutoring includes smiling, engaging in conversation (for example, asking how a student’s day at school was), and ensuring a friendly body language such as sitting at eye level to the students and leaning slightly forward when listening to them speak to demonstrate attentiveness.
Be organised and keep your notes
Keeping organised in a non-negotiable - but don’t worry, systemising this will make it a seamless process. This is particularly important if you are tutoring and managing multiple students. By organising your lessons and keeping notes after each lesson, both you and your student will feel satisfied that you have made the best use of each lesson. This can be done by following particular lesson structures and reviewing previous content. Keeping track of the content taught can be achieved effectively through the use of the syllabus as a guide.
Be an encouraging voice
A great tutor must always provide endless encouragement to their students. Often, students lack self-confidence, whether they vocalise that or not, so it is important that you, as their tutor, step in as their voice of encouragement and belief. It is essential tutors always point out the good achievements of students as much as they make note of their mistakes. Providing encouragement should go beyond the work completed in lessons, as the HSC is a stressful time, tutors should often check in on how students are coping and provide positive encouragement and motivation to help them all the way to the end.
Demonstrate a growth mindset
Monkey see, monkey do - many students tend to look up to their tutors. Demonstrating a growth mindset by showing your vulnerability and the fact that you don’t know everything, but can always put effort into learning new things, will only help your students develop their own growth mindset. I guarantee that every tutor has been asked a question that they do not know the answer to. This is ok - you can not expect to know everything. What’s not ok is expressing that you do not know, and not showing the willingness to find the answer. It is extremely important for every tutor to show their eagerness and willingness to learn, and to reward effort over results.
So there you have it, 10 simple and helpful tips to be the best tutor you can possibly be. All of these tips are extremely possible to attain and maintain for every tutoring lesson. To learn about the 5 Most Common Problems with Tutoring, click this link!
Have any questions or are interested in more tutoring opportunities? Email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org!