It’s not as if being a private tutor isn’t a high pressure job at the best of times, but when it comes to those all-important first impressions, there are few careers where getting it right is of such critical importance. Assuming you are setting out to begin a series of tutoring sessions with a youngster, not only do you need to ensure that you sufficiently impress the child’s parents, but you also need to make an immediate connection with the child.
The simple fact of the matter is that even if you genuinely are the very best private tutor London has to offer, you’ll get absolutely nowhere if you lose the interest and respect of your clients the very first time you meet them. Suffice to say, therefore the pressure can be immense, but at the same time there are several tips and tricks from the country’s most seasoned professionals that can help any new tutor get it right.
Try to bear the following in mind and chances are you will not go far wrong:
1 – Preparation is Paramount
Whichever way you look at it, there is no such thing as being overprepared and the more work you are willing to put in ahead of time, the more likely it is you will be successful on the day itself. The mark of an outstanding tutor is doing anything and everything possible to find out all there is to know about the student and their needs prior to heading out for the first lesson. From what it is they are struggling with to the areas in which they have more confidence to the materials you will need and so on and so forth, there’s plenty of homework to be done before heading out for the first lesson and there’s really no such thing as doing too much of it.
2 – Create the Right Environment
Along with the actual teaching you provide, one of the most influential elements of the whole process will be that of the environment you choose in which to carry out the sessions. This can be somewhat tricky if you are to carry out the sessions at the home of the student as their parents may have already allocated a room or a space in the home which despite their best intentions may not be entirely appropriate. It needs to be somewhere quiet, comfortable, completely free of all distractions and with more than enough space for the two of you to work efficiently. Should their home in any way be unsuitable, you can always look into arranging the sessions somewhere else.
3 – Talk and Listen
It’s never a good idea to just dive straight into the complicated stuff having only just arrived in the student’s life as this can be rather intimidating to say the least. Instead, dedicate a good chunk of the first session, maybe even the whole session, to getting to know them and finding what makes them tick. Tell them a little about yourself, what it is that you do and why you love doing it. But more than this, ask them about themselves and find out as much as possible about their interests and their general way of life. This can be pure gold going forward as if for example they are interested in football, there’s a good chance you may be able to use this at a later date to create examples and scenarios relevant to the subject you are teaching.
4 – Find Focus Areas
Be sure to find out by speaking to both the student and their parents if necessary exactly what it is they have a problem with in order to subsequently determine which areas to focus on. For example, if the child is incredibly intelligent and sharp-minded, but is struggling with an attention span of about seven seconds, this will for obvious reasons need to be addressed before you can jump into the actual lessons themselves. And of course, along with focusing on finding solutions for their weaknesses, it is also important to explore, encourage and celebrate their strengths.
5 – Leave Homework
Last but not least, it may sound rather harsh to leave the student with homework of any kind after the very first session, but in doing so you will ensure that they have to think about and consider both you and your purpose between now and the next meeting. By contrast, leave them with nothing to do and there is every chance they will completely blank you from their mind from the moment you leave until the moment you arrive next time, which can often leave you back at square one.