With the rise in demand for home tutors, many aspire to be one. If you are a new home tutor and you’ve just landed a client, it’s normal to feel nervous about your first time meeting with the parents and your new student. Of course, there will be some hesitations during the first meeting and it can even be a nerve-wracking experience for the home tutor, though it shouldn’t be. Still, there can be some awkwardness. Tutors may ask, “What am I going to say to my new student?” or “How can I approach the parents with the goals for their child’s academics?”
Don’t fret. You have already made a good impression through your application for the parents to hire you. Now, it’s only the first step in making sure the student gets the effective tutoring they deserve. In this article, we’re going to tackle the most common tips to make a good impression on your first meeting as well as questions you can ask your new student to help get to know them better.
Making a good impression is always a good thing especially for new home tutors. Now that parents have engaged in your services, it’s best to show them how you live up to your resume. Here are some of the tips to make a good and lasting first impression.
Home tuition most commonly happens in the student’s house at their own comfort. However, even if this is the case, tutors should still keep in mind to dress appropriately. This means that on the first meeting, tutors should refrain from wearing too casual outfits such as jeans, T-shirts, and flip flops. It’s best to make sure to dress to impress (however, not to intimidate as you will be dealing with a child) so dressing a little more formally can make a good impression. In addition, it can also be seen as taking the job seriously even if it happens at the student’s home. As such, dressing smartly can also boost a tutor’s self-confidence.
Home tuition can be time-sensitive. The tutor wouldn’t be only tutoring one student so on the first day with a client, they should show that they are sensitive to time. If you live farther away from your student’s house, make sure that you have enough time to get there. Don’t leave your house at the last minute as there might be certain circumstances that can be factors to you being late. Remember that punctuality is also a mirror of one’s professionalism. It will put the tutor in good light and graces with the parents as well as establish your time management skills. When the tutor is earlier by a few minutes, it can also give them time to settle down and prepare for the lesson or the meeting.
Hygiene is very important, not just for home tutors. And in making a good impression, it’s important to consider everything. Don’t show up on your client’s doorstep with bad breath or have forgotten to brush your teeth. You will be talking to them and sharing their time so it’s not exactly something one can cover-up.
Always be courteous and patient with your client. They may be prone to asking questions since it will be the first meeting and so tutors should enlighten them when they find something confusing. Parents only want to put their minds at ease especially with the person that would be working closely with their child in their home. Let them understand that their child is in capable hands and you are there to help them achieve their goals.
Now, that we have finished talking about how to generally make a good first impression, let’s now tackle what the tutor should do during their first meeting with the parents and the student. Of course, new tutors can add in what they think is necessary but these are only the most common ones.
This is why it’s also important to come to the first meeting on time or even a few minutes earlier. You wouldn’t just be talking to your new student but their parents as well. It’s best to communicate with them before tuition formally begins. Find out what they want you to do with their child and where they think their child is having problems academically. It’s also important to find out what their expectations are and even set them accordingly if possible. You can also talk regarding the number of lessons the child can have in a week and the duration of each lesson. This can also be a good time to talk about the compensation and how to go about that. Will you get paid after every lesson or every week?
This is a good time to show the parents how serious you are with your job and how willing you are to see their child reach their academic goals. However, tutors should also be careful not to make promises they can’t keep during this time. If the parents’ expectations are way beyond what one is capable of, tutors should also remind them to consider how the child is doing at the moment.
As a home tutor, it’s also important to get to know the child even outside of teaching and learning. Remember that there are many factors that can affect a child’s learning and by knowing more about the student, the tutor can also gain more knowledge of the ways they can tutor them. Here are some of the questions a tutor can ask of the child to get to know them better.
One of the best conversation openers for the child and tutor. Of course, the child would already have their own interests and hobbies so when the tutor asks about them, it can open up the gateway to breaking the tension or awkwardness between the two. Information about their hobbies and what interests them can also be used in learning later on. The tutor can base some lessons on the child’s hobbies to make learning more fun for them. This can also be used to motivate the student as well as a topic for when they will visibly get bored during home tuition.
This information will greatly help home tutors in determining their motivations and weaknesses. As home tuition is personalized, it can also give tutors ideas on how to develop the tuition lessons around these subjects. As such, tutors will also get a clue on which subjects they will most likely participate more in and which subject they may have trouble in. Sometimes students will also perform poorly in certain subjects because they lack interest in it so this will help tutors in dealing with cases like this.
It’s also important to know the student’s view on studying. Are they working hard to improve themselves? Are they very lax when it comes to studying? Are they interested in studying? Study habits can also give tutors the idea of what can work for the student and what may not. As such, tutors may also start to understand why the student may be getting lower scores based on their study habits. Ineffective study habits can be counterproductive for students even when they are working hard.
Students learn differently from one another. Some students learn exclusively better with hearing or watching while there are also some that combine them. It’s best to know what kind of learning style the child is more partial to in order to make tuition more effective. This can also help avoid mistakes on the tutor’s part when approaching a student with a teaching style that doesn’t work well with them.
And lastly, tutors can ask how the child feels or thinks about their school or with learning. When they give their opinions about their school life, it can also give tutors an idea of possibly the cause why they are struggling in school. This isn’t just about getting to know the child, there can be other problems that the child can open up with that can be the main problem for them and it can go beyond academics.
Now that you have gotten to know the parents and the child, it’s time to learn more about the student and their school. Of course, teachers and tutors go hand in hand in nurturing the child academically so it’s important for home tutors to also know what is being taught to the child in school so they can supplement and enrich those at home. As well as knowing what to teach the child, this can also give tutors the idea of which areas the student may be having problems with specifically. When you have a clearer perspective of the child in school, it will also be easier to give them lessons as well as explain to the parents the areas that tuition should focus on and how soon can they expect progress.
After speaking with the child and getting to know them, it’s now time to meet with the parents again and give them your tuition plans. With what the child has shared regarding their study habits, their interests, weak subjects, favorite subjects, and even difficulties in school, tutors will have a much clearer perspective to form a plan that they can share with the parents.
There are many things the tutor can open up with the parents some of which can be explaining the problems the child is encountering, subjects they need more help in, and what kind of learner the child is. You can also share with them a rough draft for a guide of your plans for the child for them to get a better understanding of the subject, which is the fundamentals to get them on the road to success.
Being a first-time home tutor can be a nerve-wracking experience. However, if you are ready and willing to help make a change in a learner’s life, you’re on the way to being a good home tutor. The first meeting with the parents and student is only the first step in getting there. Remember to always stay professional and calm. We hope that the tips above can help you get through your first day as a home tutor!
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