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What do you need to Become a One-to-One Tutoring expert?

From Joseph, published on 02/05/2017 We Love Prof - UK > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > What Qualities Make a Good Private Tutor?

In addition to the purely technical skills of their subject, being a great private tutor requires other qualities, including a large number of soft skills as well as hard skills.

You’re not going to offer one on one tutorials in maths if you haven’t got a clue about algebra, geometry, trigonometry, integrals, or derivatives and you won’t find Spanish tutors who can’t speak the language!

Nevertheless, technical skills, as fantastic as they may be, aren’t enough to be a good private tutor.

Research has shown that the quality of the teacher can really affect a student’s success and impact their academic skills. For this reason, tutoring is becoming one of the most popular and viable alternative jobs for teachers.

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3 Skills that any Online Tutor or Home Tutor Must Have

  • Creating a Good Working Environment
  • Having Know-How and using It
  • Analysing and Adjusting Tutorials for the Student

In this article, you’ll discover all the indispensable qualities one on one tutoring requires. We’ll focus on pedagogy, comprehension, and methodology, in particular.

Whether you’re an English tutor, a chemistry tutor, a physics tutor, give violin classes, or provide academic support for science or mathematics courses, you’ll know how to become the best private tutor you can be!

These qualities will definitely help you find tutees for private tutorials.

Knowing how to Organise Private Tutorials or Academic Support

After preparing a beautiful advert for private tutorials and finding students, it’s time to start teaching them!

How do I get my student ready for tutorials? Good organisation is one of the first steps towards giving high-quality tutorials.

Having an established methodology is a great thing, as long as you make sure to adapt it in terms of the objectives, expectations, and needs of the student being tutored. This will seriously affect your students’ progress and your own success as a private tutor.

The methodology is more or less the same regardless of the subject that you’re going to teach.

Whether you’re a biology tutor, a maths tutor, or you give tutorials in accounting, computer science, German (or any other foreign language), history, geography, social studies, singing, or playing the piano, you have to ask yourself how to get your message across to your student.

A private tutors’ ability to provide useful and meaningful instruction is measured by the organisation, time invested and commitment to preparing tutorials. You can’t simply improvise the day’s activities with the student and work out what you’re doing in the middle of a tutorial.

Being prepared shows your level of diligence and can really affect your reputation as a tutor.

Finally, if you have a student alternating between at-home tutorials or online tutoring, you can’t always use the same approach. Don’t become complacent in your preparation once you’ve started giving at-home tutorials. Once again, you have a to be reliable to uphold your reputation!

Make sure you’re organised if you’re going to give online private tutorials, or any other places you’re looking to give your tutorials, for that matter.

An Indispensable Psychological Approach for Overcoming Difficulties and Managing Stress

If you understand the student in front of you, you’ve already done a huge part of your job.

You can schedule an initial meeting to find out what your student’s expectations are, establish their learning style or learning process, and present your working methodology. This is a useful tool for establishing your own psychological approach. You should also consider scheduling a meeting with the parents, too!

Defining a specific objective with the pupil clarifies your mission and can be a powerful tool for you as well as for your students. For example, the objectives could be:

  • to get better test scores, or achieve a certain grade for a particular assignment or their coursework
  • to guarantee a particular resit grade or advance with their class
  • to understand a certain concept in the curriculum
  • to complete a particular qualification before the summer break

Don’t hesitate to ask your student about their difficulties in order to understand which maths exercise they don’t like doing or what philosophy essay topic might be causing them stress.

Also, determining how your students like to work can help you as the tutor to better understand which methods to use in order to help your students progress and improve.

Always be positive with your students. Encourage them when they’re doing well and stress in which particular areas you think they’ve improved the most.

You shouldn’t silently pass over development goals but rather highlight them systematically in a positive and constructive way. Presenting “development goals” like this is more positive than just rattling off anything that would be considered an “error”.

The most important thing is to make the student you teach feel at home.

Staying calm and smiling will let students of all ages feel more relaxed during their tutorials.

Humour could also help you get your message across to your students! This is another quality that makes a good private tutor.

Offering At-Home Tutoring Services and Creating a Tailor-Made Programme

Your private tuition programme depends on several things:

  • The student’s level: providing private tutorials or academic tutoring at home for an A Level student is not at all the same as helping undergraduates at university study engineering. The programme isn’t the same and the teaching style must also be altered.
  • Adapt the programme and academic support to the student’s personality: like we said, establishing a clear methodology only makes sense if it can be adjusted to the personalities of the students that are sitting in front of you. In order to make sure the tutorials advance, you also have to be able to change the methodology and suggest new things.
  • Adapt the rhythm of your tutorials according to the circumstances: the work methodology must be different and adaptable for a student that needs test preparation to pass an exam than one who needs homework help. For example, before the exam, intensive study of past papers would certainly be a coherent and effective method.

How do I work with my student's strengths and weaknesses? Juggle with the strengths and weaknesses of your students to prepare tutorials adapted to their needs.

Put simply, you need to know how to juggle between the learning phases which make up the student’s knowledge base and the revision phase, which is typically undertaken before an exam.

Anticipation and communication with the student will be indispensable when it comes to finding the right balance. 

A good private tutor personalises their tutorials.

Keeping Your Student for the Long Term and Evaluating Their Progress

Making sure the student being tutored works with the same tutor throughout the whole process is obviously one of the best solutions.

How do I measure my student's progress? Get to the point and measure the fruits of your labour and your student’s work!

Furthermore, organising regular home tutorials (once a week, for example) is better than several tutorials together followed by a long break.

The consistency allows the concepts learnt to be consolidated the following week without wasting too much time in the next tutorial reminding the student of the previous class.

Unfortunately, this consistency doesn’t always depend on you (sometimes it can be hindered by the parents of the student, for example) but it is important to schedule your tutorials as regularly as possible.

Like we said before, the first tutorial is an ideal time to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses and above all, each of your student’s expectations.

You can always do this again in order to give the student a “progress tests” several times a year (after a certain number of months or after a certain number of tutorials, for example).

These methods allow the student to  see their progress and gain confidence in their work.

Tutoring Jobs, Home Tuition, Freelancing

The personal tutor or academic support coach isn’t going to teach the student forever. The private tutor’s goal is to make the student an autonomous learner and help them to be successful.

How do I create an independent learner? The work of a private tutor is also to give their students a level of independence.

The amount of time this takes depends on the students in front of you, but it must always be why you provide supplement instruction. Keep in mind that when you become a tutor, you are becoming an intermediary to help your students develop study skills and to succeed.

This means it’s important for you as a one to one tutor to understand the key principles and have a knowledge of the subject you teach but also ensure that your student “learns to learn” and achieves academic success.

This is the clearest distinction that we can make between a dependent student who believes a teacher is responsible for their teaching and an independent student. This model is even more important because it can be used by the student in the other subjects that you teach them.

This means that you must provide them with skills but also a method. Once again, this must be clear and the student must be able to take this on board. This is how they will become autonomous.

In short:

  • A good private tutor is somebody committed and methodical, an educator and a good observer.
  • They must know how to determine the difficulties encountered by the student they’re teaching and be able to adapt their work method depending on their students’ personality.
  • Working with the student must be based on wanting to progress and improve academic performance in order to become autonomous in their work.
  • An excellent academic coach must be capable of guiding the student until they are fully capable of learning and understanding on their own.

A Tutor Must…

  • Have good communication skills
  • Be enthusiastic and passionate about teaching
  • Have a good sense of humour and be capable of laughing with their students
  • Take their students’ opinions on board
  • Be respectful to their students and to other teachers.
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