Being a tutor is an important responsibility! Your students are relying on you to help them improve their academic life, but how you approach each session can also impact how much you increase their confidence, independence, and likelihood to come back to you for help again in the future. Here are Train The Brain’s five mistakes to avoid as an online tutor:
1.) Lacking Awareness of Your Audience
The best thing you can do to help your students is to make sure you are engaging them with interesting examples and a personable disposition. This starts with taking the time to understand their needs and what style of teaching and instruction works best for them. This said, be sure that you don’t talk too much. Often, students get talked at a lot throughout their days. By making sure they have a chance to ask questions, repeat steps you’ve taught them, and practice on their own with your guidance, you will do a much better job engaging them in the content they’re trying to learn.
Another important way to be aware of your audience is to avoid distractions. Most students who are frustrated and coming to you for help will already be easily distracted because their minds are close to shutting down about the content you’re supposed to be helping them with. Avoid distractions by making sure that you are speaking clearly, staying on topic, showing interest in them as individuals, and ensuring your work space is quiet and distraction-free.
2.) Comparing Your Students
You might help several different students with the same type of academic struggles, and some might get it right away, some might take a few sessions, while others will need a much slower and deliberate approach. Comparing students can lead you down a path to frustration. One style of explanation might work easily on one group while another group might need a much more hands-on approach. It’s a no-win situation when you say to yourself, “I did this with a student yesterday, and they got it right away!” That type of thinking doesn’t push you to become a more innovative tutor, and it doesn’t recognize your clients as the individuals they are.
3.) Not Teaching Them How to Learn
One of the important aspects of being a highly skilled tutor is setting your priorities. It’s easy to just tell students the steps or give them answers over and over again, thinking that’s helping them. But really, they could Google most of that. Your job is to help them understand how to learn. Instead of giving them the next step, ask them, “What do your notes say you should do now?” Or “How would you break down that essay topic?” Have them go back to the examples you’ve looked at together and ask them leading questions toward the answers they’re looking for. Students learn best when they figure things out by themselves after you’ve guided them along the way.
4.) Not Being Prepared
When you see you have an upcoming tutoring session, it’s important to be prepared. Thinking, “I’ve done this a bunch of times,” is not the best way to approach your students as individuals. It’s a good idea to take a look at the specific topic they’re struggling with and prepare examples ahead of time. You can also take advantage of the digital tools at your disposal and be familiar with the technology you have available to you. At Train The Brain, we use digital white board technology. If you’re fumbling around with the tech during your session, your students will not leave satisfied, and you want to help them learn rather than leave more frustrated than when they came! If you want repeat customers, being prepared will show them that their academic progress is valuable to you.
5.) Not Using Student Feedback
Our tutors get feedback after their sessions, so reading feedback with a growth mindset is a helpful tool to grow by. Some of your students will be young, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider how you can apply their individual feedback to help you serve future clients better. Applying both positive and constructive feedback as a tool to grow can help you provide the best service to the students who need you.
Train The Brain
If you want to learn more about TTB and the services we offer, feel free to check out our services and our blog. Additionally, you can reach out to our Train The Brain admins online. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.