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Tutors have risen in popularity over the past few years due to a growing need for personalised learning and the noticeable benefits of one-on-one teaching. According to a report done by a social mobility charity, Sutton Trust, the number of 11 to 16-year-olds in England and Wales who receive extra tuition rose from 18% in 2005 to 25% in 2016. In London, the figure is even higher at 42%. They also noted that this private tuition mostly benefitted students from high-income backgrounds, widening the gap between students from different backgrounds.
Many parents want to ensure that their child does not fall behind, while students want to have a tutor that can support them with the subject knowledge, guide them through the challenging topics, and ultimately help them finish the year with a grade that they can be proud of.
Additionally, it is evident that a good quality tutor can be the difference between passing or failing at GCSE level, which can have a huge consequence on the student’s future. Therefore, a tutor needs to be good at what they do if they want to make a positive and lasting impact on a young person’s life.
Tutoring is not just about having the subject knowledge. One-on-one tutoring requires a certain amount of patience, adaptability and tenacity. Thus, it takes a special combination of personal qualities to be someone who can help a child to improve academically. So if you want to make sure that you have what it takes to be a good tutor, here are seven personal qualities that you should aim to improve:
- Patience: Every student is different, and not all of them will grasp a concept easily or learn quickly. It is also most likely that the student that really needs tutoring is a student that is struggling. Thus, tutors need to be very patient. Since schools have larger classes, everyone is more or less taught at the same pace. On the other hand, tutors need to teach slowly and at a pace that the student is comfortable with – it is the main point of one-on-one tutoring. Tutors must not rush through course work or get visibly impatient with a student that is struggling. This will discourage the student from learning.
- Expertise: A tutor needs to have a good understanding of the subject knowledge, but also needs to have the skills to teach it. They must be confident in their knowledge of the subject and be able to explain concepts easily. Good teaching skill is being able to take the subject knowledge and explaining it in such a way that the student understands it. This will include knowing where to start, being able to pace the work correctly, always checking that the child understands, being interactive, and simplifying difficult topics if need be.
- Adaptability: Tutors must be able to adapt themselves to every student that they work with. Since there is no universal formula, your approach must depend on the student’s individual need and the particular difficulties he or she experiences. Throughout the sessions, the tutor will have to keep track of the student’s progress and determine if you need to change your plan or approach if it is not working.
- Energy: The student must be kept attentive to make sure that they are absorbing everything that they are being taught. This will need for the tutor to be energetic and enthusiastic. Tutoring sessions should not just be like classes at school. Tutors should be interactive, and make the coursework interesting to inspire active interest in the student so that they can do well and overcome the discouragement by school and his or her bad grades. Being energetic also motivates the student to aspire to do better.
- Openness: Tutors need to be active listeners and demonstrate a level of openness that makes them approachable and accessible. Listening to the needs of the child will also help you to better understand the student’s situation so that you can come up with an effective plan. The tutor’s active involvement and openness will offer comforting support for a student in trouble and will make the student feel valued. Tutors can demonstrate openness by being visibly dedicated to making a difference in the student’s academics.
- Maturity: Tutors need to display maturity to make them a good role model to their student and to make them trustworthy to the parents of the student. Parents will not trust their children with you if you are impolite, cannot pay attention, or talk about inappropriate things. It is important to note that maturity has nothing to do with your age, and everything to do with how you carry yourself. You cannot carry yourself around your student like they are your friend, no matter how easygoing and open the tutoring is.
- Passion: Great tutors are passionate about the subject they teach and about making a difference in the student’s academic life. You need to love what you teach and show this passion by always being interested and eager. You want your students to feel that their success is important to you and that what you are teaching them is important. Passion should also be the main motivation for you to become a tutor, not money or experience.
Tutoring is important for a student’s academic development and success in their future. As you can see, tutors need to have a combination of the above good qualities to ensure that they are making an effective difference. The student is the focus and point of tutoring, and their needs to be met well.
The GT Scholars tutoring programme is designed to support young people with improving attainment in English, Maths and Science. Our volunteer tutors ensure that tutoring sessions are personalised and tailored to each student and that we give young people the support, skills and strategies that they need to achieve their ambitions. Contact us for more information about how to become a tutor with us and make a difference in a student’s life.