Most parents always say that they value teaching experience as the most important trait in a tutor. But is experience synonymous with effectiveness as a tutor? Well, no! The effective tutor aims way beyond just being a good tutor. After all, being effective is what is essential for succeeding as a tutor in the longer run.
Academic prowess, experience, and love for the job are three quintessential qualities. There is no compromising allowed with these. But, there are many other qualities that make a tutor effective. For example, would a child be able to learn well with a short-tempered but a well-qualified tutor? The answer is a big NO! Similarly, infinite patience cannot alone compensate for the lack of academic competence.
We have put together the top 5 qualities that we think make a tutor effective and irreplaceable in a child’s learning curve. Read on to know more:
While experience is what they say brings patience; we say, it’s more of a virtue developed by choice. If you choose to become a tutor, learning to be patient is the first baby step you must take. It’s likely that in your tutoring career’s journey, you will meet a myriad of students. Each would come from a different background. Each will have different areas of weakness and strength. All of them will have very different expectations from their tutor.
Now, the catch is that some children need more patience than others. Some might need patience levels that may put you through the toughest tests as well.
The best way to sail here is to know that what section of children do you generally gel well with – the junior grades or the senior grades? Keeping your audience in that one uniform segment can help with maintaining patience as well.
2. Flexibility, Dynamism & Openness to Changing
Tutoring is one profession that calls for continuous re-inventing. By re-inventing, we do not only imply knowledge up-gradation. An effective tutor is one who incessantly adjusts to the needs of their pupils. These needs can range from academic rigour to emotional needs. A tutor is effective only when they’re able to adapt quickly and change their pedagogy, communication style, etc.
Be prepared to be flexible on the following key fronts:
- Timetables – you may need to re-adjust your work hours depending on a new after school project or a hobby class chosen by your student. Greater flexibility with respect to scheduling of classes will ensure you long students who generally perform better than those who have been with you for a shorter span.
- Teaching style – if giving out blackboard lessons isn’t enough, you may need to provide printed notes or cheat sheets! If students ask for more example-based teaching, you may need to work up examples before taking a class. Be prepared to customize your teaching style to the needs of your students.
- Performance measurement – if subjective tests are more your style, you may be tempted to stick to only one every month. But introducing a quick 5 question objective test after each class can help you achieve much better results with some students. Be open to changing the yardstick of performance measurement from time to time.
Also read: How to ace private tutoring?
3. Emotional IQ
It is easy to create and adhere to fixed teaching patterns. While there is discipline when you don’t get emotionally involved with your students, sometimes this approach may not work.
For example, if you feel your student needs emotional support, be open to hearing them out. You mustn’t ignore a student who looks distressed and waits for the things to settle down on their own. Often an empathetic statement like – ‘dear would you want a day or two off from classes? You’re bright and we can cover it up, once you’re sorted my child,’ can make a whole lot of difference.
Look out for these key signs to be more emotionally intelligent with your students:
- Does a bright student appear unusually lost?
- Does a student seem occupied with the phone more than ever?
- Is a student making more silly mistakes than ever?
- Is a talkative student suddenly more reticent than ever?
These are often the red flags that must never be ignored. Your emotional IQ will help you deal with the different moods and situations of your students.
4. Good Communication Skills and the Ability to Make Students Visualize
An effective tutor is the one who can convey subject expertise in a lucid, understandable form to the students. Good communication includes it all – speech, clarity, use of appreciation, gestures, etc.
Good communication includes:
- Use of ample examples
- Being a patient listener
- Speaking clearly and audibly if addressing a larger batch
- Using optimal gestures and facial expressions while explaining
- Being meticulous about the correct pronunciation
- Not using heavy accents
Also, an effective tutor is one who can help their students visualize problems. There will be many tutors out there for example who could ace the 3D geometry concepts. How many of those tutors can help a student visualize the three planes? This is where differentiation occurs, and tutors have the opportunity to build long term reputation in pedagogy.
Some things you can use to help students visualize problems and concepts better are:
- Interactive physical teaching techniques like the use of models, building blocks
- Computer graphics, animations for science concepts
- Online videos, infographics, etc.
- Colored chalks and markers to bring more clarity to diagrams
- Every day articles to create simple functional models (example use two straws and a tumbler to demonstrate siphoning effect quickly!)
- Illustrative posters, maps, globes, informative charts, etc. with precise drawings
Also Read: Make Money as a Private Tutor
Declared a test date and failed to produce a question paper in time? Or, promised to show up at seven in the morning but reached at half-past seven?
Missing out on deadlines, promised notes, extra classes or timelines is almost antithetical to being an effective tutor.
A good math tutor, for example, can’t take it easy on a lesson plan, for every theorem derives from the previous one. Lack of planning and discipline can significantly hamper your effectiveness as a tutor. It is often good to address these issues right in the beginning. Plan your day, month and a quarter if possible, in advance. Stick to your lesson plans, meet the deadlines and always be punctual.
If you think you have it all that it takes to be an effective tutor and not just a good tutor, help is right here! At Talentnook, we support tutors by connecting prospective students and after-school education providers. Know who’s looking out for your talent in your vicinity. Explore local tutoring opportunities with Talentnook