In addition to the purely technical skills of the subject/s in which you specialise, being a great private tutor requires you to have both hard and soft skills. You obviously wouldn't offer one-on-one tutorials in maths if you don't know about geometry, integrals, derivatives, algebra or trig, and you probably won't find Chinese tutors who don't speak Chinese! 

Nonetheless, simply having good technical skills isn't the bar for being a good private tutor. Whether in-home or online, research shows that the quality of the educator has an effect on a student's academic success and a real impact on their academic skills. This is why online, private and in-home tutoring has become increasingly popular as an alternative job for teachers.

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3 Key Traits that You Need to Become a Tutor

  • Promoting a Positive Working Environment 
  • Teaching What You Know and Knowing What You Teach
  • Adapting Your Tutoring Program for Your Student's Needs

This article will explore the fundamental qualities required of one-on-one tutoring professionals. We will particularly focus on the teaching method, comprehension and on pedagogy: the teaching of teaching.

It doesn't matter if you're an English tutor, Physics tutor, Methods tutor, give guitar lessons or provide academic assistance for maths or science courses - this article will help you help students who need your expertise by assisting you to become a quality private tutor.

These traits will help you find students and tutees for your in-home private tutorials or online tutorials.

Organising your Tutoring Jobs.

After you have created your personalised advertisement for your in-home or online private tutorials and found some students, it's time to educate them!

Become a tutor: Preparing for your tutor jobs.
Being organised is a critical first step for giving high-quality private tutoring sessions.

Your success as a private tutor and the success of the tutee under your guidance is dependent on your ability to adapt to their academic goals, expectations, and needs. Having a pre-established methodology to your teaching will stand you in good stead, but you must be able to teach the student in front of you.

That being said, the methodology will be roughly the same no matter what the subject is that you are planning to teach.

Whether you're a math tutor, a biology tutor, a chemistry tutor, or you give tutorials in computer science, accounting, French (or any foreign language subject), history, business management, psychology, singing or playing the saxophone (or any instrument), you must ask the question: how do I get my message across?

The success of a private tutor and their private tutoring program is dependent on their organisation and dedication in terms of the time committed to the preparation of your tutorials. It's not as simple as improvising the activities or exercises on the day. You need a plan and some lesson structure.

The best tutors are well prepared. Being prepared demonstrates your commitment and diligence and has a direct impact on your private tutoring reputation. 

One last thing to consider: if you have a student who alternates between online tutoring and at-home tutorial sessions you may have to differ in your approach, depending on the format of the tutorial session. You have to be both reliable and prepared to uphold your reputation.

If you're going to be giving online private tutorials, or wherever you're planning to give your tutorials for that matter; make sure you are organised.

Establishing the Working Environment: Overcoming Challenges in Private Tutoring Jobs.

A huge part of your job is simply understanding the student you're teaching.

Scheduling an initial meeting is important as it will help you establish your expectations, the expectations of your student and (if applicable), the student's parents. It will also help you to determine the individual needs and learning style of your student, and enable you to introduce your educational methodology. This process will help you establish a positive working environment, helping your students to feel safe to succeed.

Identifying specific objectives with your pupil is a powerful tool. It serves to clarify the academic goals you and your student will create together, preparing you both for success. Examples of objectives might be:

  • to achieve better exam scores (maybe VCE), or attain a particular grade or level of distinction for an assignment, a project, or homework.
  • to achieve a specific resit grade or to advance in class along with their peers.
  • to grasp a specific concept in their curriculum.
  • to attain a specific qualification before a certain date or period of time.

Ask your students about the trouble they're having. It's important to understand which math problems or math exercises they struggle with, or which English Literature essay topic they might not understand how to tackle.

It's important to determine how your student likes to work. Your tutoring jobs will go much smoother if you use the right methods to help your students make progress and improve.

Always, always, always be positive with your students. Boost their confidence by telling them where they are improving. Encourage them when they hit a little roadblock. Remind them of their capability to succeed.

Highlight development goals systematically in a constructive and positive way. Presenting these goals in a positive light will help your students focus on achieving them.

Most importantly, your students should feel at home with you and your teaching methods.

Always stay calm and smile. Students at any age will feel much more relaxed during your individualised tutoring programs.

Don't forget that a sense of humour is another key characteristic of a good private tutor.

What Does Your Tailored Private Tutoring Program Offer?

As a private tutor, your tutoring program is dependant on a few things:

  • Your student's academic level: Providing academic tutoring in private tutorial sessions for a VCE student is not the same as providing academic support to an undergraduate student studying biomedicine. The curriculums are very different, and so must your approach as an educator.
  • Adapt the program to address the individual needs of your student: having a teaching methodology is excellent, but it can't be so rigid that you ignore the needs of the student sitting in front of you. Learn how they learn best, and cater to their academic individuality.
  • Adapt your program based upon the academic circumstances: your teaching methodology needs to differentiate between a student that needs help with exam preparation and a student who just needs some homework assistance. As an example, a close study of past exams or practice exams would be an effective educational strategy if your student has an exam coming up.

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Become a tutor: work with your student as an individual.
Juggle your student's strengths and weaknesses to create an individualised program in your tutor jobs.

You need to know how to adapt your lesson plans to the most relevant learning phases of your students. This means communicating with them so that you know what their imminent assessments are and when they're due. With this knowledge you'll know when to bolster your student's knowledge base and when to focus on revision, (typically before and exam).

The best private tutors adapt their tutorials to their students.

Private Tutoring: Keeping Your Students in the Long Term

One of the best ways to keep a student in the long term is to work with them consistently throughout their academic career.

Measuring a students progress in tutor jobs.
Put in the effort with your private tutoring and you'll see the fruits of your labour!

Consistency is another important factor in keeping your students around. One tutorial session per week is much better than a few tutorials all in a row, followed by a long break.

Having consistency will also help your students retain the concepts learned in previous sessions, so you won't have to waste too much time reminding your student of things you've already covered.

Obviously you don't have complete control over the consistency of your schedule with a student, but you can make strong recommendations to your client (student or parents) to schedule tutorial sessions regularly. Remember, it's in the best interest of the student - and their academic success - too.

As we mentioned, the first tutorial is the best time to evaluate the expectations, strengths, weaknesses and learning styles of your student.

It's good practice to revisit this conversation as you make progress with them, allowing them to participate and guide their own learning, and to adjust their goals as time goes on.

This will engender trust between you and your students, and will help your students track their own progress and gain confidence in their academic ability.

You can find tutoring jobs Brisbane on Superprof.

Freelancing, In-home Tutorials and Tutoring Jobs.

Generally, the goal of a private tutor is to help a student to become academically independent and successful. An academic support coach isn't going to teach one student forever. 

How do I promote independent learning in my private tutoring sessions?
A private tutor's job is to help a student achieve academic independence. 

How long will it take for your students to cultivate that independence? That depends on the student in front of you; your role is to provide supplemental instruction with that goal in mind. When you become a tutor, you become an intermediary that promotes study skills and academic success.

As a one on one tutor, it's your responsibility to not only teach the content of your subjects to your students but to also help your student "learn to learn". This is the best way to ensure that they will succeed academically in the long run.

This is the difference between a dependent student who thinks it is their teacher's responsibility to teach and an independent student who is willing to take control of their learning. This is an invaluable skill set that students can apply to every subject that they study.

What does this mean for you? It means you'll need to provide them a method to complement their skills. This process must be clear to your students so that they accept its necessity. This is how they will gain academic autonomy.

To sum it up:

  • The best private tutors are methodical and committed educators and good observers.
  • They must diagnose the academic difficulties being encountered by their students and be able to adapt their program and work methods based on the individual.
  • The goal of tutoring must be based on seeking academic progress and improvement in order for the student to regain their academic autonomy.
  • The best academic couching will guide the student until they're capable of taking control of their own education.

A Private Tutor Is...

  • A good communicator.
  • Passionate and enthusiastic about teaching.
  • Humorous and able to laugh with their students.
  • Able to take into account their student's opinions.
  • Respectful to students, parents and other teachers.

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