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The Dos & Don'ts Of Being A Successful Tutor

Whether you’re only just starting out in the world of tutoring or have been doing it for years already, it’s always worth taking the time to refine your approach. Your students are coming to you to utilize your experience after all, so it’s important to ensure you are giving each of them as productive an experience as possible. 

The Dos & Donts Of Being A Successful Tutor

The impact of the pandemic on the education sector resulted in students falling behind to where they’d normally expect to be in the curriculum. However, initiatives such as The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) support schools that were heavily affected by Covid-19, providing them with access to high-level tutoring. Social distancing requirements impacted teaching practices dramatically, remote learning resulted in disengagement and so students are in need of intense catch-up support to address learning gaps. This is where you come in! 

As each student learns in their own unique way it pays to be able to adapt your approach when required to help them learn. Doing this isn’t always as straightforward as you might think though, so we thought we’d try and help. 

In this article, we have highlighted some of the key things you should and shouldn’t do while trying to refine your tutoring approach, helping you and your students get as much out of the experience as possible. 

Do: Be Honest 

As the old phrase goes, honesty is often the best policy, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to tutoring. 

Being honest with your students will not only help you build trust and rapport with them, but it will also provide them with an opportunity to be honest with you – especially when learning remotely. This, in turn, could then resolve any potential issues sooner rather than later, while also teaching them the importance of communication within the tutor-student dynamic. 

It could also teach them the importance of learning, encouraging them to read on a more regular basis and pick up vital new skills to use both now as well as later on in life.

What’s more, building up a rapport in this way could provide you with more work. If they really trust in you and your teaching methods, they are likely to get more out of the experience and want to work with you on more subject areas in the future.

Don’t: Apply A One-Size Fits All Approach

As we’ve mentioned already, students all learn at different paces and in different ways. Therefore, just because using PowerPoints with one student worked for them, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for somebody else. 

As their tutor, it’s your duty to recognise how each of your students learns best and then adapt your approach to fit. Plus, contrary to some opinion, it is also largely up to you – as much as it is your students – to recognise which topic areas are proving particularly difficult so that you can then organise your sessions around that. 

Do: Listen & Remain Patient

While on the topic of basing your tutoring sessions around your students, listening to them and ascertaining what they’re hoping to get out of it is an important step. The last thing you want to do is waste each other’s time, after all. So, only by listening to one another will you be able to avoid doing exactly that. 

This idea also ties in with the importance of remaining patient. What may be obvious to you, for example, may not be particularly clear to your students. As such, try to avoid being impatient or showing annoyance in your speech or body language. Find new angles where you can to make the learning experience a more positive one.

Don’t: Be Afraid To Be Wrong

You were probably asked to be a tutor because of your knowledge, qualities and ability to act as a role model to students. Therefore, while it may be important to be confident in your abilities, it’s equally important to remain somewhat grounded and not be afraid to admit when you don’t know something.

You’re only human, after all, so you can’t know everything about a particular subject. As such, if your student asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t be afraid to double-check your resources, tell them you need to do some homework yourself or try to source the answer there and then with your student.

The chances are they will probably not only respect you a lot more for not being perfect but they will also appreciate having an opportunity to have a little joke and a bit of banter with you.

Final Thoughts…

As with most things, becoming successful in something can take a lot of time and patience. However, by taking the time to read this article, you are on the right track, as it demonstrates your motivation to be the best tutor you can be.

The key thing to remember is to put your students first. They are the ones coming to you for your help, after all, so by working around their needs, you will be able to learn from them, utilise their strengths and weaknesses and become a lot stronger as a result.

About the author- Kate Sheppard is a mum of two, living in Sussex. Kate enjoys writing about the ups and the downs of parenting and isn't afraid to tell it how it is. She’s passionate about all things families, the countryside, children's education, and women's rights.

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