How to communicate effectively as a tutor
Requests for private tuition tend to come from parents, on behalf of students. In such cases, parents are normally already actively involved in a student’s learning. As a tutor, it’s important to acknowledge this and to encourage good communication between all parties.
Once you have discussed your aims and objectives with your student, present your action plan to their parents to ensure they understand your approach. Acknowledge any suggestions or feedback but remember you are the ‘expert’ with the appropriate knowledge and skills so try to negotiate any suggestions appropriately.
After each lesson, it’s a good idea to summarise what you and your student have covered. Encourage your student to express how they feel the lesson went and if they are pleased with the work that was covered.
Depending on how long your course of lessons are planned to last, it may be beneficial to produce a monthly progress report to show parents. The report can highlight which specific areas of the subject you have been focusing on, giving more specific information.
If you are a tutor supplementing a student’s classroom learning, it may be an idea to introduce yourself to your student’s class teacher by letter. By keeping regular contact with a student’s teacher, you ensure that you’re covering all the relevant course work while providing some extra support in those areas that a student may need improvement in.
It may also be an idea to join a professional teaching association like a society or a union in order to keep up with the latest teaching news. Likewise, online tuition forums can be a great place to communicate with teachers. Websites like the Times Educational Supplement (TES Connect) can be effective resources. Be confident enough to share your opinions with teachers and suggest your own strategies.
Private tutoring can be a lonesome profession and it can be quite plausible for a tutor to have little or no face-to-face interaction with other tutors. Why not contact some other tutors in your area and arrange to meet up for coffee. It may prove useful to share tutoring materials, discuss experiences and share best practice.
Why not keep in touch with students and parents between lessons through email. Encourage students to give you feedback after lessons via email. Often, students find it easier to communicate their thoughts in writing after they’ve had some time to reflect on their last lesson. Email can equally be useful for keeping in touch with parents and for receiving feedback on your student’s progress out with your lessons.
Undoubtedly, social networking sites have significantly changed the way that people communicate. It may be an idea to make yourself more accessible to your current and to future students by setting up a Facebook or Twitter account for your business. If you already use social networking sites, remember to keep your business page and your personal page separate. When replying to enquiries on your tutoring page, reply in such a manner that you would if you were replying to a business email.