What Makes a Great Tutor?

Tutors can develop the skills that will make them great tutors. It is not just a matter of natural ability, these skills can also be learned. This article reviews the key skills of a great tutor.

If you're a tutor or a teacher, you're likely interested in finding out how you can become better at your job. The idea that great teachers are born and not made is untrue - there may be some teachers that naturally have the skills and talents that make them a great teacher, but that does not mean other people who don't naturally have those talents can't develop them. Even without natural ability, you can develop the skills that will make you a great teacher; it's just going to require some extra effort.

1. Great tutors are organised and prepared.

This characteristic is easy to understand and to develop in yourself. Even if you're not naturally organised, you can develop this skill - it's as simple as following a checklist of things to do to before and after each class or tutoring session and having the discipline to follow the checklist.

Being organised includes developing a long-term plan before the start of a semester, individual class plans before each class, and follow-up after each class to analyse what went well and what needs improvement for next class. It's also important to have the tools to stay organised. This includes a calendar, lesson plans and lesson notes for your students.

2. Great tutors engage and motivate students to learn.

Students learn in different ways, they have different attention spans, and different things interest them. Great teachers understand this, and they try to teach material in a way that relates to the student's interests to make it personally relevant for each one. First, try to find out what interests your students, next try to tie the concepts you're teaching to what the students find interesting. Your students will find it much easier to learn new material when it relates to something they're passionate about.

3. Great tutors care about their students as people.

As a teacher, you have the opportunity to have an enormous impact on the life of your students. Your ability to influence them at this stage in their life can determine their future educational opportunities, their future career, and ultimately their level of success in life. Think about this for each of your students. Make it your goal to provide them with an education that will help them reach their potential.

4. Great tutors are masters of their subject matter.

To be a great teacher, you need to fully understand your subject matter. When teaching younger children this may be easy, but when teaching or tutoring at higher levels in advanced subjects you truly need to be a master of the material you teach. Students lose confidence when their teacher doesn't know the answers or makes errors when teaching. To become a master in your subjects, you need to continually educate yourself.

5. Great tutors have clear, written-out objectives.

In any process where you want to control the outcome, it's important that you have clear, written-out objectives. These objectives will guide you to your ultimate goal, and you can use them to keep you on the right track as you pursue your goals. For regular teachers, you can have broad goals for the performance of your class, but you can also write out specific objectives for individual students. If you're a tutor, you should definitely have targets for a single student, and it's a good idea to include them in the process of writing out objectives.

6. Great tutors set high expectations for all students.

This characteristic may be one of the most important for great teachers. Great teachers have high expectations for all of their students, they are confident in their ability to teach students, and they know that their students can meet their high expectations given the right motivation. When students see that their teacher doesn't doubt their potential and holds them to higher standards, they begin to believe for themselves that they can reach the standards set by their teacher.

Christie Van Arragon is a tutor and education enthusiast that enjoys writing about interesting topics related to tutoring and education. If you are a tutor or own a tutoring company, Christie invites you to evaluate this tutoring software for your tutoring company.

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26 Oct 2017

By Christie Van Arragon
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