Private Tutoring – How to Be A Successful Tutor

In private tutoring profession, no one can fire you except yourself. If you consistently teach well, you are continuously hired. If you do like to have a boss, that boss is your student. If he/she feels he is learning and he feels the lessons are worthwhile taking, he will continue to take the lessons.

Quality of teaching is always the top priority. We can not stress enough on the importance of this topic because it directly affects our economic bottom line.

Don’t give just a lesson but give an excellent lesson every time.

Majority of customers is able to detect whether the teachers’ work is sincere or halfhearted. Hence, no one should take any students or any lessons for granted.

If you are a quite accomplished in your own education, you are just beginning to open the door for being an excellent teacher. You must teach every lesson well enough so that you can earn your way to give the next lesson, and so on.

Open your math & English teaching to everyone who wants to learn
Try to open your teaching to all the students (advanced or not advanced). 99% of our customers are not talented in math or English. Be sure that you understand teacher’s role is to help students get better on those subjects. As teachers, we are not there to choose the most talented students to teach. On the contrary, we should accept everyone who wants to take lessons.

What are the elements that constitute a good lesson?
A good lesson should consist of reviewing the content of previous lesson, learning new chapters, new concepts or formulas, checking written homework and doing flash cards. However, all these are just routines. What can we do to go beyond these routines and let the students really learn something in each lesson? How can we improve students’ math skills and reading skills?

Each student is different. They are like us; everyone is a different individual. We must take a different approach to teaching in order to meet the individual needs of every student. Let’s say the student did not do his homework and came for the lesson. The first thing we have to do is to rescue him from the habit of not doing homework.

The fundamental truth in how to give a “good lesson” is that the teacher must let the student learn one or two things within the span of sixty or ninety minutes. In the next lesson, you will have to test your student if he/she still knows what you taught the last time. Then, you can start to introduce the next step.

Do give yourself a little extra time for traveling to your teaching destinations. The traffic jam and bad weather can delay your lessons considerably.

Missed lessons
Although the customers do agree not to miss any lessons, sometimes, the irregularity does occur. Any unforeseeable events can interrupt the continuity of the lessons. Whatever happens, we do not want either party to take a loss because of these unintentionally missed lessons. The bottom line is that we must make all the efforts we can to give make up lessons to minimize the loss for either party. Keep close contact with your students’ parents. If you called the first time to reschedule, they did not respond to your call, call again, just make sure you can speak to them directly and set up make up lessons.

Highly effective communication skills
Teachers must have highly effective communication skills. Try to speak slowly and clearly to your students every time you make a comment on your student’s work. Your lessons should always be in good manner and filled with friendly and encouraging atmosphere.

You must make an effort to learn how to communicate with your students. You must know if your students understand what you want them to do. If a student does not respond to your comment well, try a different way. Your goal is to make your student understand a math concept well enough and be able to perform the calculations on his own, so that you can let him move on to the next concept.

When you make a comment …
When you make a comment on your student’s work, be sure to give a positive comment first. Then, you can politely point out some of the problems, whether it is misunderstanding of the problem, or calculation errors. Tell your student specifically what can be done to improve. Demonstrate how it should be calculated and how to avoid errors.

When you are demonstrating …
When you are demonstrating how a problem is solved, be sure to show the student many different problems so that the student can have a solid impression on the detailed steps. Those steps are important because he relies on remembering those steps to do other problems correctly. Next, let him perform the same calculation task that you just demonstrated to him and see if he is really able to do the work flawlessly on his own. If it is a complex problem that involves more than 4 steps to complete, even if you just demonstrated how all the steps are done, your student might not be able to remember what you just did in front of him. He might be able to understand how you did it but it does not mean that he is able to do it. So you have to turn the page, rewrite the same problem on the new page, and ask your student to solve the very same problem again this time by himself. You will be amazed to see how little he remembers what exactly you just showed him a minute ago.

Evaluations of your students
The teachers should make weekly evaluations on the pupil’s progress and let the pupils familiarize with their materials thoroughly before moving on to the next step. Teachers should brief the parents regularly (preferably after each lesson) so that the parents have an understanding of where their child stands. The bottom line is that you must evaluate your student’s progress on a minute-by-minute basis. The moment you find out that he either can’t do it or does not understand it, you must do something about it. Until he is doing right and understand it, you will not move on to next thing.

Develop a plan for each individual student
Pedagogically, teachers should always have a clear ideas about how long will it take to achieve a certain level for a student. He should be able to divide the long term goal into weekly tasks that manifested in the exercises and drills in each lesson.

Diversify the teaching materials
The teachers should diversify the teaching materials. More books and more pieces should be used in the teaching. Always use variety of sources for pedagogical purposes. You will find that the more materials you have, the more interesting your lessons will be.

Encourage and enforce the practice routine
The teacher must go over the homework with the student. The content of the lesson must include 1) checking homework given in the previous lesson, 2) if the previous homework did not reach the required standard, the correction and re-do the homework must be followed, 3) learning the new chapter (if the previous homework has been passed), 4) giving new homework, 5) flash cards for vocabulary and terminology. The last 3 tasks should not exceed more than 15 minutes.

Review the material more frequently
Periodically, the teacher should let student review the topics they learned a while ago so that they won’t forget them.

Especially for the young students, they need weekly review on all the topics they have just learned. The new vocabulary and math formulas need to be tested immediately after learning. In fact, it is necessary to let a student go through a lot different materials at same or similar level at a certain period of time.

The report to the management
The teachers are required to keep close contact with the management. If you get a call from the management, you should return the call promptly. The teachers are also required to give a monthly and semiannual report on all the students.

Although each student is different, the ultimate goal we plan for them is the same: we try to move them foreword as fast as we can. Averagely, a student should be able to reach higher grades after having 2 lessons. If someone is lagging behind that speed, a special conference should be held with the parents, teacher and the manager. We must formulate a strategy for a better result.

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