5 Important Lessons I’ve Learned as a Tutor
I am a math and computer science tutor and would like to share some of the greatest insights I’ve gained from teaching. Being a tutor is fun and rewarding because it shows me things I know well, teaches me new stuff, and makes the things I don’t understand obvious. The following are ideas, concepts, and practices that have made my tutoring sessions more successful and more beneficial to my pupils.
The Importance of Listening
My assumption when I started tutoring was that I would explain most of the time and that my students would primarily listen. To some extent my assumption was correct, but I also found out that by listening to my students and asking them to explain the concepts to me, they improved their skills more rapidly and I was able to better assess the areas they needed to work on.
I also noticed that when I actively listened to them, as opposed to just lecturing, they perceptibly tried harder to complete the material. I suspect that when they felt heard, they felt more empowered and therefore saw themselves as people who could work hard with ease. By listening to people, I became better at responding to their needs. Also, by hearing what they wanted to learn, I was able to make the material more engaging and relevant to their lives, thereby making my instructions much more helpful.
There’s No Substitute For Showing Up
Inevitably when tutoring, there are days when my students just don’t want to work. It might be because they are having a bad day at school, didn’t get enough sleep, or simply because they want to do something more active than math. Ultimately, even on the worst of these days, the time spent doing work, even at a reduced pace or with a suboptimal attitude, helps them improve. Though the effort pays off in more ways than simply improving test scores. They also learn that they are capable of overcoming the obstacles that seek to overthrow them. In a way, learning that you can learn is more important than the specific things that you learn. Showing up matters just as much as what you do when you get there.