Well it’s true! Although I have been tutoring for 7 years, I have worked as a full time teacher in a private school in Amman a while back. It may seem natural to a lot of people; that a person can be both a teacher and a tutor, right?
I’m going to be frank here, not only have I enjoyed being a tutor more than a teacher, but I have also found out that I am better at doing my job as a tutor than doing it as a teacher. To me, teaching isn’t only about giving a class on numbers or atoms, it goes far beyond that. It is the way you explain it and the way your students react to receiving the information. That’s where all the magic happens!
I realized that focusing on one student, making sure that he grasps the information you’re giving him and watching his reaction when he finally gets it, is much more rewarding and exciting than having my eyes on the board in a class full of students the whole time. But do my students feel the same way about having a class with me as I do about giving them a class?
It’s quite uncommon to ask a student if they enjoy learning Math, right?
Well, that’s what I thought at first which is why I never got my hopes high. All I cared about then wasdelivering the information, you know, explain this and that, give a couple of examples, let them solve some questions and wrap up the lesson. As time passed; however, and after a couple of classes, I started noticing that some students are actually enjoying solving Math problems and are asking me to challenge them with even harder questions than the ones in the book. It appeared as if they didn’t only need a tutor to help them with Math problems, but they mostly needed someone to push them beyond their capabilities and make the experience a little more entertaining and challenging.
Students react better to having to solve problems if you make it sound like only they have the key to solving them, rather than solving boring questions that make no sense to them. To my surprise, it wasn’t long before many of my students started showing genuine interest in doing Mathematics; using logic and common sense when solving problems became one of the approaches that they mastered.
If someone asks me what moments I have enjoyed the most during my journey as tutor, I would say it’s when I get those phone calls from my students after they finish a big exam that we’ve been preparing for over 6 months, and I hear that tone of relief in their voices. What’s even better than that is the feeling I get when I receive those phone calls from them a month later with their voices shaking, loud sounds and music all around them, then they tell me: “Miss, I just wanted to let you know of my score, I don’t think I could have done it without you, thank you!”. Of course I always tell them that it’s their efforts not mine and that they should be very proud of what they’ve been able to achieve, but hey, there is absolutely no harm in taking pride in the fact that you have helped them get there and achieve their goal! I will always celebrate those little achievements as if they were mine, because they are. Nothing will ever beat that feeling.
Written by Areen G. – Grandmaster @instatoot
One of the tricks to being a good tutor is knowing your audience. Sure, you’re getting paid by parents and they usually think they know best, but what you know is students, and you know them well. I’ve come to realize that dealing with parents and students simultaneously as a tutor is an art that can be mastered. If you’re a parent and you’re reading this, don’t panic. We as tutors realize that you think you know your kids’ weaknesses best, and most of the time, you have it spot on. But we also know how to deal with students. This is particularly true when a tutor is close in age to their student, because it allows students to develop this kind of kindred spirit and trust towards the tutor.
When it comes to students who have behavioral problems in class or in a session, the kind who think that they don’t need school and are giving their parents the worst teenage years of their life, all you need to do as a tutor is gain the parents’ trust. Show them that you know how to deal with their kids and that you know best. Doing so will give you the reigns to handle the situation in the ways that you truly know best based on your experience. Now you should know that it’s a huge mistake to think that getting along with your students and gaining their trust you is an easy task. It’s really not. Some of them could give you what may seem like the hardest task you’ll ever face as a teacher or a tutor, some will show resistance, lack of enthusiasm and bafflement, while others will give you that “I cannot wait for the class to be over” attitude. However, if you see the potential in them, and you always will, it’ll be worth all the hard work. As a tutor, nothing feels as good as that feeling you get when you realize you’ve finally gotten to them; when you see them actually starting to believe in themselves, and it’s all because of you. Don’t think I don’t see the selfish factor here, but in the end, it’s a win-win situation.
Obviously, nothing will work out if you don’t know your basics; the better you are as an actual teacher who can provide knowledge, both academically and on a personal level, the more confident you will be when it comes to controlling difficult situations and helping your students shine and reach higher levels of knowledge. If you have that down, the parents are definitely going to let you take over.
So, if I were to wrap this up in a few words, I’d say know your academics, know how to find the keys that unlock your students’ potential, and know how to allow parents to trust you!
Written by Raja’ Urabi, awesome instructor @instatoot
Let’s all be honest for a minute; we’ve all had our moments of doubt before tutoring a student. Be it lack of confidence or lack of preparation, this happens more often than not, even to the best tutors or classroom teachers out there. And in most cases, it’s just our minds playing tricks on us. So this got me thinking, what really makes a great tutor?
There are quite a few amazing ones out there. Those who show up on time, those who graduated top of their class, and those who are really good and do not charge much (parents’ favorites). The list is endless, and is quite frankly subjective.
I have been tutoring for a few years now, which has exposed me to different situations and has given me the chance to meet all types of students and parents. Most of the time, I get to teach courses that I know like the back of my hand, but every now and then, I find myself in a situation where I need to work really hard to deliver a concept to a student. You see, I realized that all classroom teachers and tutors face challenges that make them either doubt themselves or inspire them to work really hard and overcome those problems.
Great tutors are the ones who are willing to commit themselves entirely to that one student in that hour or two. Preparing for a lesson, tailoring that lesson to the student’s needs and the way he/she perceives concepts, and trying to make the subject interesting, if not enjoyable, is what really matters. Those who are willing to go home and think of solutions for problems they come across while tutoring are in my opinion the greatest of all tutors.
For many parents, great tutors are the ones who graduated from well-known universities with the highest scores. As for students, they tend to love tutors they get along with, who are flexible and friendly, and know how to deliver a message in a way they understand and can relate to. For me; however, great tutors are the ones who help students learn and grow, not the ones who teach them facts. I read somewhere that the difference between a teacher and a tutor is that teachers must get a class from point A to point B. Unfortunately, you’ll always find some students who lag behind while others pick up concepts and new information quickly and easily. A tutor; however, teaches at the pace of the student, ensuring that he/she is learning effectively while motivating him along the way.
Great tutors understand that students probably lack confidence in the subject they need help with, because of that, they must be able to clearly communicate concepts in the simplest of ways. Great tutors are also passionate about the subjects they teach. Their enthusiasm for the subject can easily inspire students and rub off on them.
Being a tutor is a great responsibility, but it can also be an incredible, rewarding experience if one has passion, dedication, and empathy towards students.
But hey, that could be just me.
What do you think makes a great tutor?
Written by Dania Mousa — Co-founder & CMO @instatoot