While tutoring can be an incredibly beneficial and rewarding experience, there are a few simple mistakes you can make which can impact the experience entirely.
In this article, I would like to note a few common mistakes students and tutors may encounter, and provide some suggestions for how to tackle them.
Although tutoring sessions are a great and efficient way to cover the content the student needs the most, make sure to avoid the mistake of over-working – tutoring sessions can also be very demanding and intensive on both the student and the tutor.
Consider taking small breaks every 20 to 30 minutes or so, to allow for a quick rest and a chance for the content you have covered to far to be fully learned.
Have plenty of materials
Being most of the way through a session and running out of materials is a very common mistake to make, which can both stress out the tutor and make the student feel like they may have wasted their time or money. While you might be good at improvising, there is no guarantee the students will stay alert and active after seeing you fumble around or panic.
Make sure to effectively plan your time (and materials), and always have a few backup activities just to prevent this mistake arising in the future.
Not communicating outside of tutoring sessions, with both the parents and the student themselves, is often a mistake for many. Not knowing what the student would like to cover, or how they would like to learn it, could lead to wasted time (which could have been spent focussing on a more pressing topic) and money (which could have been spent on sweets).
Likewise, making sure to communicate with the students’ parents to show them how their child is performing is vital. Show them that you are knowledgeable, passionate, and dedicated – they might end up referring you to a friend!
Make sure the student is learning
This might sound like a silly one, but it is arguably the largest mistake a tutor could make.
If you simply guide them through homework, talk for long periods of time without input or activities, or answer their questions for them without flexibility, the students will not actually learn the topic, but just how to answer specific questions.
Make sure the students are tested, and truly understand the meaning behind the content, so they can adapt their knowledge to answer any kind of question.
School can be very tiring and stressful for students, and it would be a mistake for a tutor to work in the same style (unless the student in question thrives in demanding environments). Doing so could lead to burnout, fatigue, or low attention.
Similarly, avoid always act like a teacher (unless, again, the student prefers this). Doing so could be a mistake, as it may make many students feel uncomfortable. Make sure to keep the sessions casual, while informative, and maybe do some stuff their teachers aren’t allowed to (as long as it’s legal) - be more personal, critical, and casual about the experience.
Make sure to keep tutoring engaging and exciting – ask a lot of questions, create various activities, and make sure you know what kind of environment your students excel in.
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