Following are tips that you, as a tutor, can use to help students achieve their academic goals.
1. Communicate clearly and directly with the student at all times. Praise the student for material learned or progress made. Redirect the student honestly and directly, but do exhibit tact. Offer frequent words of encouragement.
2. Make good eye contact with the student.
3. Refrain from touching the student. Touching can be misinterpreted; and when touching is misinterpreted, the stakes are high.
4. Be consistent with the student. Inconsistency confuses and distracts most students.
5. Be attentive and responsive to the student and his/her verbal and non-verbal cues about what he/she is thinking and feeling.
6. Establish rapport with the student before you attempt to tutor the student.
7. Assess the student's current body of knowledge on the subject(s) for which tutoring is to occur, determine what the target body of knowledge is, and determine what course materials (i.e., text books, workbooks, etc.) that will be needed for your tutoring sessions. You may need to visit with the student's teacher(s) to accomplish this.
8. Find out by what medium the student learns best. Does he/she grasp material best when he reads about it? When it is read to or discussed with him/her? When he/she is allowed to learn by doing? When he/she is allowed to create or experiment? Tailor your tutoring methods to match whatever medium works best for the student.
9. Plan your tutoring objectives and activities thoroughly. It is important to have a destination (objectives) and a map to get there (tutoring activities). Ensure that the student and his/her parents agree with you about what the objectives are and how those objectives should be accomplished.
10. Begin each session's lesson with a brief review of what was learned in the prior session. (For example, "Last week, we learned to multiple by six. Before we work on multiplying by seven today, would you go through the sixes for me, please?")
11. Vary instructional activities so that a student doesn't stay on any one task too long. (What constitutes "too long" will depend on the age and attention span of the student.) It is best to alternate between sedentary learning activities (i.e., reading or listening) and physically active learning activities (i.e., conducting scientific experiments).
12. Limit distractions. Does the student's cellular telephone ring often throughout a tutoring session? Are snacks cluttering the student's study space? Is the study space uncomfortably hot or cold? These are but a few of the nearly limitless number of distractions that can make it difficult for a student to focus on his/her tutoring.
13. End each tutoring session with a review of what was learned during that session, praise for what was learned or where progress was made, offer insight into the difficulties that presented themselves during the session (i.e., where the student did not grasp coursework that was presented during the session), and how the student can work to overcome the difficulties going forward. Document all of this in a tutoring log book at the conclusion of each session.
14. Remember that what you're dealing with is the student's homework (not your homework). So, the work and the learning needs to be done by the student . . . with your coaching only.
15. Keep the student's parents informed of the student's academic progress.
You want to become a tutor. You have a few decisions to make so that you can get started in your new profession.
1. What are the subject matters on which you are qualified to tutor? For example, basic math, algebra, trigonometry, English grammar or composition, chemistry, biology, history, etc.
2. At what level do you want to tutor (i.e., elementary school, high school, college)?
3. Do you want to provide private tutoring services or would you prefer to be a tutor through a school system, a tutoring agency, or some other organization?
4. If you want to be a private tutor, what pay rate will you charge your clients? Where will you tutor (in the client's home, at a library, in your own home, or in some alternate location)?
Once these basic decisions are made, you can begin your tutoring job search in an informed, prepared manner.