Ask the tutors - 9 top things you've always wanted to know about tutoring
We often share the wonderful feedback from our students and parents and what they are enjoying about our tutoring lessons. Today we thought we would take a look behind the scenes and ask our tutors the million dollar question:
"What is it really like working as a tutor?"
If you are thinking about becoming a tutor, have any questions about tutoring or would like to know more from the tutors, please comment below or contact us. We would love to hear from you!
We asked one of our tutors to share their experiences about tutoring.
1. What inspired you to become a tutor?
During my own schooling, I was privileged to have an incredible team of supportive tutors. Reflecting on my own experience, tutoring has been invaluable to my education, not only in terms of academic assistance but in regards to careers guidance, mentorship, and confidence and character building. Tutoring offered an opportunity to share my experiences and passions, in guiding the success of others. I absolutely love it.
2. What kind of tutor are you?
I often consider myself as a ‘big sister’ to many of my students. Although professionalism is paramount to ensuring a respectful and productive teaching relationship, I fundamental believe that effective tutoring should not only provide specialist academic help, but also guide students through stress, lack of confidence and other uncertainties or worries. My own recent, and relevant studies provide me with a unique insight from a ‘students perspective’ that school-teachers may lack. My casual, often highly relatable approach with my students makes often abstract, difficult concepts appear more applicable to their own world, and experiences.
3. What attracted you to work with Bright Spark Tutoring Australia (BSTA)?
The primary attraction of BSTA is focus on one-on-one tuition, and the business’ holistic approach to education. BSTA promotes the value of tutoring beyond high results or mere ‘increases in marks’, it stands for the essence of learning – in regards to overcoming challenges, building confidence, finding a passion and drive to succeed. One-on-one tutoring facilitates this change, offering tutors the ability to personalise each students experience, catering to their preferences and their strengths and weaknesses.
4. What have been some of your favourite moments while tutoring with BSTA?
As a tutor, it is always rewarding to see improvements, and successes, however material increases in grades or marks do not define my ‘favourite tutoring moments’. As cliché as it may sound, one of my favourite moments whilst tutoring is when a student says ‘I never thought of it that way’ or completes a difficult problem completely self-guided (where they may have struggled previously). At BSTA this rewarding moments are a regular occurrence, making tutoring with the business so enjoyable.
Many tutoring services or homework clubs have a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to each student, restricting the tutor’s flexibility to adapt to their needs. Group sessions, online programs or structured workbooks don’t differ from classroom work, many students require an alternative approach to learning, catered to their specific needs, and this is not only facilitated at BSTA, it is encouraged.
5. What challenges have you faced?
Motivation is the most challenging component of tutoring. Students that lack confidence or become frustrated in their attempts often wish to just ‘give up’. As a tutor, the most difficult challenge is to convince students that they are capable of reaching ‘that understanding’ or completing ‘that problem’.
In my experience, encouragement is key but often not sufficient, often I have to strip the concept back to basics (‘what is the question really asking?’ what does this word really mean?) and prompt them step-by-step until the problem just an easy sequence of operations. Then applying these same steps to similar problems or concepts, students gradually gain confidence in their ability to complete it themselves.
6. What do you do if a student isn't improving over time?
Firstly, I would like to find the source of their difficulties (whether it be examination technique, written expression, conceptual understanding, revision/preparation). Then I would work cooperatively with the student to develop a ‘plan of attack’ per se, how can we overcome this? What steps can we put in place? How can I best help you? (this may include timed revision if exam stress in an issue, or ongoing revision if accountability is an issue, or even an extended, overview session on a challenging topic). Correspondence with family and teachers to ensure implementation of this ‘plan’ is crucial to effectuate the student’s long-term improvement.
7. How do you keep the families involved in the tutoring process?
An hour a week can often only provide guidance and clarify concerns or worries, it is ultimately up to the student to consolidate their understandings and take on-board suggestions and advice. A strong support network is crucial to keep students accountable for this, and family has the important influence. I keep my student’s family involved through regular check-ins (both in person and via electronic communication), and ensuring they have the ability to contact me to voice their concerns or inform me of any progress or barriers.
8. What are the key ingredients to successful tutoring?
Patience – a successful tutor knows that student may not progress with just one understanding and sometimes an alternate explanation or example, or just shear persistence makes all the difference.
Adaptability – successful tutoring requires recognition of the student’s strengths, weaknesses and learning styles and more importantly the ability to adapt the session to these particularities.
9. Closing remarks?
Tutoring has provided more than just a temporary university income, it has strengthened my fundamental understanding of my subjects, enhanced my communication and explanation skills and inspired a true love of teaching (potentially as a future career).
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