7 Personal Qualities of a Good Tutor

7 Personal Qualities of a Good Tutor

Other Volunteer Roles Private tutoring Volunteer tutors Volunteers What's new?

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.

7 Personal Qualities of a Good Mentor

7 Personal Qualities of a Good Mentor

Other Volunteer Roles Volunteers What's new? Young people

Mentorships provide an ample amount of benefits to both the mentee and the mentor. In a corporate setting, older or more established business owners or managers take on a younger, inexperienced person with great potential to personally train and advise. This kind of professional relationship would most likely end up with the mentee gaining valuable skills and experience to realise their potential and probably become a successful business owner themselves. The mentor would also benefit by imparting their own wisdom and values and creating their own legacy. This is why it is strongly advocated for by business owners and entrepreneurs.

As with corporate mentorships, mentoring of young people can provide similar benefits. Young people who have a mentor are 55% more likely to enrol in college, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly, and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions. Adults who have a passion for helping young people, take the initiative to make sure that young people have access to advice, guidance and training, while also being able to make a difference and create a legacy.

Though the thought behind mentorship is good and altruistic, it must be noted that it takes certain skills and qualities to be a good mentor. This includes a special combination of knowledge, adaptability, experience and wisdom. Furthermore, young people are often vulnerable and impressionable, thus extra care needs to be taken to ensure that they are not misled by a negative mentorship.

So if you want to make sure that you have what it takes to be a good mentor, then here are seven personal qualities that you should definitely have:

  • Dedication: You must be someone who can be fully dedicated. This includes committing yourself to make the necessary effort and being able to make enough time in your schedule. A mentorship does not have to be a huge commitment if you manage your time well. Together with being dedicated, you must make your dedication visibly evident. Young people will easily pick up an attitude that does not reflect the right level of commitment.


  • Adaptability: You have to be adaptable and realise that you have to work around your mentee’s needs. This is not an internship where a younger person learns and gains experience through attending to the needs of their boss. A mentorship is first and foremost about the mentee’s needs. You should be flexible and easily provide help and guidance when needed.


  • Openness: A good mentor is always approachable. Your attitude should not depend on how you are feeling on that day. Whenever you are with your mentee, you must be enthusiastic, patient and kind so that he/she feels welcome and comfortable. Being approachable also mean you have to create a feeling of openness so that they are comfortable with talking about any issue that is bothering him/her.


  • Tolerance: You must be mature and tolerant enough to deal with a young person. Young people are not necessarily going to be in a good mood all the time. Thus, your respect for them should not depend on receiving their respect in return. You must be patient and be able to tolerate them at all times.


  • Respect: With tolerance, a good mentor should also respect the dignity of the mentee. Even though your mentee is younger than you, you must still treat them well. Do not patronise them for being young or inexperienced. It is also imperative that you do not trivialise the issues that they are going through. It may seem simple or small to you, but always remember that they do not have your level of experience.


  • Understanding: You must always be understanding and empathetic. To be understanding of your mentee, you should be someone who is a good listener. Listen attentively to everything that they say, and make mental or actual notes if need be. Do not overrule the conversation and always be the one who is talking. Although you want to impart your wisdom to your mentee, it would make sense to understand what they need before you provide solutions.


  • Credibility: You should be credible and have actual experience and good wisdom to impart. After listening carefully to your mentee describe an issue or situation, you need to provide support, advice or direction. You can either work together with your mentee to come up with a solution or provide them with stories about how you dealt with a similar situation in your past. You can also just use your expertise or specific knowledge from your occupation to provide credible solutions. Do not be afraid of telling your mentee about your failures or previous setbacks – this makes you relatable. You must just be sure that there is a good outcome or positive ending that can make this a valuable lesson.

As you can see, being a mentor is not necessarily a walk in the park, and there are many things to consider before you choose to be a mentor. On the other hand, if you do have these seven qualities, you are likely to be a superb mentor. Thus, we urge you to consider becoming a mentor. Young people of today desperately need direction and guidance, and you would definitely make a positive impact, not to mention you would also be able to create a lasting legacy.

GT Scholars provides an excellent mentoring programme for scholars aged 11 to 16. The mentoring sessions involve working one-to-one with a mentee that is linked to your career or working in a small group of peers. You will have approximately 6 sessions in the year. The sessions are mostly focused on setting personal goals and coming up with suitable solutions or ways to achieving your goals. Get in contact with us for more information.

Parents: Local libraries are closing and what this means for educational equality

Parents: Local libraries are closing and what this means for educational equality

Narrowing the gap Parents Social mobility What's new?

Recently, the BBC reported that around 343 local libraries in the UK closed in the last six years. The rest of the article continues to discuss the effects this has on the professionalism of the government service, but little mention was made as to what these closures mean for educational equality.

No matter how gifted and talented a student or child may be, or whether a student receives private tuition or not, access to educational resources is vital to the nurture of a growth mindset. The British government acknowledged the important role of libraries when they approved The Public Libraries and Museums Act in 1964, an act that made the provision of a library service a duty of the local authorities.

And yet, the number of libraries available to local communities continues to decrease year after year. Government spending cuts, that have seen an exchange of full-time staff for volunteers taking library roles, have been justified due to a decrease in the overall number of people visiting local libraries (including children).

But should a drop in library visits lead to a situation in which those communities who benefit the most from them ultimately lose out?

Who is affected?

The Taking Part 2015/16 Quarter 2 Report by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport states that whilst adults from black and minority ethnic groups showed a significant decline in library use along with the white group, the gap between the two groups is widening. To add to this, of the adults interviewed it was those who lived in the most deprived areas that visited the library more than those living in the least deprived areas.

With this report it is instantly clear that deprived communities and groups already performing worse at school, those less likely to have access to private tuition or private schooling, will also suffer more from the closure of local libraries.

It’s all too easy to observe the 21st Century population walking the streets with their heads bent over their mobiles whilst forgetting that there’s still a significant proportion of the population that don’t have personal internet access. A report into the Welsh Libraries service claimed that 50% of respondents visited their local libraries because they had no home computer.

But most importantly, with the need for computer literacy and digital skills in today’s workplace, a lack of access to computers brought about by the fact that local libraries are closing could reduce the employment chances of those that are already unable to afford a personal computer, internet, or private and home tuition. This couldn’t be much clearer than in the following statistics which show that 22% of Welsh library visitors need help to use the computer and 30% use library computers for job hunting.

What this means for educational equality

Perhaps you are reading this blog article online? On a smartphone or laptop? Our ability to research topics online has sped up the process of research for our studies, free book-reading apps make it simple to download new reading material at the click of a button and with affordable smartphones there is less need to visit the local library to use their computers.

But focusing on the declining use of local libraries by a whole population under one government budget, rather than focusing on the need for the service in specific local communities, could impact educational equality as a whole. It would be a terrible shame to limit the job prospects and educational potential of children from those families who can’t afford a home computer or internet, because without equal resources they may continue to lack the funds to provide the same resources to their children in the future.  

At GT Scholars, we know that young people are capable of achieving their full potential if they have the right support and that promoting educational equality is the right thing to do. This is why we offer a high impact tutoring programme in Croydon founded on the belief that every child should have the chance and the choice to succeed academically and in their chosen career.

To find out more about the GT Scholars Programme, why not meet us at one of our information sessions? You can book tickets online by visiting www.gtscholars.org/information-sessions