The Three P's of Perfect Tuition
Great tutors are a combination of many qualities; they are great listeners, adaptable, knowledgeable, and great communicators. Amongst all of these qualities, however, three stand out – the three P’s. They turn a great tutor into an even greater tutor.
Although this may seem like an obvious one, one can be knowledgeable about a subject and teach without being passionate about it. Just think back to your school years – I’m sure you had at least one teacher who followed a textbook to the letter, and whose voice reached the equivalent peak of a molehill when it came to excitement and enthusiasm for their subject. Got one? I thought so.
It is incredibly hard to inspire interest in a tutee, if the tutor is not completely passionate (and perhaps a little obsessed) with their subject. This means that beyond lessons, they truly love continuing to learn anything and everything related to their educational field, and want to pass this passion onto their students. So, if you’re considering becoming a tutor, pick something you wouldn’t mind talking about day in, day out.
Any teacher or tutor will know that patience is an absolute must. However, this does not just mean having patience with difficult or unfocused students, but also having the patience to know and recognise that every student learns at their own pace, and in their own way. It is having the patience to be adaptable, and to try different teaching styles and tricks if your first try doesn’t stick with your student.
Moreover, it is also key to have patience with yourself as a tutor, especially when you are starting out. You need to have the patience to realise that becoming a great tutor will take time and practice, and that it will be a learning curve for both you and your students. It is about having the patience to research and perfect your craft – whether that’s reading up on different learning styles, or discussing lesson planning with fellow tutors – whilst you develop your own teaching methods. After all, greatness takes time.
Last, but certainly not least, a great tutor must possess perception. A good level of perceptiveness will not only indicate how effective your teaching is with your students, but it will also allow you to analyse how comfortable your student is feeling with the subject matter at hand. Not all students will have the confidence to tell you outright that they are confused or don’t understand, so having to perceptive ability to pick up on both verbal and non-verbal cues (such as body language and facial expressions) will help you to better comprehend your student’s understanding of what they are being taught. This, of course, takes time and practice, but as you begin to work with your students over longer periods of time, you will become more finely attuned to their learning and understanding cues.
So, to conclude, three is most definitely a magic number when it comes to being a great tutor. While passion is either present or not, both patience and perception are skills that can be worked upon and honed as you develop your career in tuition. Remember that tutoring will be journey of learning for both you and your tutees - after all, the best teachers are the eternal students.