What Sophia looks for in a tutor.
Sophia has often been asked what qualities make a great tutor or teacher. What qualities do Sophia look for whenever doing my interviews. So, here are my top ten:
This may sound like an obvious one. However, whenever I crawl through the websites at tutors who offer their services, I am staggered how few of them have any sort of educational qualifications. I would expect most tutors to have an excellent background knowledge on the subject they are tutoring.
“Patience is a virtue”. Indeed, a good tutor should have this in abundance, as each student works at a different pace. It is also important to note that it may take various explanations and attempts before a student understands a particular concept.
3. The ability to teach/tutor:
It is a myth that if you are an expert in your field that you are an excellent teacher. Indeed, I sometimes find the opposite. Some of the best maths teachers I have come across struggled with this subject at school. The fact they have often struggled in this subject means they can relate to the students who find this subject difficult and often struggle themselves to understand a concept.
4. Communicate/speak at their level:
When it comes to tutoring, the ability to teach is basically the ability to share information in a way that others will learn, making sure they have grasped the concept before moving on. In other words, you need to teach at their level. One big mistake some teachers make is that they often give feedback that is way above the comprehension of that student or giving them work they do not completely understand.
Like every walk of life, building relationships is the most important and hardest thing in life. In my years of experience, I find the best tutors and teachers are the ones who can build a professional relationship with their student and have a genuine care for their well-being. How often in life does someone remember a teacher or tutor who inspired them to become a better person or helped them on their career-path. As a tutor, it is important that the student feels comfortable around you, and feels at ease.
6. Sense of humour:
Charlie Chaplin once said that “a day without laughter is a day wasted.” How often do we feel more comfortable and enjoy the company of people who make us laugh? Laughter causes the release of special chemicals in your brain that help you relax and feel good. Laughing is exercise: It makes you breathe deeply, use your muscles, and get your heart and lungs going. All of this can calm you down if you’re feeling worried or scared. Scientists think laughing may also help boost your immune system (which helps your body to fight off sickness), ease pain when you are hurt, and put you in a good mood.
This is vital if you are a good tutor. Parents like tutors that are mature and professional. They want tutors that turn up on time, who are polite and do not talk about inappropriate things with their child. Maturity has nothing to do with your age, but everything to do with the type of person you are and how you carry yourself.
Many students have a weakness in certain subjects so being persistent is a key component to success. Being persistent means that you will keep trying again and again. With every attempt, you will inch closer to success. It will motivate you to put more effort to get closer to your goals when you see that there is an actual difference between where you stand right now, and your previous effort.
If you’re a fan of tv, there are chances are that you’ve seen an episode in which a teacher, tutor, nanny, or piano teacher has got themselves into a sticky situation with their student either through inappropriate conversations, inappropriate actions, or all out sexual contact. This is an absolute no-no in tutoring. If you are tutoring underage students, you need to be above reproach. That means that you always tutor with the door open or in a room with other people if possible. Never let the conversation deviate into intimate or far too personal topics. Never touch the student as far as possible. Never ever hug, kiss, rub, hold hands, or wink at your students. You may mean only innocent things, but some students may form incorrect conclusions that can get you into serious trouble.
Passion in anything is important. If you want to be a great tutor, you need to have a passion for your subject. You need to have a love for what you teach, how you teach it, and those you teach. You want your students to feel that their success is important to you, and that what you’re teaching them is important. It is amazing to see how a tutor’s passion for their subject can rub off on the student.