Prepare, prepare, prepare! In order to be the best possible tutor to your students, it is vital that you prepare thoroughly before each session. Tutors who educate primary school students may get away with little to no preparation for their sessions, but secondary school tutors will be of minimal help to their students if they do not make the effort to prepare adequately. Before each session, I find out from my students what they are currently studying in class and what they will need assistance with for the upcoming session. When preparing for my English and Literature students, I ensure that I take the time to read the novels that my students are reading, as it is impossible to be a good tutor without having a thorough understanding of the prescribed texts.
Make sure you arrive early and leave slightly after the allocated finish time. Whilst it may not always be possible to arrive early and finish the session slightly after the allocated finish time, it can send a positive message to your students and their parents that you care enough about the student to give them an extra few minutes of your time. Rushing off on the dot of the allocated finishing time sends the message that you just can’t wait to leave. Therefore, good tutors try to extend their time slightly, and this in turn can send a powerful message about the level of care the tutor has about the student’s education.
Understand that tutoring may be the last thing that a student wants. More often than not, it is the child’s parents that identify that their child requires tutoring. As a result, some students may feel resentful about this and are not receptive to tutoring. It is your job to try to positively engage with the student to make sure he or she feels supported and understood. A good tutor will attempt to gain rapport with the student by talking to them about their interests and how they are finding school life. This is important, as students who feel that their tutor understands them and is not judging them are far more likely to benefit from tutoring. You can read more about this under the heading of “successful tutors build strong, personal relationships with their students” here.
Find as many opportunities as you can to praise your student. In some cases, students may be disheartened with their education as a result of negative experiences with their teachers. As a result, it is imperative that tutors find opportunities to praise their students during the sessions in order to keep them interested in their work and feeling good about themselves. This is relatively easy to do, even when students are struggling considerably. It is amazing how some praise and general positive reinforcement can uplift a student and motivate them to work. This particular link provides more information on the power of praise when educating students.
Remember that it is relatively easy to be a good tutor to your students by following the simple steps outlined above. Tutors have the potential to not only educate students but also inspire them to reach their full potential.
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