Tips for tutors: How they can become a good tutor

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Becoming the tutor of one or more students is great efficiency, but it is also an extremely enriching activity. To be a good tutor, however, it is not enough for you to know a great deal about a subject. To help students reach their full potential, you will need to evaluate individual needs and goals. While you give it your full concentration, any child will be able to improve their understanding of difficult topics.

To become a good tutor you need to assess a student’s needs

Take stock of his knowledge

When you are just meeting a student, you will need to start by evaluating what they have learned, so that you don’t waste time during your tutoring sessions. Ask the student what subjects they are good at and what they like about the subject you are going to be working on. Let him speak freely about the subject in order to understand the extent of his knowledge. The student will feel valued, he will gain self-confidence and you will have a better idea of ​​his achievements and his shortcomings.

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Ask him what subjects he has difficulty in

Students are generally well aware of their weaknesses. They know what kinds of questions they fail to answer in quizzes and which classes don’t speak to them at all. Let the young person explain to you the subjects and subjects that he does not understand and make a list of them for you to use later.

Work together to establish goals

Set both large and minor goals, which can be achieved within a reasonable amount of time. For example, a student might not be able to get their math grades up in a month, but they can probably do it in 3 months. Smaller goals should be achieved in a shorter time. For example, the student should write an article summary in 150 words, before the end of the tutoring session. [1]

  • Write the goals down on a piece of paper so the student can follow them. By giving him the responsibility to move forward towards his goals, he will become more involved and make progress.

Monitor the student’s progress

Make a graph that allows you and the student to assess the progress they are making, in your sessions and class. This graphic could present:

  • the scores for each control;
  • the general average of each subject;
  • your assessment of the student’s efforts;
  • the progress made towards the objectives set together;
  • your assessment of your student’s understanding of the concepts;
  • Celebrate the progress made by congratulating your student! If the student’s grades are not improving, but you notice significant effort on their part, your graph will keep them from getting discouraged, while their efforts will be recognized.

Structure of the tutoring sessions

Begin the session by asking your student questions about the topics covered in the last session

Before tackling new topics, make sure that the young person has mastered the topics already studied. Ask one or two open-ended questions, so the student can show you what they understood from the previous lesson. If he is having difficulty, you should go back to the previous topics before moving forward in the program. Also, let the student ask you questions about the topics of the last lesson.

Help your student with homework

Your student should keep you informed of the projects and essays requested by their teachers as soon as these tasks are requested. Divide each assignment into several small parts, which the student will work on one at a time. Your student’s homework will thus be of better quality and you will also teach him to manage his time efficiently.

  • If teachers provide a review schedule to follow, organize your tutoring sessions around the topics that need to be studied.

Center each session around a specific goal

Depending on the student’s needs, you could work on an essay or presentation or revise concepts seen in class. After reviewing the previously discussed topics, tell the student what you are going to do during the session. Make sure the goals set are realistic:

  • “Today we will be working on the articulation of this essay. We will take your ideas and organize them in order to build a plan ”;
  • “Today we will study the network of Allied Forces during World War II. Next time we will work on the Axis countries ”;
  • “Today, we are going to take up all the problems that you could not solve during your last math test and find the solutions together. We will then do new problems on the same concept. “

Give the student a chance to succeed

While it is important to move forward towards a goal, it is crucial not to discourage the student by setting the bar too high. During each session, you will have to suggest exercises that the student can do. You will then gradually move towards more difficult exercises. [2]

  • If the student does not reach the level you expected, do not give up! Repeat the exercise until the youngster can do it on their own. Once he gets there, praises him for his persistence.

Allow the student to take breaks

These breaks should not exceed 5 minutes. By working too long without stopping, the student will become exhausted and will no longer be able to concentrate. A 5-minute break will be just long enough for the youngster to rest his mind, without losing the thread of his work.

Adapt to the needs of the student

You’ve set goals, but your student could still become exhausted over time. If your student seems tired or in a bad mood during a session, don’t hesitate to change your habits to cheer them up. For example, if the class you are teaching is a language class, from time to time you might suggest that your student translate songs instead of doing conjugation exercises. You could also watch cartoons in that language with him and see if the student can follow the story. [3]


Make sure you get along well with the student. Tutoring should be productive immediately. If not, you may not be the right person for the student, which is okay. If so, help them find a better match for their needs and learning style.

Adapt your teaching method to the student’s learning method

Not all children learn the same. Some students work better on their own, so all you have to do is give them a time in which to complete the tasks. Others learn best in groups and will make more progress working with you to solve a problem. [4]

End each session on a positive note

Just because the tutoring session is over does not mean the student has no more work for the week. Make it clear to him what you expect from him for the next time. If he couldn’t finish all of his work during the session, ask him to do it for the next time. And if you have a fun activity planned for the next class, let your student know so they can look forward to the next class.

Do you really want to become a good tutor? Then build a relationship with your student. How? Let’s talk!

Build a personal relationship with your student

Your role is to help your student do their best in school. For that, you will have to be for him at the same time a good tutor, a friend, a supporter. By establishing a personal connection with your student, you will more easily motivate them to make an effort and to succeed.

  • Talk to your student about their feelings. Students who have academic difficulties are sometimes really ashamed of them. By overcoming these difficulties, they gain self-confidence. Comfort your student when they are going through a difficult time and celebrate their successes with them.
  • Share with your student your own experiences of failure and how you overcame them.
  • Find out what his passions are, so you can make your lessons more interesting. Mathematical operations are for example a priori very boring, but a math problem involving dinosaurs will pique the interest of a child passionate about these creatures.

Adapt your communication to the style of the student

Speak to the student in their own language. If he’s very shy, you can’t ignore him, for example! Perhaps this student will then prefer to communicate with you between two lessons and ask you his questions by email. Some students find it difficult to ask questions in person, even if they really need answers.

Come to each session in a good mood

Your student will be won over by your enthusiasm. Likewise, if you are tired or annoyed, your student will be discouraged. To do this, always arrive with a smile and thus get the student to become more involved in the lesson.

Behave like a guide rather than a teacher

The role of a good tutor is different from that of the teacher. Teachers must work with many children at once and be authority figures who impart knowledge. Guardians work with one child at a time and are more of a “big brother” than an authority figure. You will be alone with the student and will then not have to charge a lesson. Let the student get involved in his learning and guide him towards his goals.

  • Ask lots of questions. Instead of lecturing your student, ask them open-ended questions that will force them to conclude on their own, using reasoning that you will help them build.

Let the student get excited about the topic

If you have to support the child so that he reaches his goals, do not hesitate to let go of the ballast. If, while studying WWI, your student has an urge to research an unimportant, but spectacular battle, let it be, even if it takes a full session. A good tutor should allow the child’s natural curiosity to grow, instead of trying to curb it. The child’s enthusiasm will help him to make progress.

Communicate clearly with the child’s parents and teachers

Without their help, you will not be able to focus your sessions on the topics the child needs to study for school. Talking with the child’s parents and teachers is especially important if the student is very young. If a high school student can explain to you precisely what they are studying in class, a first-grade student will not be able to.

  • Regularly contact the parents and teachers of the student.
  • You may be able to speak with the child’s parents each time you come to their home for a class.
  • You could decide with the teacher to debrief him on the first Monday of each month so that you can keep up to date with what the child is doing in school at the moment.

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