Getting into the London tuition game for the very first time can be uniquely exciting and at the same time an experience of some apprehension. The reason being that it isn’t until you qualify as a professional tutor that you immediately realise that not only are you now out on your own in terms of your own career progress, but also that when and where you do land a job, you will be playing an incredibly important role in the development and life in general of the students you work with. Suffice to say this is quite a lot of pressure for anyone to deal with, which is precisely why it is a good idea to listen to the advice and insights of the country’s most established private tutors in order to help steer you in the right direction.
So with this in mind, what follows is a quick introduction to just a select few of the most important tips of all for newly-qualified professionals looking to gain the best possible start in the industry:
One of the most important skills to master as a tutor is that of successfully encouraging contribution from your students. The challenge here is of course the fact that when a student meets a teacher for the first time in a one-on-one environment, there can be a fair bit of anxiety to overcome. The more anxious a person is, the less likely they are to contribute which subsequently leads to a lack of engagement and effectiveness of learning.
The key in this instance therefore is to understand and acknowledge when and where anxiety could potentially affect the effectiveness of your teaching and do whatever it takes to put them at rest.
Show Respect and Caring
It’s of crucial importance to bear in mind that a pretty sizable proportion of students will probably be used to instances where mistakes and errors with regard to academic work are to a large extent followed by some kind of punishment. In order to maintain what is seen as a very important social barrier between students and teachers, many teachers in academic institutions operate in a relatively strict and stern way which can be intimidating. In the case of private tuition however, it is important to show plenty of respect and caring which in both instances should be reinforced when mistakes are made. Or in other words, it is important that they see you in a different light than that of the teachers they may be used to.
Agree on Realistic Goals
Rather than simply setting out a long or short term lesson plan and having something of an ultimate goal in mind, speak to the students about their own specific goals and come to a consensus on a selection of realistic targets. The key in this instance is to acknowledge just how motivating and reassuring it can be to reach a goal of any kind, even if the goal itself is not exactly a goal of great gravity. One step at a time, you need to ensure the student feels they are making progress and measurable progress at that, which is only possible with the creation and achieving of goals.
It is a proven scientific fact that the average human being is unable to listen to any given lecture for more than a few minutes without the vast majority of what is being communicated falling on deaf ears. This is especially so in the case of younger students or those who may be having problems in the classroom for whom even just a short period of lecturing could be 100% counterproductive. The importance of contribution cannot be overstated which means creating lesson plans and structures which to some extent limit the involvement of your own voice and instead encourage the student to do most of the talking.
Open Ended Questions
Along with the skill of avoiding questions which lead to obvious answers which in most cases are less-than productive, it is also important to master the art of eliminating questions with simple yes or no answers. That being said, it is perfectly possible to make these kinds of questions valid and useful if they are followed up with a request for the student to explain why this is the answer.
Regular Two-Way Feedback
Last but not least, all students at all levels need regular feedback in order to progress. And it is exactly the same case with teachers at all levels too and as in this instance the only people you are dealing with are your student and their parents, these are the people you need to seek feedback and constructive criticism from. Find out what you’re doing well and what needs to be improved in order to further your own effectiveness as a tutor and progress with strength.