Top Tips to Be a Better Tutor

Top Tips to Be a Better Tutor

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”

— Malala Yousafzai

We at Motee believe everyone is a tutor.

You don’t have to be a master in your field or a certified professor to tutor another college student. Let me share the tips I learned from my Genetics college tutor. Jennifer was a Biology major and a senior. She went beyond the normal TA and excelled as a college tutor. She earned a little extra money for college and improved her own understanding of Biology.

Here are a few tips I picked up from Jennifer. She’s a pro tutor. And a super smart biologist. Use these strategies to earn a reputation as a great tutor and make more money by attracting more students.

1. Message your student beforehand to make sure you completely understand the specific thing they need help with. Focusing on a small, specific task like homework help, or a specific difficult concept from the course, will help you use your time wisely.

2. Create a safe space. Find a public but comfortable location, like a library, coffee shop or common area. You need to strike the right balance for conversation and comfort. Too private can feel sketchy and too public can be distracting.

3. When you sit down to start your session, confirm the end-time with your student and make sure you both stick to it. It’s important to respect their time and they should respect yours.

4. Relax and be yourself.

5. Give space for a spectrum of emotions. Learning anything new is uncomfortable at first. Or at one million. This is the secret sauce. Let people feel what they need to feel. When they make the connection, discomfort will convert instantly to excitement.

6. Check in often with the student during the session to make sure they are keeping up. You’re an expert, so you may be moving too fast for your student who is taking a hard class. Students are usually stressed out and might not communicate their needs well. Practice patience.

7. Stay positive and enthusiastic – it will be contagious!

8. Praise the small steps. Jennifer let me know when the ideas were clicking. That kept me engaged.

Even though learning to be a great peer tutor can be challenging, it’s much more beneficial to the student than online tutoring or video tutorials. Tutoring also benefits the tutor by building communication and leadership skills and reinforcing complex concepts. Persist, and be rewarded.