Having graduated in July 2018, I decided that I would work for a year before going travelling so applied to The Tutor Trust in October 2018. Since my first assignment in November 2018, I have worked in a number of different schools throughout the academic year, tutoring both Science and Maths to secondary school students (mainly Year 11).

If you’re new to tutoring or haven’t worked with children before, my best advice for becoming a good tutor is to tutor as much as you can! It’s one of those things where you can listen to as much advice from other people as you want but, ultimately, you’ll learn so much from your first few sessions that you’ll take onboard moving forwards. For example, I always find that time absolutely flies when you’re tutoring - it’s an intense hour and it’s done before you know it. You’ll quickly be able to gauge how much you need to plan for a lesson - be both optimistic and realistic with this.

Another thing I’ve found whilst tutoring this year is that children are very funny! This is really important to remember, especially if you’re feeling nervous before your first session at a new school. The first session is always the hardest but if you go in with a positive mindset and show your enthusiasm then you’ll be fine. The children often find a way of breaking the ice which helps you build a rapport with them.

Finally, I’ve found tutoring to be a really rewarding job. You can see the impact you’re having in different ways. Some students will tell you straight up that a session was really fun or that they’ve learnt a lot. Others won’t say it, but you’ll get feedback from a teacher who tells you that someone really enjoyed their session last week. The best feedback I’ve received was when a student came back with their improved grade or told me they’d been moved up a set in Maths. It’s these moments that you put the hard work in for at the end of the day so it’s import to enjoy them and give yourself a pat on the back when they come around!

To finish, here are my top five tips for new tutors:

  1. Know your subject! It’s so important that you understand all the topics and are comfortable teaching them. If you don’t understand something yourself then it will be very difficult to help someone else understand it too. This is particularly important if you’re tutoring Secondary Science!
  2. Be open minded and flexible. The children that you work with will have slightly different levels of understanding and attention. Be prepared to take a detour from your lesson plan and spend more time on building understanding on something more specific than you may have envisioned.
  3. Plan your lessons ASAP! The best time to plan a lesson is straight after the previous one has finished! You’ll have everything fresh in your mind about what you covered in the lesson before, which makes it easier for you to decide where to go next with your tuition.
  4. Plan your transport and set off in plenty of time. Whether you walk, cycle, drive or take public transport, plan your journeys and keep and eye out for traffic updates. People judge each other on punctuality and it’s something you can easily get right. Better to be three hours too soon than a minute too late…
  5. Be creative and enthusiastic. Your students will be more likely to engage in a subject if you try and teach it in a fun and interesting way. Using games to practice Maths skills is a perfect example of this.