Your First Lesson as a Tutor
Starting your first tuition lesson can be very intimidating for a tutor, especially a new one. It is important that you understand and connect with your tuition student, and also communicating with the parents and getting them involved in their child’s academics.
We’ve listed down 5 handy tips for tutors to better ready themselves before they begin their first lesson.
- Preparing yourself for the first lesson
Before you even head down to your first tuition lesson, we advise that you should make a phone call with the parent, once you’ve obtained their contact details from your tuition agency. Call the parents and find out more about their child’s learning abilities and problems they face in school, exams and school work. Get information on their school & exam schedules and performance.
Ask the parent what are their goals they want to achieve for their child in terms of academics, and what are their child’s own academic goals. Once you understand their goals, establish a plan with them on how you can help them to achieve it based on your gauge of the child’s weakness and strength.
This would earn you some brownie points with the parents, as they would have the impression that you are a productive and diligent tutor who is able to do your best to achieve the goals they want to achieve. It is very important that you establish and maintain an excellent parent-teacher relationship.
Ask the parent or student what they would like to be taught during the first lesson, and whether they require any learning materials from you. Let them know that it would be recommended that the tuition lesson be conducted at a quiet environment with few distractions, so the student can remain focus during the lesson.
- Staying organized
As a private tutor, you should be organized, especially once you have a larger number of students under you. It is recommended that you maintain an organizer, to keep your students’ personal details, tuition schedules, an effective plan on how you are going to tutor each student, as well as the assistance of what each student need. This is to ensure that your various lesson plan for each student is productive, as every minute in a tuition session is important for both your student and their parents.
By staying organized, you’ll be able to ensure that the academic goals of your student and their parents can be met, as long as your student put in their own hard work as well. It is recommended that you meet the parents after the first lesson, to provide them with an outline of your lesson plan and discuss with them on how this plan will be able to help them achieve their goals.
- Set rules for the tuition
To ensure that the initial session as well as the subsequent tuition sessions can go smoothly and effectively, it is recommended that you set some rules with your student before you even begin teaching in your first lesson. Doing so would set the scene with your student on what is expected and what would be frowned upon during your lessons.
Set some ground rules on how you want them to raise questions, what they should do when they start losing focus, what they can and cannot do during lessons, etc. As your students are at an impressionable age, you should also be a good role model for them.
- Engaging with your student
The first tuition lesson can be as intimidating for you as it can also be for your student. It is a good idea that you keep the student relaxed with your presence, lowering their anxiety as well as yours. This would ensure that you are approachable with the student, so there would not be any barrier between both you and your student when it comes to asking questions. However, you would also need to strike a balance, in this professional relationship, between being too friendly and too strict.
You should also get to know your student personally, so you would know how to engage them based on their interest, especially so when your students start losing focus. For example, if your student enjoys playing video games, you can talk about video game characters or strategies to keep your lessons interesting. You can also turn to video tutorials on YouTube if the topic you’re teaching is dry.
- Helping your student understand better
Your role as a tutor is to guide your student, helping them understand the subject in a method that is different from what was used in school. As a private tutor, you can challenge your student to think about what they’ve learnt and help them develop valuable cognitive skills. This can be done by asking what, why and how a particular method is used or question is answered.
You should also be providing your students with constructive feedback on their school work or exam answers, as well as complimenting them if they mastered a new concept or method or did a good job in answering a question.
Being your first lesson, it is important that you build an excellent relationship with your student, as well as their parent. This would enable you to teach and communicate with them effectively and they will be able to achieve their goals. First impression counts, and it sets the scene for future lesson, thus show them you are confident, professional and approachable. Do not be unduly strict, otherwise your student will be intimidated by you and form a barrier, preventing them from asking questions freely and participating in the lesson actively.