How to Structure a Good Tutoring Session

It takes more than just being an expert in your field to be an excellent tutor. One-on-one tutoring demands much more from a tutor than teaching.  It is vital to build a good relationship with your students to gain their trust. For a successful future with your students, it is essential to identify their strengths and weaknesses. We put together a few essential tips on how to deliver the perfect tutoring sessions.

1. The first tutoring session

Be on time! Do not let your students wait. If your tutoring session is at your student’s house, don’t be too early either. Remember that your students often have a busy day and would feel pressured and stressed if their lesson starts earlier than planned.

Dress to impress. How to dress as a tutor is important. Do not over and not underdress. Wear clean and straightforward clothing and nothing too distracting. You should look professional, but don’t forget that you are not working in a corporate environment.

The first tutoring session is always scary for both the student and the tutor, as you don’t know each other yet. It is better to be over-prepared but don’t do too much. The first lesson should be used to start a relationship with your student. Try to make the lesson fun so your student will look forward to the next one.

Don’t start right away with some exercises. Talk with your student about what they would like to focus on in the coming lessons, get to know each other, and also have a laugh. In the first session, you need to find out the strength and weaknesses of your student so that you can prepare the following lessons.

Ask your students beforehand to bring all their books and sources so you can get an overview of what they should already know and where to pick up.

Prepare one exercise that helps you to estimate their level. Don’t do too much. You still don’t know what learner type your student is. That may take a few sessions, and until then, you need to improvise during the tutoring classes. If the lesson is to difficult, that demotivates, and the student may give up already after the first session. If the lesson is too easy, your student may be bored quickly. Ask for honest feedback so you can improve for the next lessons and motivate your students to learn.

Do the exercises together. Never let your student do all activities do alone in silence. These tasks are better for homework.

2. Establish a good relationship

It is vital to building a good relationship with your students. Often, this relationship comes quickly, but at other times, it may take a few sessions before the student opens up. The success of this relationship reveals the personalities of your student and yourself. Talk about yourself and tell your students a bit about your life. But be careful. There is a fine line between a personal and a professional relationship. In a good tutoring session, the tutor should not talk more than 1/3 of the time.

Having knowledge in your field is also not enough to become a distinguished tutor. Your interaction with the student plays a vital role. This implies that you build a positive and effective learning environment. The most important quality is the ability to find a common language and understanding with the student so as to establish emotional contact with them. Without this, you will not be able to make adjustments to the program if necessary. Knowing the student better will help them increase interest in the subject, and henceforth the effectiveness of training.

3. Evaluate and understand the needs of a student

Once you are well acquainted with your student, take stock of their knowledge. When you first meet the student, start by assessing what they know and what their aims are so that you can prioritize what to teach during your tutoring sessions. To achieve this, ask the student what topics they are good at. Also what they like about the subject you will be working on.

Let your student speak freely about the issue so that you can understand the extent of their knowledge. This way, the student will feel valued. The student must study with confidence in themselves. Don’t make them feel bad when they make mistakes. Always focus on what they are good at not to lose their motivation.

4. Work together to set goals

After establishing the needs of the student, work together to identify and set goals that they can achieve in a reasonable amount of time. By giving them the responsibility to move toward goals, they will involve more.

Write down the objectives so that the student can easily follow them. Once you both identified the goals, center each session to cover a specific one. And before handling any of these goals, let them know in advance so that they can prepare physically and physiologically.

5. Familiarize with the needs of the student

Depending on the lengths of the lesson and also on your student’s mood, you may find them tired during your tutoring session. Keep in mind that your students also have other subjects and pressure during their school day.  Therefore, if they seem tired or in a bad mood during a session, do not hesitate to change your teaching habits to cheer them up.

For instance, if it is a language course, you can occasionally suggest that they translate, listen and sing songs instead of conjugation exercises. You could also watch cartoons in that language and see if the student can follow the story coherently. An excellent tutor should be flexible with their teaching style and always have a fun activity on mind.

6. Adapt your teaching method to the student’s learning method

Not all children learn the same way. Some students work best alone, while others learn better in a group or with a guide. Therefore, give them a chance to work and leaner in their way of preference. This will help them edge closer to their goals and realize significant progress. Change to tuition from face to face to an online tutoring via webcam, if your student can not make the class on time. Classes online are better than no classes at all.

If the student’s grades do not improve, but you notice significant effort on his part, help them to recognize their efforts and avoid discouragement along the way.

7. Be prepared

Part of your tutoring job is to prepare your lessons well. Your salary compensates for the preparation time. It is always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Bring recourses, books, a laptop, songs, or games, so you always have a plan B if A does not work out. Write detailed lesson plans. You can use lesson planners that may help you to keep the overview of each student.

Use quality materials. This translates to having your own set of materials which you consider to be the best – competently written, structured, and clearly demonstrate any theoretical calculations. You should not only choose a good material for teaching but also be able to explain to the student why you chose it. Provide your student with additional materials, use the latest technologies in teaching, and make the educational process more interactive.

8. Write a tutoring contract

To avoid misunderstanding and therefore losing focus on what is important during the tutoring session, you should be upfront with all agreements. A tutoring contract would help to make sure, that both parties understand the agreements such as late cancellations, payments, putting classes on hold, or change of fees.

Bottom line

A good relationship between a student and tutor is vital for successful tutoring. This is one big advantage that a tutor has compared to a teacher. Understanding your students learning style and goals is important to see improvement. Don´t do too much enough to push your students towards their goals. Focus on what your students do well find ways to improve their weaknesses together. The demand for tutoring services is big and the competition high. Avoid becoming one of the many, take the responsibility, and increase the level of your knowledge. Keep improving yourself, and your educational program. We hope we could help you with our tutoring tips and wish you all the best for your tutoring sessions.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *