How To Make a Good Impression as an Online Tutor
When it comes to being an online tutor, the first impression you make on your student sets the tone and affects the productivity and outcomes of the entire tutoring session.
Making a positive impression on your student fosters a safe, supportive environment that leads to effective learning; making a negative impression can cause a student to shut down and impede their ability to learn.
To ensure you’re making a good impression on your students, follow this set of golden rules to help you put your best foot forward each and every tutoring session.
Set up an Optimal Work Environment
Do your best to create a distraction-free tutoring environment.
Many online tutors pick their home as their primary work environment. Make sure you conduct tutoring sessions in a room where members of your household cannot be seen or heard in your background, close the windows if you live by a highway or busy road, and keep pets out in another room or outside.
If tutoring from home isn’t optimal for you, public libraries with reservable study rooms, coworking spaces, and desk rentals in your local area are great alternatives that provide quiet work areas.
Once you’ve created your optimal remote tutoring environment, make sure you’re proactively preventing technical difficulties. Follow this checklist to help ensure your work gear is optimized for tutoring sessions:
- Check (and double-check) your WiFi Connection
- Check your Chrome browser has access to your microphone and camera
- Make sure your computer is fully charged or plugged into a power source before beginning a tutoring session
Start Your Session by Asking Questions
All students are different, which is part of what makes tutoring such an engaging and exciting profession.
It’s crucial to get to know your student on a personal level before jumping right into your tutoring session. Having a go-to list of questions prepared for your student before entering a session will help put your student at ease, while also putting you in a strong position to deliver exactly what the student is hoping to gain from the session.
Your questions should focus on gathering the information you need to understand the needs of your students, what kind of learner they are, and their knowledge of the subject at hand.
Some examples of questions related to student’s learning needs:
- Do you prefer audio and/or video during this session?
- Do you prefer using a calculator or another method?
- Any preferences on how I should guide you through this lesson?
Some contextual questions about their schooling will also help you establish a foundation off which to base your instruction:
- What grade are you in?
- Do you need help with homework or a review of course material?
- What part of ____ are you struggling to understand?
- What do you already know about this topic?
- How did your teacher explain this topic in class?
Asking these types of questions will help you avoid wasting time on covering material the student may already know or is not relevant to their grade level. Remember, you’re not replacing the student’s teacher, rather supplementing classroom instruction with your expert guidance.
Strive for Student Engagement
As a tutor, your job is to collaborate with the student and efficiently guide them through the learning process to avoid prolonged sessions, even when a subject doesn’t totally captivate their interest.
Using the virtual whiteboard in TutorMe’s Lesson Space allows your students to observe and follow along as you guide them through their session. Students are more likely to engage in conversation if they can visualize and interact with the information you present to them.
Be sure to practice navigating the TutorMe Lesson Space before your first session, so that you have a command of its robust tools and functionality and can kick things off with your student immediately upon entering a session.
After you work through a problem, ask the student a follow-up question or two to ensure they’re engaged and can link their understanding back to the topic they’re learning in class.
Being enthusiastic is another way to boost engagement. When a student sees you're excited to tutor them, they’re more inclined to pay attention and learn. Your attitude can rub off on them, creating a more positive and encouraging learning environment.
When in doubt, try to make learning fun and be relatable. Create a lighthearted and supportive environment so your student doesn’t feel intimidated or alone in their learning journey.
Sharing positive and personal experiences can build trust and rapport that can compel students to participate more actively in the learning process.
Honesty is the best policy. The rapport and trust between a tutor and student are essential to a successful tutoring relationship.
It's important to avoid making promises or guarantees to students. For example, telling them what grade you think they’ll receive on their assignment or an upcoming test.
If you realize you're unable to help the student and don’t know the correct answer, be honest! They might actually feel at ease knowing you’re not perfect. Plus, it provides you an opportunity to teach research or learning skills.
Confidence is contagious!
Remember, you’re part of the TutorMe community because we believe you possess the qualities that enable you to be a good tutor and role model—keep that in mind as you work with students.
Even if you don’t know the correct answer, you always have something valuable to teach the student—being a good mentor allows you to exemplify the virtues of perseverance and dedication.
You Got This!
Whether you’re brand-new to online tutoring or a seasoned online tutoring pro, making a good impression is critical to nurturing a rich learning environment for your students.
Each tutoring session is a terrific opportunity for you to uplift and inspire your students to excel in their studies. You have the tools you need to make a lasting, good impression on your students—all you have to do is properly prepare for your tutoring sessions and adopt the right attitude.
Do you have extensive knowledge to share and a desire to make a tangible difference in the lives of students everywhere?
Apply to join our network of expert tutors today!