Characteristics of a Good Tutor

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Characteristics of a Good Tutor

“I am a tutor and I enjoy the challenges and the joys of tutoring”.  

That is a statement I never knew I would be able or want to make.

Being a tutor, I believe,  should be one’s calling and not necessarily a job because a tutor’s impact in a student and his or her family could be a lasting one and it is important that this impact is a positive one.

As an elementary school student, I remember my academic struggles and the steps that were effective in helping me overcome them. I had many good teachers and counselors who tried to help but were unsuccessful. My journey is an indication that all students could have a bright light at the end of the tunnel if the right tools are employed.

The experiences during that journey have played a large role in informing my approach to students and tutoring philosophy.

From these experiences, I have developed these perspectives about tutors and the practice of tutoring:

1. A tutor should be very knowledgeable about the subject matter.

Tutors must be proficient in the subject matter for which they hope to provide tutoring services. A tutor’s proficiency in the subject or subject area is essential in building trust with the students and their parents.

2. A tutor should be a partner to the student’s parents and teachers.

Parents sometimes hire tutors for their children because they do not have the resources necessary to help their children. Some of these resources could be patience, time, and subject matter knowledge. In some instances, the parents’ schedules prevent them from dedicating time to their children’s educational goals.
In these cases, tutors should embrace their roles as the parents’ partners. In this role, tutors must understand the parents’ goals, possible barriers to accomplishing the goal, and changes necessary to make the goals attainable.

3. A tutor should be inclined to motivate and mentor their students.

Some students struggle because they lack understanding of the subject matter but others struggle because of factors that may be unrelated to their academic environment.
A tutor must develop a healthy relationship with their students so that the students feel safe sharing personal information that may be contributing to the students’ negative performance.  When these situations arise, the tutor must find ways to motivate and mentor the students realizing that building trust with these students pays dividend long-term.

4. A tutor should be likable.

This could easily be misinterpreted as creating an “everything-goes” environment which is very far from the truth.
A likable tutor is one who promotes a positive learning environment, is open to the diverse learning styles of the students, and enforces discipline.

Remember, students only work for teachers or tutors they like and trust.

5. A tutor should not offer false praises or unnecessary criticism.

An important responsibility of a tutor is building or restoring confidence in the students’ abilities.  For this to be effective and achieve the desired outcome, the tutor must be sincere about offering praises and criticism. 

Offering false praises gives a student a false sense of reality and will set the student up for failure in the future.  On the other hand, offering criticism unnecessarily does not create a positive environment for learning and growth.

Instead of either of these, identify the student’s areas of strength and success and highlight them often. Use these as sources for positive reinforcement.

Tutoring is a very rewarding experience because the end-result could be a life that has been transformed positively.

Matheaze Tutors was founded on this philosophy and the results thus far give us the assurance that this is a philosophy for success.

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