What It Takes To Be A Successful Tutor

Mathematics & Tutoring With David Seff

Effective tutoring is all about producing results. From a tutor’s perspective, it’s about witnessing your student achieve proposed academic goals and make way for more, in-depth learning. From a student’s point of view it’s about feeling confident with newly learned information and putting it to good use. As simple as this may all sound, effective learning is not something that happens overnight. Effective tutoring should be a direct reflection of a solid tutor-student relationship that’s been built over time, where both parties have a reached a point where they each feel fulfilled by their progress and excited for the academic challenges that are bound to come their way. Here are three key points for tutors to become more effective:


You can never be prepared enough, but there more you are the better. Because tutoring can take place outside of a formal educational environment, it is very important that you shape your own. Make sure to set a schedule with your students, preferably a consistent schedule ahead of time. Establishing a learning rhythm will be key for your students’ academic improvement. Also, try to carve out what each session will be about. Of course there will always be questions that may arise not pertaining to the day’s lesson, so it’s good to leave some extra room for that. But for the most part, focusing each session on either a specific chapter, theme, etc. will also help establish a beneficial learning rhythm for your students.

Know Your Student

The best way to build a good rapport with your students is taking the time to know them. Every student is different. Figuring out your student’s personality will help you understand their learning process and how you should angle your sessions with them. For example, does your student have a sense of humor? Do they need your undivided attention? Are they shy? Does the student feel confident about the subject matter you’re going over? The more empathetic you can be, the more the student will feel comfortable around you and will allow himself or herself to continue to learn from you.

Set Expectations

It is very important that both you and your student know your roles and responsibilities in a tutoring session. Tutoring is not the same as teaching. The tutor is not there to teach or re-teach something that the student has already learned. Instead, tutoring should be more of a well-balanced exchange of questions and information. In other words, tutors are there to guide the students to improve their studying skills, while the students are there to discover things through independent questioning and develop self-confidence.