Volunteering as an online tutor with GT Scholars can be a great and rewarding experience for both the tutor and the tutee. Whether you are an experienced online tutor with GT Scholars or just getting started, we’ve put together some great tips to ensure your tutoring sessions kick off smoothly. These tips will help you make your sessions impactful, and allow you to build a great relationship with your tutee and their parents:
1. Contact the parent within 48hrs
The first thing you’ll need to do when receiving the contact details for your tutee is to contact the tutee’s parents within 48hours to introduce yourself and to set up the first tutoring session. Try not to delay the introduction call, because the programme is time sensitive and the sooner you set up your first session the better. Your first session will be your planning session and you’ll get a chance to discuss academic goals and expectations with your tutee’s parents. During this meeting, parents will also share some key information about their child which will be useful throughout the tutoring process.
2. Schedule regular sessions
When scheduling your tutoring sessions, consider keeping your sessions on the same weekday and at the same time in order to create a routine, ultimately deciding on dates and times that works best for you and your tutee. You will have 10 sessions throughout the term. If you can’t make a weekly session or your tutee has notified you in advance that they won’t be available, then sessions can be made up for by having 2 sessions the week prior, after that week or extend the next two sessions by 30min to make up for the missed session. Try to keep your sessions regular and consistent to set a good structure with some flexibility.
3. Always have video interaction
Amongst the most important parts of building a relationship with someone is being able to see them. You will be meeting with your tutee for the first time and putting a face to a name can help you establish a connection and also translate tone over the phone. Video calls also help by keeping the sessions fun and interactive. There are many benefits to video interaction such as teaching complex or visual subjects like Maths. Video sessions will create a great platform where it will be easier to have feedback and assist your tutee.
4. Never arrange tutoring sessions directly with your tutee
When making arrangements for sessions, remember to always contact the parents and never arrange sessions with the tutee directly. You could set up a 3-way WhatsApp group for you, the parent, and the tutee so that communication is clear and everybody is on board with the arrangement and schedule. If the parent insists on contacting their child directly, please notify us and we can talk to the parent about this.
5. Use the start of term assessment material to guide your sessions
At the start of the term, your tutee will receive a start of term assessment. You’ll receive the same assessment including the mark scheme for this assessment to review your tutee’s work. Ideally, your tutee should complete the start of term assessment before your first tutoring session, so you have a good starting point to work from but you can also complete the assessment together during your first session and assign some questions as homework to review at your next tutoring session. In your first online tutoring session, ask the tutee questions about their learning style, and see if you can adapt your session to match their needs.
6. Try to be consistent with your tutoring schedule
Keeping your sessions regular and consistent will help to build a structure for both you and your tutee. Try to always stick to the schedule but also keep in mind that being flexible in how you approach your role as a volunteer tutor may be the key to a smooth working relationship. Be mindful of the fact that students come from many different backgrounds and cultures, so you would want to avoid making assumptions or generalizations about students and their experiences.
7. Know when to make up for missed sessions
Any sessions that were cancelled from your side should be made up. If your tutee can’t make a session and has notified you in advance, the session can be rescheduled. Any last minute cancellations by the parent i.e on the previous day or the day will count as a missed session. If a tutee does not show up for a session, it will also count as a missed session. Please let us know as soon as possible if the tutee continues to miss sessions or postpone sessions. We have an 80% attendance policy and ideally, sessions should not run over the end of term date.
8. Use the resources section
After the initial start of term assessment, you’ll have a good starting point to create the ultimate tutoring plan. Take note of your tutee’s learning style and also ask your tutee if there is anything specific that he/she is struggling with and would like your help with. Knowing what your tutee’s needs are will really help you in planning your sessions and make them impactful. You can make use of the resource section and the Learning Directory to keep your sessions interesting and engaging.
9. Be prepared
Before you start your sessions you may want to take some time to read through the tutoring handbook. This handbook provides all the information you’ll need to guide you through the tutoring process and if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at any time.
10. Complete your progress planner after each session
Throughout the term and after each session you can use the Pupil Progress Planner to make notes that can be used to refer back to. Please keep track of the date and times of the sessions, the number of sessions, and if there were any missed sessions. You will also be able to use these notes at a later stage in order to give proper feedback and track the progress that was made throughout the term.
11. End of term report
The end term report will enable us to monitor the effectiveness of the tutoring programme. Aim to identify the tutee’s key strengths and areas that they will need extra help with. Your feedback will be valuable to your tutee and the parents and it will give them a birds eye view of what progress was made and what areas need to be focussed on. Keep in mind that your feedback will be important to your tutee and will also be a source of encouragement to the tutee.
12. Remember, we are here to help you
We have a fantastic support team who is on standby to help you if you experience any problems or need assistance during the term. Our programme manager will be in touch with you during the duration of the term, to check in with you and to make sure your sessions are running smoothly. But please do get in touch if there’s anything you’d like to discuss with us in between the check-in calls.