If you want to become a private tutor, be it for languages, sciences, or mathematics, then you'll need to have good knowledge of the school curriculum in your Province or region, depending on the student's level and course at school.
In order to ensure that your students get the most out of their tutoring lessons with you, then you'll need to make sure that you have the right resources and plan your tutoring lessons ahead of time.
So how do you get started planning private tutoring lessons?
Check out these great resources that our talented tutors on Superprof swear by!
What qualities do I need to be a great private tutor?
It is pretty self-evident that if you want to be a good teacher, that you have excellent knowledge and understanding of the subject you are teaching. You'll also need to be familiar with curriculum and methodology. But a good knowledge of your subject is not the only thing you'll need...
You'll need to consider the main reason that your students are seeking your help. Some students may be struggling to keep up with their classes, others may not be challenged enough and want to explore certain subjects even further. Others may need help with entrance exams or may need help preparing for university entrance.
You will therefore have to adapt your lessons to meet each of your student's individual needs. This means using the right resources required to help the student learn the material based upon their individual learning style. Some students may be more visual learners and learn better with diagrams and videos, others may prefer to be explained something orally, while others prefer interactive exercises. Take the time to get to know your student and find out what works best for them!
Always present yourself in the most professional way possible. This means arriving on time for your lessons, in a presentable way. Make sure that you have a neat and tidy physical appearance and that you are well dressed and washed. You'll always want to make sure to leave a good impression on your students and their parents. They may even recommend you to other students in their network who you could also offer your tutoring services to.
You'll need to have a good idea of the curriculum and subject matter that is taught and that the student would like to cover. Always be sure to be familiar with what’s on the curriculum.
It's a good idea to speak with the parents or student beforehand, to see if they can share the curriculum and course content, to help you to prepare your classes and lesson plans in the future.
No matter what subject you are teaching, it's your job to help bridge the gap between what the student is learning in class by working on particular areas where the student may be struggling. This is where your teaching methodology comes in.
With the right teaching methodology, you can help your student to overcome their learning difficulties and see real progress in school. You'll be able to tailor your teaching to your student's needs. As a tutor, you will need to:
- Explain your knowledge in a way that is clear for your student
- Be flexible in your teaching approaches and methodology (remember that every student is different)
- Be patient and understanding of your student's needs
- Be an excellent communicator
- Be dedicated to helping your student succeed
- Have excellent listening skills
- Be organised: plan your lessons in advance and set achievable goals for your student
- Be encouraging and remember that your goal is to keep your student motivated
- Ensure your personal schedule is congruent with the student's needs
As a tutor, you'll need to show patience and understanding to your students. They are probably just as frustrated as you are if they are unable to understand a concept.
If a student is stuck on a concept or just simply can't work out that math problem, then you may need to adjust your approach. If your student is getting frustrated, take a step back and ask your student to examine the problem from a new angle or explain the concept in a way that may be relevant for your student. Don't be afraid to change things! Remain flexible in your lesson plans and always adapt your teaching to suit your student's needs.
Excellent communication skills are also an essential to be a successful tutor. You'll need to adapt your communication to ensure that your students understand the concepts as clearly as possible. For example, you wouldn't explain a math concept in the same way to a ten year old as you would to a university student. Always remember to adapt your communication to your student and to regularly ask your student for feedback to make sure that they understand the concepts you are teaching.
Lastly, you'll need to make sure that you are available and fully committed to teaching your student. If you anticipate that you'll be too busy or have to many personal or professional engagements, it's probably best not to take on a new tutoring job. It's important to discuss with your student and their family before agreeing to regular tutoring sessions, how many times per week and what days you are available, as well as your availability during vacations and school holidays. Always give plenty of notice if you are expecting to take a holiday or that you won't be available during certain periods to teach.
Aside from all these essential qualities and excellent knowledge of your subject, what kind of tangible resources should you use when planning for your private tutoring lessons?
Teaching resources for private tutors
Now that you've thought about all the personal qualities you'll need as a private tutor, you'll need to think about the kind of tangible resources that you'll need to prepare for your classes.
The most standard resources you'll need to bring along (even for your very first session) should include textbooks, notebooks, papers, summary sheets and even digital resources with education apps or websites. For your first tutoring session, you may also wish to test the level of your student by preparing a short assessment test to get an idea of their levels and their strengths and weaknesses. You'll then be able to plan your lessons accordingly.
When you prepare for your lessons, it's a good idea to go through your textbooks and exercise books to select exercises to work on with your student.
How you conduct your lessons will depend on the subject you are teaching, as well as the age and level of the student. While high school and university students may be able to dive right in with practicing exercises and exam technique, younger students may require more interactive and engaging lessons. Look up fun and interactive education games on the internet and don't be afraid to use digital content such as apps and learning websites to incorporate into your lessons.
It's also important to check up with your student regularly to see how their classes are going. Do they feel that your tutoring lessons are helping them catch up with classes? Are there certain areas that they are struggling with and would like to go over? Are there other concepts that would like to explore further? It's your job to spark your students interest and incite their love for learning!
Here is a list of helpful materials to help you plan your lessons and keep them interesting for your students:
- A lesson plan
- Summary sheets to review key concepts
- Practice exercises with follow-up solutions
- Learning documents with visuals (diagrams, summary tables, graphs etc)
- Word clouds or brainstorm ideas with your student
- Regular evaluations to assess the student's progress
- Digital apps and websites for education
When it comes to private tutoring sessions, you'll never know what to expect so always make sure to plan your lessons.
Interactive teaching techniques
Every good tutor should be aware of their students' individual learning needs.
Teaching in a different way
One interesting and well-known technique to help students learn is the Montessori Method of education.
The Montessori method is based on the principle that students learn at their own pace.
Children should be given some freedom to choose the activities that interest them the most. The Montessori approach gives children the freedom to learn at the pace which is most suitable for them, and allowing them to explore and to experience new things as individuals or in small groups.
The method also incorporates physical objects and games to encourage learning. As a private tutor, it could be interesting to do some research on the Montessori method and even to consider incorporating some of their methods and ideas into your private tutoring sessions.
You may also consider what the best location for private lessons is.It's up to you and your student to work out the best location for your lessons.
Resources for online tutorials
If you are tutoring online, there are a number of great resources to help you teach new content to your students. Now it's even possible to use video games during your tutoring sessions!
Interactive online games can help your student learn new content in a fun and engaging way. They'll have so much fun they won't even realise that they are learning at the same time!
Explore the internet and see what kind of apps and website would be best for your student and to supplement your lessons. Check out learning platforms like Khan academy and MOOCs for great content to help you plan your lessons. The internet has thousands of resources that you'll be able to use! You'll even find great content that is absolutely free!
Preparing fun and interactive digital content for your students is sure to keep them interested and motivated during your tutoring lessons.
So now that you're equipped with all of the teaching resources you'll need for successful tutoring lessons, you may want to consider more great ideas to personalise your tutoring sessions.