How to Become a K-12 Tutor Your Students Will Love
Tutoring K-12 students offers tutors a unique opportunity to connect with and inspire children to develop a lifelong love of learning.
In order to have that influence over your students, however, it's critical to foster a good rapport and relationship with them. If you don't have a good relationship with your students, you may find it much more difficult to achieve your overall goals.
Are you ready to cultivate deeper relationships with your K-12 students? Try out these strategies for becoming a tutor your students will love.
Exercise Good Listening Skills
One of the biggest mistakes many online tutors make is talking over their students or making assumptions about where they are in the learning process. All too often, students are left feeling ignored or as though their opinions don't matter. An effective tutor will use listening skills when interacting with their students. While it's OK to keep the lessons on track when needed, you may want to allow students time to talk about the things that are interesting to them or what they have going on in their lives.
An exceptional K-12 tutor allows a safe space for students to share their feelings, frustrations, and thoughts during sessions. Often, overcoming challenges in learning is as much about helping students overcome emotional barriers as it is about providing them with the instruction they need to improve their knowledge in a specific subject. By providing them with that emotional foundation and academic guidance, you can often put yourself in a better position to develop that solid rapport with your students.
Be a Confident Speaker
Confidence is contagious! When you're confident in your interactions with your students, they, in turn, are more likely to feel confident about their knowledge in that subject—and more engaged with the content in general.
Be confident in your interactions with your students. Use positive, uplifting language to motivate and encourage them as they engage with the content.
Students will feel more confident when you behave as though you're confident in them. When you display a lack of confidence in your students, on the other hand, they may be less comfortable in their understanding of the content and their relationship with you.
As a tutor, it can be especially difficult when a student asks a question that you don't necessarily know the answer to off the top of your head. However, in many cases, you can be honest and reassuring, then direct students to how they can discover the answer to those questions.
Sometimes, knowing how to answer questions is just as critical to the learning process as memorizing answers.
Tutor With Passion
You love what you do. It's likely part of why you became a tutor and even, potentially, a large portion of why you chose the subject you did. Convey that passion to your students!
Make the material come to life for your students with vivid examples, explanations, and imagery. Use the powerful collaborative learning tools in TutorMe's Lesson Space to enhance your lessons.
For example, you may want to use drawing tools to help more clearly illustrate examples or methods to solving problems. Even a low-quality graphic can help students connect more deeply with the material!
Share memes, offer examples from your life experiences, and let students see why you care so much about this subject.
If you're able to teach about some of your favorite content areas, give students more information about why you love those particular areas so much and why they're meaningful to you. That simple connection and passion can help encourage students, too.
When you're talking to your students, don't forget to keep your tone enthusiastic. Deliberately putting a smile on your face and trying to put energy into your communications can help convey your passion even if students can't see your face.
Be Relatable to Your Students
If students feel they can relate to you, they'll be more likely to engage with the material as you present it.
Find out what your students enjoy doing in their free time and incorporate those interests into your instruction. Be open and relatable. Share anecdotes from your personal life.
It can even be helpful to let students know where you may have struggled with your subject in the past. Did you have trouble understanding imagery when you first started looking into it?
Did you struggle to understand fundamental algebraic functions until you became more comfortable with them?
Sharing your own struggles can help students feel more confidence about their own efforts.
Have Patience as Your Students Learn
Students love tutors who make them feel comfortable in their own learning abilities. Often, that means sitting back and letting your students work their way through complex concepts and challenges.
Be patient with your K-12 students. Give them the opportunity to answer the questions in front of them or to ask their own when they're struggling.
Be diligent about monitoring progress and providing support if students seem to be struggling, but give them room to figure out what they're doing and get it done.
Check in frequently to see if students have any questions, but don't interrupt if they seem to be working smoothly on their own. This strategy is particularly vital with elementary students, who need to know that you trust their ability to learn on their own.
Tailor Your Tutoring Style to Each Student
Each K-12 student is different and will respond to different approaches to tutoring. All students, however, will benefit from a tutor who engages with them, cares about them, and shows a passion for their subject and their students.
Tailor your approach to your students to best engage each type of learner and provide them with the support they need.
Are you looking for a way to multiply the impact your tutoring has on K-12 students? TutorMe is always on the lookout for exceptional tutors to support K-12 students during their academic journeys. Apply now to start shaping successful futures!