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How To Maximize Effectiveness When Working With A New tutor

As a tutor, my first session is often a chance for me to get a grip of what is going on with the student.  To get the best mileage out of your tutor, it is helpful if you have the following information. 

  1. If the instructor gives regular exams it is helpful to schedule tutoring before these important events.  Sometimes timing is everything.  Scheduling of tutoring sessions should be optimized to take advantage of the school calendar.

  2. Teacher contact information.  The very best tutors (and those that follow the frog tutoring methodology) will contact the students teacher and create a lesson plan that will align tutoring sessions with classroom milestones for maximum results.

  3. Graded material is a great way for a tutor to understand how questions are asked and what kind of information the teacher places a premium on.  

    Does the teacher want to test primarily on vocabulary?  
    Does the teacher stress concepts?  
    What is the teacher’s policy on showing work for mathematical problems and how many points are given for demonstrated work?  

    These questions and others can be answered by seeing graded work.  If graded work is kept in the classroom it is often possible to get photocopies provided of work completed by the teacher.

  4. What motivates the student?  What motivations are currently being used to keep the student on track academically?  Information on this can help the tutor coax higher levels of performance from a student in a way that they are familiar with.  A good tutor may have insight on other means of motivating students to excellent performance.  It is also helpful to let your tutor know of any passions your student has outside of school.  If your child is very interested in nature it is possible to make obvious associations between their learning and biology, but ties can also be made to mathematics, for example genetics uses a lot of mathematical formulae as do the reaction rates of enzymes.  Writing skills can be improved by looking at research papers and understanding the conventions of footnotes and so on.  The possibilities are, in fact, endless.

  5. A parent who is involved with the school system provides a better partner when communicating with the school system.  A parent who has attended parent teacher conferences or sits on the PTA board will be able to provide valuable insights and have enhanced relationships.

  6. Also a student and their parents should have short and long term goals that are SMART.  SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realist, and Time bound.  I cannot take personal credit for this acronym.  This is actually taught by the US military to assure success in team assignments.

  7. Another thing that I recommend for all my students is to have a separate notebook to serve as a journal for their progress.  I make a differentiation at this point for students who ask if this is a diary.  It is not.  This journal is meant to keep track of the work assigned and the work completed with the tutor.  This journal should be a physical record of the work completed and can serve as a guide for the parents to see how their tutors time is being spent with their child.

  8. Reviewing this information would ideally be done on a regular basis by both the student and parents.  Feedback from both parties with the tutor would be helpful.Also this can serve as notes for another tutor if another one needs to be found for any reason.

A tutor is a significant investment for all involved, including the tutor, and it is a blessing that everyone involved desires the same goal.  A successful and happy student!

Happy studying!
Edward L
Verified Tutor near New York, NY
University at Buffalo--SUNY
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